Idioms with parts of animals

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
  • I clawed my way to success in business.
Claw your way Idiom

Hoof it 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.

Turn tail

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

in flight
  • 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.

Take wing

to begin to fly
  • As soon as it saw me, the stork took wing.

Related posts
Animal homes
Animal behaviour
Parts of animals


  1. A good collection of idioms about animal part, being an English learn few of them I never heard before.
    Thank you,
    Critie, Australia


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