Hey there, this is Teacher ola podcast episode 54: Animal Idioms You Need to Know. Vocabulary Booster.

My name’s Ola and I teach English through online lessons.

This podcast is for you if you learn English and need to eliminate the language barrier and start talking.  You’ll boost your vocabulary, brush up your grammar, improve your pronunciation,  Go to my website for full transcripts and worksheets to each episode. Happy learning!

Welcome back, I love the fact you’re here. I know you enjoy learning idioms. Which is so cool. This is part two of Animal Idioms. On my website, as well as on Spotify, Google Podcast or YouTube you can easily find part one. The link is in the show notes to this episode at teacherola.com/53. How to learn vocabulary? In context! I give you sentences and kindly ask you to repeat them all out loud. 

Why out loud? Isn’t it enough to repeat them in my head? No!!!! It’s never ever enough. Say it! Say it out loud because oh my word.. there are too many reasons to list them. Let’s just say I’ll give you the biggest pros of saying them out loud. 

The biggest advantage of speaking the words the sentences out loud in a foreign language is that you train your tongue, your lips, your jaw to speak this target language fluently. You build your muscle memory. No joke! If you want more reasons why you should start speaking out loud to yourself go to episode 9 . That’s a goodie.  

Ok. I always get excited about that, but it’s crucial. I hope you got excited as well and maybe this time you’ll find it in yourself and say it. After this episode download a worksheet and practice translating Polish sentences into English. teacherola.com/54 teacherola.com/54. 

This is going to be a highly important part of learning these animal idioms since this worksheet allows you to learn actively. If you only have 30 min a day for learning English spend it learning actively. That is producing sentences, words, talking to yourself, but making sentences? Whoa! The best idea!

Let’s learn 7 useful animal idioms right away.

  • To watch like a hawk

To watch someone or something like a hawk means to watch them closely, veeeery carefully. To observe. Hawks are known for extremely acute vision. So they can see small things from far away. 

For example:

He seemed to be watching her like a hawk, waiting for some reaction.

They’re watching me like hawks here. It makes me feel uneasy.

When I’m at the playground with my son I watch him like a hawk.

  • Busy as a bee

This is going to be super easy to explain. Busy as bee means very busy. Since this is such an easy idiom, I want to to make your own sentence with it. Ok, think about your sentence, say it out loud. Busy as a bee.

I hope you said it! I can hear you! I really can! Yep. After we’re done here head over to teachrola.com/54 and leave your sentence as a comment. Now repeat my propositions: 

I’ve been as busy as a bee all day doing my spring-cleaning.

You have to wait a moment. My boss is as busy as a bee now.

  • Drop like flies

If people are dropping like flies they’re dying in large numbers. They become ill and fall down in large numbers. To rapidly decrease in numbers. to drop out of a group in large numbers.


People were dropping like flies in the intense heat.

It was flu season and people in our office were dropping like flies. 

The contest was so difficult that the participants were dropping like flies. 

  • To kill two birds with one stone

To succeed in achieving two different things with one action. At the same time. It might be solving two problems with one single action. 

For instance:

Cycling to work kills two birds with one stone. It saves money and gives you some exercise. 

Think about a situation when you killed two birds with one stone and say it out loud. Me, for example, when I drive my son to his granny, I talk to him. But on the way back, when I’m alone in the car for about 30 minutes I listen to podcasts. To be honest, I kill two birds with one stone because I relax, and learn something new at the same time. What about you? Make a sentence and say it out loud. 

  • Wouldn’t hurt a fly

When you describe someone with this idiom what you mean is that this person is so gentle, unwilling to cause unhappiness they wouldn’t hurt anyone. Even a tiny fly. 

Repeat example sentences:

I know she seems tough, but trust me, she wouldn’t hurt a fly.

My son is as sweet as honey and would not hurt a fly. 

Think about someone you know, who wouldn’t hurt a fly and say his or her name in a sentence out loud. Yes, now. 

Maciej wouldn’t hurt a fly. 

That’s my example. Ok, let’s move on!

  •  Hold your horses

Some time ago I asked you about an idiom that comes to your mind first, and hold your horses was really popular. So, here it is, hold your horses. It means not so fast. Slow it down. Hold down. Cool your jets. That’s a modern version. You, a new generation made it up. Who uses horses by the way? Sometimes we get too excited about some ideas and we want to take action right here right now. It’s not always right. Sometimes things need to be thought through. So, be patient, please wait. 

Repeat the sentences.

Don’t start celebrating yet! The competition hasn’t finished, hold your horses.

Hold your horses! I haven’t actually said I would help you.

  •  To take the bull by the horns

To deal with something dangerous, unpleasant or difficult. To confront those difficulties like a cowboy, you know? With courage, confidence, strong will and determination. 

Listen to two example sentences:

She decided to take the bull by the horns and asked for a promotion at work.

You should take the bull by the horns and tell him you’re not going to tolerate it any longer.

  • To go cold turkey

I like this one so much. My brain shows me weird pictures, but they’re always funny. So if you go cold turkey you stop doing something or stop using something abruptly and completely. So you don’t cut down on cigarettes first, limit the number of cigarettes, nothing like that. You stop. That’s it. You can hear this idiom with reference to alcohol, drugs or cigarettes. But it’s ok to use it with any bad habit. 

Let’s practice:

Unless you go cold turkey and leave your mobile at home, you won’t rest during your vacation.

I quit smoking cold turkey.

If you want to stop eating unhealthy food I think you should go cold turkey.

Yes! Here you have it! Another eight animal idioms you need to know. 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/54.

Another homework for you now is to take some action. Go to my website leave a comment with the sentence you’ve come up with today. The sentence with an animal idiom ‘as busy as a bee’. Put it there as a comment. 

Share this episode with someone you think might need it. And don’t forget to come back here next Wednesday! I’ll be here for sure. It’s another song lyrics explanation. Learn English with music! What’s the song? Oh my word, it is going to be so cool. Nirvana. Can you guess which song? Have a great week, happy learning, bye-bye!