Watch this lesson to learn some easy English idioms that are related to animals. These common phrases can help you sound like a native speaker, and to understand English shows and movies. If you’re done pigging out, and are tired of all the monkey business, join me and Mr. E! You will learn idiomatic expressions, and I promise, no one will rat on you!
Animal idioms and expressions in English video
Okay. Hi. James, from EngVid. I’ve just been shocked. And it’s bringing out my animal nature. Today’s video is on expressions — some people say “idioms” — but expressions using animals. Now, in English, you will find there are a lot of expressions and animals, and people never really think about it. In fact, I think in your own language, the same thing happens. You have expressions with animals, and you use them every day. What I want to do today is give you about six of them from different animals, and I want you to get the understanding because this will help you when we do other ones later or for ones you already know.
Animals are usually used to show human behavior. Huh? Well, yeah. When we say, like, “crazy like a fox”, we mean really smart and intelligent, stealthlike. Not stealthlike, but you know, clever. “Clever” means to have good skill. So we’re talking about human characteristics or things that human have. And we’re showing animals that depict — and “depict” is another way for saying “show” — show how or in the best way to illustrate to other people. I must be a visual person because I like these visual words. Okay. But they show that in the best way for people to look at the animal and understand instantly. And that’s one of the best reasons for using these kinds of idioms because what you really mean, people understand, even if you don’t use it perfectly. I mean, like, “Smells like a rat”. I said that today, and I meant “smell a rat”, and that’s one of them you’re going to learn today. Because as soon as you know, you know, “Oh, that must be bad.” Even though I didn’t say it correctly, we’ll get it better than some other idioms you might try to use to express yourself. So if you keep in mind that animals are used to show human behavior, then, you’ll basically understand why we use animal idioms, and it will be easier for you to remember. Okay? You like that? Yeah. Because you’re crazy like a fox. Okay.
Where should we start? What the? Whoa. Okay. Apology time. Sorry. The EngVid art department is not here. Usually these would be drawn much better, but our monkey looks like something on LSD. Okay? The rat looks like it has rabies, which is a disease. And the pig looks like it’s been going on, like — I don’t know. I don’t want to say somebody’s diet because somebody will get angry because it means the pig looks fat. Like it’s been on the — okay, whatever. Whoever’s diet, okay? But let’s get to the board and talk about the animal expressions, okay? I did two for each. And when you think about them, remember what I said. Animals show human characteristics or actions or behavior, okay? And this will help you remember.
Well, I like this one, “Monkey see, monkey do.” No. 1. What does that mean? It means to copy. If you watch monkeys or apes [makes monkey sounds], you know, Tarzan’s ape, they copy humans all the time, and we love them, right? You see them walking and talking and trying to act like us. And because of that, we use the idiom, “Monkey see, monkey do”, to talk about a person who is copying you or copying someone else, especially babies and children. If you take up a cigarette and smoke, if you look down, a baby will pick up a pen or a pencil and pretend to smoke. And the mother might say, “Monkey see, monkey do.” Okay? In a way, it’s an insult. Remember this. Because monkeys are considered lesser humans — well, less than humans. So if someone says “monkey see, monkey do”, they’re not really giving you a compliment.
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