In much the same way that what goes up must come down, for all of the positive animal idioms there are just as much negative ones. Because these downbeat expressions are used just as much as their more optimistic cousins, we thought we would take the time to review some of the most common examples:
As Blind As a Bat
Associations with Batman aside, bats in general are not well-regarded in general. In addition to their popular perception as cave-dwelling, day-sleeping, rats with wings, however, they are also famous for their poor eyesight – a characteristic that goes a long way to explaining the meaning of this idiom. To be “as blind as a bat” is to be quite blind indeed!
To understand this one-word idiom it is important to put the emphasis more on the “copy” than on the “cat” because a “copycat” is someone who imitates, emulates, or otherwise “copies” the habits of someone else.
Chickens are known more for their taste than their bravery but it is this lack of valor which defines the animal and this idiom – to say someone is chicken is another way to say he or she is a coward. People who strive to use this – and other idioms – everyday conversations, however, are certainly not chickens!
A Pig/ Pigheaded
Use this one-word idiom carefully! Not only are pigs unpopular in general but their thinking processes – the “head” of “pigheaded” – are even less well-regarded! While “a pig” is simply a slob, someone who is pigheaded is extremely stubborn.
To Smell a Rat
Let’s face facts: rats don’t smell so great. Thus it is only fitting that this expression is synonymous with one of the food idioms discussed earlier: fishy. After all, if you smell either one you know something is wrong!
For a listing of these idioms as well as others in our Idioms series be sure to check our blog!