Hey there, this is Teacher ola podcast episode 50: Animal Idioms You Need to Know. Vocabulary Booster (1)

My name’s Ola and I teach English through online 1:1 lessons. This podcast is for you if you learn English and need to eliminate the language barrier and start speaking.  You’ll boost your vocabulary, brush up your grammar and improve your pronunciation,  Go to my website for full transcripts and worksheets to each episode. Happy learning!

Thank you so so much for being here. Congratulations on finding a time slot for yourself and for your English. After this episode, you’ll feel more confident speaking. You’ll learn 7 animal idioms and most importantly, you’ll practise speaking by repeating 20 sentences with animal idioms.  After this episode download the worksheet and practice translating Polish sentences into English. Sentences taken right from this episode. teacherola.com/50  teacherola.com/50.

If you think you should revise what idioms are, what kind of idioms are out there and why we should learn them and use them go to teacherola.com/14. It’s an episode on Weather idioms, but at the beginning of that episode, I explain those things.

Now, let’s focus on popular, commonly used 7 animal idioms to boost your vocabulary and confidence in speaking.

In order to achieve that I recommend you repeating idioms after me and then repeating whole sentences. Only speaking out loud will allow you to speak better English, shall we?

Dog days

This idiom has two meanings. The first is the hottest days in the year. Usually, we hear it in a phrase: dog days of summer. The second meaning is a period of time when something is not successful. Do you know why ‘dog’ days and not ‘cat’ for instance? Well, it’s because the Dog Star, Sirius is the brightest star in the sky from June to September. That’s also why Harry Potter’s Godfather Sirius was a dog in his animagus form. If you know what I’m talking about now let me know! I’d love to know if you’re I Harry Potter fandom. 

Let’s practice:

These are truly dog days for our team.

These are dog days for the film production.

We’re now in the dog days of summer.

To weasel out of something

In fact, it’s a phrasal verb. To weasel out means to avoid doing something that you ought to do or have promised to do. It’s usually done in a clever way. Like a weasel. Repeat after me:

Stop trying to weasel out of our agreement.

He weaselled out of helping me in the kitchen.

I must find a way to weasel out of it.

The elephant in the room

Imagine a room with people talking. In the middle of the room, there’s this huge animal no one can really miss and yet nobody even mentions its presence. It’s obvious, but it’s a problem, it’s an inconvenience. Nobody wants to talk about it. Listen and repeat after me:

The animal right issue was the elephant in the room in that election.

The elephant in the room was the money that had to be paid in bribes.

There’s a big elephant in the room and it’s shutting coal mines.

Not give a monkey’s

If you don’t give a monkey’s you don’t care. You’re not worried about the particular issue at all. It’s a euphemism, you know, a replace word, not to use an offensive word ‘shit’, as in ‘I don’t give a shit’. So! I don’t give a monkey’s is British, it’s slang, it’s informal, use it wisely.  For example:

To be honest I don’t give a monkey’s what they do.

You know what? I couldn’t give a monkey’s about that. 

Who gives a monkey’s what they think?

The world’s your oyster

It’s used to express the idea that ​there is no limit to the opportunities open to you. You can achieve whatever you want. An oyster contains a pearl, so the success is like a pearl. All you have to do is to open it. This idea was used by Shakespeare in one of his plays. Let’s practice. Listen and repeat:

With talent like that, the world is your oyster.

I was always given the impression that the world was my oyster.

If you’ve got a good plan, the world is your oyster.

Wolf in sheep’s clothing

It’s a person who seems to be friendly or not likely to cause any harm but is really an enemy. Somebody who is hostile and dangerous. This expression comes from Jesus’s words in Matthew in fact.  In Polish we have exactly the same phrase, so let’s jump right into the sentences:

Don’t trust Ana—she’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing who will try to steal your position.

He looks a like a noble man but in fact, he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. 

Butterflies in one’s stomach

To feel very nervous before something. Maybe frightened. Anxious. So, it’s not the same as in Polish right? In Polish, we use it to describe a feeling you have when you see someone you’ve fallen in love with. Repeat after me:

I always get butterflies before an exam.

I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it.

My knees are shaking and I have butterflies in my stomach.

Yes! Here you have it! 7 animal idioms you need to know. Now, your turn, let me know which idiom is your favourite and start using it right away. Which one do you like the most? Leave a comment at teacherola.com/50. 

Now, it’s time to download the worksheet and do your homework. Practice translating Polish sentences with Polish equivalents of animal idioms into English. Good luck! teacherola.com/50

Share this episode with someone you think might need it. And don’t forget to come back here next Wednesday! Learn English with music! Have a great week, happy learning, bye-bye!