2013-07-16       Zoos ....and animal English


Summer holidays are here, a time when many people will visit a zoo in Hong Kong, the Mainland or elsewhere. In Hong Kong we have beautiful birds and other "creatures great and small" at Kowloon Park, Hong Kong Park, the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, Ocean Park, and Noah's Ark.

The largest zoo I have ever been to is Safari Park at Pun Yu, near Guangzhou.  One of its sections has lions, tigers, elephants and zebras roaming around freely, and you go through this section in a bus!  I used to think that Taronga Zoo in Sydney was large, but Safari Park is much, much larger. Near Safari Park is Guangzhou Crocodile Park which has 100,000 crocodiles ....and crocodile soup for sale!

Speaking of lions, tigers, elephants, zebras and crocodiles, you might like to check these English phrases:

* At the Asian Games, China usually wins the lion's share of medals

* He seems very friendly, but actually he's a smiling tiger

* When the committee was choosing a new president, no one referred to an elephant in the room: the main candidate was an alcoholic 

* a zebra crossing looks like a zebra!

* She was very sad, but her family knew how to understand her crocodile tears


English, like every language, has lots of "animal" sayings and phrases.


! And it's suitable for summer as families may visit zoos or travel elsewhere to get close to mother nature and play with animals.


Would you mind choosing a few of your favourite phrases, say 3 to 5, and briefly explain what they mean? the rest can be in a list and let the readers find out. It may be more encouraging for them to find out the meanings if there are some "examples".

Here are some which are quite common in ordinary speech. Put them into Google to check their meaning.

* crocodile tears * a smiling tiger * to snake your way * run like a hare *a  frogman * a frog in my throat * to be an ass/donkey * quiet as mice * to rat on someone * snug as a bug in a rug * a fly on the wall * a fly in the ointment * poor as a church mouse * pigs can fly * monkey business * a cat among the pigeons * a stool pigeon * a hawk eye * to beetle along * bull sh-t * a loan shark * as red as a lobster * a hound dog * every dog has his day * he's a bit of a dinosaur * a little fish * a big fish * it's better to be a big fish in a little pond that a little fish in a big pond * weak as a kitten * don't be so catty * to fight like cat and dog * a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush * to strain a gnat but swallow a camel * to break the camel's back * eat like a horse * horsing around * he's a nag * a cool cat * to ape someone * a turkey shoot * to crow about something * as the crow flies * a lazy dog * dog tired * a busy bee * a poor cow * to bully someone * to drink like a fish * fishing for information * he's a real prawn * to badger someone * what a goose she was * dead as a dodo * happy as a lark * he's batty * she's driving me batty * don't be cocksure * she's a silly old hen * a fowl remark * a lame duck