Idioms with parts of animals
Claw your way back/into/out of/to
to achieve something or move forwards by making a big effort or with difficulty
informal.to go on foot because transportation is unavailable
- We have to hoof it to the station.
Raise hackles (make someone’s hackles rise)
to make someone angry
- His jokes raised my hackles.
Be on horns of a dilemma
having to make a choice between two equally important alternatives
- I found myself on the horns of a dilemma.
Draw in your horns
to behave carefully in order to spend less money than before
- I draw in my horns, after I resign.
Get the hump
informal. to get upset.
- I get the hump when my team loses.
Be over the hump
informal. to past the hardest part of something
- We are finally over the hump after hard work.
Get your snout in the trough
when you get your snout in the trough, it means you try or hurry to get a lot of money.
to turn around and flee from danger
- They turned tail and ran away from the fight.
Be on someone’s tail
to drive after someone
- There is a red car on my tail.
Can’t make head nor tail of
to not understand at all
- We can’t make head nor tail of this Russian book.
Chase your tail
to work hard to do something but achieve very little
- You can’t repair the bicycle. You’re just chasing your tail.
Be the cat’s whiskers
informal. to be superior person.
- The model thinks she’s the cat’s whiskers.
By a whisker
narrowly; by a slight amount
- The athlete won by a whisker.
Come out of your shell
to become more confident and outgoing when spending time with other people
- He came out of his shell and had a very sociable weekend.
Birds of a feather
people with similar characters
- Tony is my best friend. We’re birds of a feather.
A feather in your cap
a great achievement; success to be proud of
- It’s a feather in your cap to receive the commendation for bravery.
Clip your wings
to restrain someone from acting freely
- My parents never tried to clip my wings.
Wait in the wings
to be ready to replace someone: ready to be active
- Two talented players are waiting in the wings.
On the wing
- He shot the crow on the wing.
Spread your wings
to feel more confident to try something new
- It is time to leave home and spread your wings.
Take under your wing
to take care of someone
- He took the child with cancer under his wing.
to begin to fly