Animal idioms in English

In English, you will find a large number of animal idioms.

Fly on the wall

When you are a fly on the wall, you are very much present there but others do not notice your presence.

For example, a fly on the wall camera can capture your movements without your knowledge. The Big Brother is a good example of a fly on the wall television program.

  • I would like to have been a fly on the wall when they discussed their secret plans. (= I wish I was present there when they discussed their plans.)

Here is a collection of idioms involving  large animals.

Bull market

The term bull market is used to refer to a financial market in which prices are rising.

Do you think that the bull market of the Nineties will make a comeback?

The term bear market refers to a financial market in which prices are falling.

Take the bull by the horns

To take the bull by the horns is to face up to a problem.

I am going to take the bull by the horns and tell him that he can’t ask my girlfriend out on a date.

Do the donkey work

To do the donkey work is to do manual labor that is usually not very important.

I decided to quit when I realized that I would have to do all the donkey work.

Flog a dead horse

To flog a dead horse is to waste your time on something that is unlikely to be successful.

I don’t think you should send that manuscript to other publishers. That would be a bit like flogging a dead horse.

The lion’s share

The lion’s share is the largest portion.

The lion’s share of her wealth went to charities.