Grammar: Comparative Expressions Using Animals
Making Comparisons in English
There are several ways to make effective comparisons in English. Using these expressions with animals is one of the more interesting and colorful ways to do so. Here are some of the more common metaphors and similes in colloquial use.
“Big as a Whale“
With some species weighing up to 180 tons (200 short tons) and measuring up to 98 ft. (30 meters) in length, whales are some of the largest animals currently known to man.
“Blind as a Bat“
While not quite true, bats are not really blind. They are simply adapted to avoiding obstacles and finding prey or food in nearly absolute darkness.
“Brave as a Lion“
“Do you think the Wizard could give me some courage?” the Cowardly Lion asked. “Of course he can”, replied Dorothy. “After all, lions are known for their courage.” A group of lions, called a Pride, will often attack prey working together. Collectively, they can attack animals even larger than themselves such as elephants.
“Busy as a Bee“
Constantly searing for new fields of flowers and sources of sweet nectar, bees are in fact avid workers and as such, stay busy.
“Crazy as a Loon“
Very similar to the comparative expression “silly as a goose” which refers to unpredictable, strange or unusual behavior, especially when it’s humorous in nature. The Loon is a North American water fowl which is known for its antics in the wild.
“Dumb as an Ox“
Despite their massive size and ponderous weight, oxen (plural of ox) are not known for their mental agility. With simple needs for fodder, brute strength and ability to plod along tirelessly, they are used in agriculture to pull heavy plows and wagons throughout Asia.
“Fast as a Jack rabbit“
If you’ve ever had a rabbit explode out of cover at nearly full speed near you, you’ll certainly understand why this expression seems so appropriate.
“Happy as a Clam“
While mollusks like oysters and clams don’t really have emotions, they react to irritation, by producing pearls on case example. Since they never complain and seem to be “smiling” when opened, this expression evolved.
“Snug as a Bug in a rug“
This expression simply means to be extremely comfortable, quiet and content to the point of not wanting to move.
“Proud as a Peacock“
Like a peacock which spreads its colorful plumage to impress and attract a mate, a person demonstrating pride, especially in their appearance, could be described using this expression.
“Quiet as a Mouse“
With its ability to creep and crawl noiselessly, this expression is certainly an understandable one.
“Silly as a Goose“
Geese (plural of goose) are no strangers to erratic behavior, especially when frightened, disturbed or otherwise aroused. A person who frequently exhibits erratic, unpredictable, strange or unusual behavior may be referred to as being “silly as a goose“. See also, “crazy as a Loon.”
“Slippery as an Eel“
It’s the slick coating of water-resistant mucous covering its body that makes eels almost impossible to hold onto. They’ll wriggle, contort and twist to free themselves making this expression a totally appropriate one.
“Slow as a Turtle“
Yes, it’s true that turtles move at a typically laid-back pace. But they can sprint for short distances and make short jumps when threatened.
“Sly as a Fox“
One of nature’s most clever predators, a fox will use its wiles to solve problems allowing it to get to food sources such as into sheds, poultry enclosures and escape traps set for it. They’re also fast, strong for their size and exhibit uncanny cunning in achieving their goals.
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