expressions using animals

Crazy as a Bed Bug” is an old expression that (according to the website Why Do We Say It) owes its origin to the almost insane antics of a bedbug crawling around on a mattress. Its motions are zigzag, its direction uncertain. Thus, it would appear that the bedbug’s “craziness” was more along the lines of unpredictability rather than dementia.

However, even if these insects are not insane themselves, bed bugs really do make people crazy,  The impact of bed bugs is more than skin deep- it affects people’s minds.  It’s not just our experience, in dealing with clients who have had encounters with these insects that bed bugs play mind games with people.


Raining cats and dogs:

The much more probable source of ‘raining cats and dogs’ is the prosaic fact that, in the filthy streets of 17th/18th century England, heavy rain would occasionally carry along dead animals and other debris. The animals didn’t fall from the sky, but the sight of dead cats and dogs floating by in storms could well have caused the coining of this colourful phrase. Jonathan Swift described such an event in his satirical poem ‘A Description of a City Shower‘, first published in the 1710 collection of the Tatler magazine. The poem was a denunciation of contemporary London society and its meaning has been much debated. While the poem is metaphorical and doesn’t describe a specific flood, it seems that, in describing water-borne animal corpses, Swift was referring to an occurrence that his readers would have been well familiar with:

Now in contiguous Drops the Flood comes down,
Threat’ning with Deluge this devoted Town.

Sweeping from Butchers Stalls, Dung, Guts, and Blood,
Drown’d Puppies, stinking Sprats, all drench’d in Mud,
Dead Cats and Turnip-Tops come tumbling down the Flood.


quiet as a churchmouse
QUIET AS A MOUSE: Silent, without noise, hushed, subdued. This simile dates from the sixteenth century and presumably refers to the behavior of a mouse that stops dead in its tracks at the approach of a cat and remains as quiet as possible, hoping to avoid notice. Also put as still as a mouse (13th century) it has been repeated again and again, outliving quiet as a lamb (14th century),which presumably being eyed by a wolf. (Facts on File Dictionary of Clichés, American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Oxford Dictionary of Idioms)



Work like a Dog-

This expression doesn’t refer to hard work alone. Dogs with jobs work hard, it’s true, they also work for no money. The dog will gladly do his task for the verbal or tasty reward at the end of his “shift”. They take pleasure in their status and work hard to maintain their place in the pack. A dog will work hard, for a belly rub at the end of a long grueling day. How many humans could say the same?




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