Animal expressions A - D

There are many animal expressions in both English and Spanish.



ants


Someone who can't keep still because they are so nervous or exited is said to have ants in their pants. (In Spanish you'd probably say you have wasps in your bum)

Can you call someone who is a hard worker / saver an ant in Spanish??

Is "tener hormigas" the same as "tener hormigueo"?? We call this sensation "pins and needles" ("alfileres y agujas") in English.



bear


There is a verb "to bear" which is similar to "to tolerate" or "to endure" ("soportar / aguantar"). It is often used with "can't" to describe something you find unpleasant.
  • Tell us if we have passed the exam. We can't bear the suspense.
  • I can't bear the sight of Francisco Rivera. Everything about him disgusts me.
  • She couldn't bear to talk about it.
  • He couldn't bear it if she had to leave.
  • The pain was too much to bear.

The expression "to bear in mind" means that you should remember a piece of information when making a decision or thinking about a matter.
  • Bear in mind that there is a holiday next Friday. You'll need to finish the report by Thursday.
  • Bearing in mind that she had so little experience, I thought she did reasonably well.

When you ask someone to be patient while you do something, you say "bear with me".
  • If you bear with me a moment, I'll try to find your details.
  • I'm afraid you'll have to bear with me. This is all new to me.



cat

                            This is Zebedee. She's almost twenty years old and she is a crazy cat. She never stops meowing.


If you "let the cat out of the bag", you reveal a secret (usually without intending to).
  • It was meant to be a surprise party but Jill went and let the cat out of the bag.
  • Don't tell your mother if you don't want people to find out. She always lets the cat out of the bag

In Spanish you use the expression "haber gato encerrado". As far as I understand it means that you are suspicious about something. In English you can say "I smell a rat" or "something fishy".
  • My boss was unusually pleasant to me this week. I smell a rat.
  • There is something fishy going on here. I don't trust them.

There is an expression "to put the cat among the pigeons". It means that you cause trouble or make people worried or upset, because of something you do or say.
  • He really put the cat among the pigeons when he announced that he was resigning.
  • The Queen would put the cat among the pigeons if she divorced the King.
What would the equivalent expression be in Spanish? Have you heard of "meter los perros en danza" or alborotar a todo el palomar"??



dog



If you are in the doghouse, someone is upset with you because you have done something wrong.
  • He's in the doghouse. He forgot their anniversary.
  • I'm in the doghouse with the boss. He thinks it's my fault that we didn't get the contract.

In Spanish you have an expression "perro ladrador, poco mordedor". In English we'd say "his bark is worse than his bite".
  • Don't be afraid to ask the boss for time off. His bark is much worse than his bite.



Can you think of any situations where you could have used the above expressions?

Do you have any other expressions related to the above animals in Spanish?



Comments

Anonymous said…
Hi Graham, it's Hilde.
I've read animal expressions. I didn,t know a lot of them.
In Spanish, with same animals "no vendas la piel del oso antes de cazarlo" ;"de noche todos los gatos son pardos". With dog "mismos perros con diferentes collares". Are the same expressions inEnglish?
P.S. I like Zebedee so much
Graham said…
Hi Hilde,

There are so many expressions related to animals. The ones that I have posted are common.

I can't remember having heard the expressions that you mention.

Let me see if I can guess what they mean.

"no vendas la piel del oso antes de cazarlo" - You should appreciate and keep what you have, rather than risk replacing it.

If that's what it means, then there is a similar proverb in English:
"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush".

Anyway I don't approve of hunting so I won't use it. :-))


"de noche todos los gatos son pardos" - does it mean that everyone and everything seems more frightening in the dark?


"mismos perros con diferentes collares" - is that a warning that means you could think someone is different, but really they belong to the same group of people you shouldn't trust.

For example, you think that a politician is trustworthy but he is really just like all the others.


Am I right?




Roberto said…
Very interesting post!.In spanish we say "hormiguita" to a hard worker/saver."Tener hormigas" I think is to be restless."A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" is "Mas vale pajaro en mano que ciento volando" in spanish."No vendas la piel del oso antes de cazarlo" means don´t make any plans too early.We have another expressions like "alborotar todo el gallinero" o "entrar como un elefante en una cacharreria"(same meaning).Also "echarte a los perros" o "dejarte a los pies de los caballos"."Ser un poco perro" is to be a little bit lazy."Un bicho" o "un bicho venenoso",is someone very bad.By the way,I saw in american movies to call "a rat" to a confident,but I don´t know if is only an american expression...
Montse said…
Hi, Graham. I’ve found out some other expressions more.

“Straight from the horse’s mouth”. They are going to move to France. I heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.
It means that you know some information directly from the person responsible for it.

“To flog a dead horse”. I think Graham sometimes feels like he is flogging a dead horse when anybody leaves a comment in the blog for days.
It means that you are wasting effort on trying to get something with no chance of succeeding.

“To eat like a horse”. To eat a lot.

In Spain we say:

“Llevarse como el perro y el gato” when we speak about people which can’t get on well and they are always arguing. (Juan y María se llevan como el perro y el gato)

“Pasar un día de perros” o “estar de un humor de perros” both mean really bad. (Mi padre se levantó con un humor de perros)

“Tener más hambre que el perro de un ciego” means to be hungry.

“Había cuatro gatos” means there were very few people. (En el cine éramos cuatro gatos)

“Aquí hay gato encerrado” when there is a secret reason or something suspicious. (No me creo ni una palabra. Aquí hay gato encerrado)

“Llevarse el gato al agua” means to get something that it seemed really difficult to do. (Al final Pedro se llevó el gato al agua y van a vender la casa).

See you on Thursday!
Graham said…
Hi Roberto,

A confidant is a person you can trust and be totally open with whereas a rat is just the opposite - a very unpleasant and disloyal character.

I've just looked up the quote "You dirty rat" but apparently it's a misquote attributed to James Cagney when he played the role of a gangster.


Very interesting post!.In Spanish we say "hormiguita" to a hard worker/saver.

I think"Tener hormigas" is to be restless.

"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" is "Mas vale pajaro en mano que ciento volando" in Spanish. Right.

"No vendas la piel del oso antes de cazarlo" means don´t make any plans too early.

We have other expressions like "alborotar todo el gallinero" o "entrar como un elefante en una cacharreria"(same meaning).
Maybe this is like the expression "like a bull in a china shop".

Also "echarte a los perros" o "dejarte a los pies de los caballos".
What do they mean?

"Ser un poco perro" is to be a little bit lazy.

"Un bicho" o "un bicho venenoso",is someone very bad.
I've been called a "bicho raro" - I doubt it was a compliment.

By the way,I have heard someone being called a rat in American movies but I don´t know if is only an American expression...
What do you mean by confident? Do you mean a confidant?


See you.

Roberto said…
Graham: I think the meaning of "rat" is "informer"(maybe is a slang word). I think "bicho raro" is similar to "weirdo". "Dejar alguien a los pies de los caballos" is to be abandon or expossed. Montse: I found the english translation of "gato encerrado",is "something fishy".
Graham said…
Hi Montse,

There are loads of animal expressions in English and Spanish.


I’ve found out some more expressions.

“Straight from the horse’s mouth”.


“To flog a dead horse”. I think Graham sometimes feels like he is flogging a dead horse when nobody leaves a comment in the blog for days. (Good example.)

“To eat like a horse”. To eat a lot.

We also say "I could eat a horse" when we are very hungry. But maybe we don't say it so much after the horse meat scandal last year.



“Llevarse como el perro y el gato” when we speak about people which can’t get on well and they are always arguing. (Juan y María se llevan como el perro y el gato)

In English we'd say "they fight like cat and dog".

“Pasar un día de perros” o “estar de un humor de perros” both mean really bad. (Mi padre se levantó con un humor de perros)

In English we'd say that we "had a lousy day" or "he's in a lousy mood".

“Aquí hay gato encerrado” when there is a secret reason or something suspicious. (No me creo ni una palabra. Aquí hay gato encerrado)

In English we'd say that something was "fishy" or that "you smell a rat".


Graham said…
Hi Roberto,

"a weirdo" is a strong expression in English.

When I was called "bicho raro" , it was because I wouldn't jump into a deep river. I can't swim so I don't think it's so strange.

Roberto said…
Yes,is not that strange.Sometimes people don´t use the expressions properly.But according with the dictionary,"weirdo" is similar to "freak",and the translation is "bicho raro".
Graham said…
Roberto,

I'm quite happy to be a "bicho raro" - rather that than "un normalito" :-)
Roberto said…
I agree,to be a "normalito" is the worst...
José said…
Hi Graham

Lord Byron, English (sorry) poet said: “As much I know men, as more I love my dog”. I don´t know if this quotation is correct in English, but in Spanish we say: “Cuanto más conozco a los hombres, más quiero a mi perro”.

I´m trying to translate these sayings into English, please, check you it.

“No se hizo la miel para la boca del asno”. The honey didn´t made to the donkey´s mouth.

“Más vale ser cabeza de ratón que cola de león”. It´s rather be a head of the mouse than a tail of the lion.

“El perro del hortelano ni come las berzas ni las deja comer a su amo”. Neither he eats, nor he lets us eat. The garden´s dog neither eats cabbage, nor lets his dog owner eats.

“Cada oveja con su pareja” Every sheep with it couple.

“Aunque la mona se vista de seda, mona se queda”. In spite of the monkey dresses of silk, the monkey remains.

“Habló el buey y dijo mu”. The ox talked and it says moo.

Goodbye.
Graham said…
Hi José,

Despite the fact that he is English, I entirely agree with Lord Byron - the more I (get to) know men, the more I love my dog.

I see that you have translated the sayings but you haven't explained what they mean.

I'll check the translations, have a guess at what they mean and in your next post, you can tell me if I'm right.

Apart from Lord B's quotation, I don't think I had heard of any of the sayings before. Could it be that they are from another era? :-))))


1. “No se hizo la miel para la boca del asno”.
They didn't make honey for the donkey's mouth.

Does this mean something is a waste of time? eg I tried to convince José to become a vegetarian too but they didn't make honey for the donkey's mouth.


2. “Más vale ser cabeza de ratón que cola de león”.
It's much better to be / I'd rather be the head of a mouse than the tail of a lion.


I haven't got a clue when you'd use this one.


3. “El perro del hortelano ni come las berzas ni las deja comer a su amo”.
The dog in the garden neither eats cabbage nor lets his owner eat it.


Maybe this is used to describe someone who is very selfish. If they don't get something, they don't want anyone else to have it.


4. “Cada oveja con su pareja”
Every sheep with its partner

This sounds to me as if it's saying thay we shouldn't try to be who we aren't. eg I tried to act posh but it was obvious I wasn't.


5. “Aunque la mona se vista de seda, mona se queda”
Even if the monkey wears silk, it's still a monkey.


I think this one is easier. No matter how hard you try, you can't change what you are.


6. “Habló el buey y dijo mu”. The ox spoke and it said moo.

Does it mean you are speaking a lot of rubbish? (If it does, it could be a very handy expression)



Ok that's my homework done.

I hope I have got at least one of them right.


Long live Spain! Long live the King!


José said…
Hey Graham

Well done. Ten points. I know you are a clever man. I wish I knew as English as you know Spanish.

Obviously, these sayings are from another era, my era, however you are new, from the king Felipe VI era.:-))))

“They didn´t make honey for the donkey´s mouth”, means that eg the culture isn´t for a stupid person or a donkey (person). You have had success with me because you have got I eat salad (vegetable) with a roasted lamb.

“It´s much better to be / I´d rather be the head of a mouse than the tail of a lion” means that it´s much better to be boss of a little company than administrative assistant of a big company.

“The dog in the garden neither eats cabbage nor lets his owner eat it”, it´s correct your interpretation and, also, when someone gets a governmental scholarship and doesn´t use, he´s like the dog in the garden, because another person can´t use it.

“Every sheep with its partner” means that I can´t go with young people like you.:-))))

“Even if the monkey wears silk, it´s still a monkey” means that if I pretend to be from Madrid, I always will be a villager.

“The ox spoke and it said moo” as you said, this means that somebody is speaking a lot of time and he says nothing or a lot of rubbish like a politicians (sorry) bad politicians.

Long live Scotland and Spain! Long live the King!

You remind me a Lord of the House of Commons. (Sorry, don´t be annoyed. I say in good sense).

See you. José.
Graham said…
Hi José,

It'll be strange not having to get up for 8am classes next week. To be honest, I am looking forward to the lie-in though I am sure I will miss you lot.



“They didn´t make honey for the donkey´s mouth”, means that eg culture isn´t for a stupid person or a donkey (person). You have had success with me because you have got me to eat salad (vegetable) with roast lamb.



“The dog in the garden neither eats cabbage nor lets his owner eat it”, it´s correct your interpretation and, also, when someone gets a governmental scholarship and doesn´t , he´s like the dog in the garden, because another person can´t use it.



“Every sheep with its partner” means that I can´t go with young people like you.:-))))

Well, I don't agree with that expression though it's true, I sometimes feel out of place in some places I go to. I have stopped going to discos because I look like a grandad. :-)))



“Even if the monkey wears silk, it´s still a monkey” means that if I pretend to be from Madrid, I will always be a villager.

And there's nothing wrong with being a villager...



You remind me of a Lord in the House of Lords. (Sorry, don´t be annoyed. I mean it in a good way).

Is that because the Lords are notorious for being heavy drinkers? LOL


See you soon.