What Is the Name of the Animal That Completes This Popular Phrase?


By: Isadora Teich

5 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Think you know your quirky English expressions? The English language has one of the largest vocabularies of any language, meaning that there is more than plenty of room for things to get interesting. From metaphors and similes to puns, English lends itself to a lot of creative phrases. Quite simply, English leaves a lot of room to play.

The language is full of sayings, phrases, and axioms that complete all sorts of functions. Some teach a lesson and others provide colorful ways for us to express emotions and opinions. There are many phrases that have been in use for decades or centuries and have been knocking around for so long that no one quite knows how they started. Some of these things have even changed meaning over time, and the average English speaker has no idea what they used to mean.

Many of English's expressions use animals to get their points across. These can be as common as household pets and as exotic as the creatures that dwell in faraway jungles. English has a place for them all, big and small!  If you are a savvy English speaker with a love of animals, see if you can bark your way through this whimsical quiz!

She moves at a ______'s pace.

This idiom references the fact that snails move incredibly slowly. It dates back to at least the 16th century when it was used in Shakespeare's "Richard III."


A little _________ told me that you like him.

This phrase is used when someone told you something, but you don't want to say who it was. This allows them to remain anonymous.


I took a _______ nap this afternoon.

Cat naps refer to short naps during the day. This is because cats sleep so much.


It's a ______ eat ______ world.

This phrase means that competition is brutal and people will do anything to come out on top. No one is sure of the exact origin of this phrase.


Those people are _______.

Sheep generally follow a shepherd without causing too much fuss. When someone calls other people sheep, they mean that they are followers who don't think too hard about things.


You don't want to open that can of _________.

This phrase means to take an action that will create a whole new set of problems. No one is quite sure how it started.


That will happen when ______ fly.

This popular phrase goes back. It's used to express that the speaker thinks that whatever was suggested is impossible.


Don't count your ________ before they hatch.

This phrase means to not get overexcited and overconfident about what you have before you are sure that you have it. After all, deciding all of your chickens will hatch when they are only eggs is risky.


Hold your _______!

This means to be patient. You will often hear mothers saying it to children.


He's such a _______.

This is an insult usually leveled at men. It is often applied to men who are unfaithful to the women they are involved with.


The kid has _______ in his pants.

This idiom is used to mean that somebody can't sit still. Usually, this is out of nerves or excitement.


He is busy as a _______.

This is a common English expression. It comes from Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales," which were written in the 14th century.


The world is your _________.

This phrase means that you have many opportunities in front of you. After all, oysters may be hard to open, but occasionally they contain a beautiful pearl.


I wanted to talk to her, but she _______ed up.

To clam up means to suddenly get quiet. You don't want to clam up at a job interview.


The _______ days of summer seem to never end.

The dog days of summer refer to the hottest part of the summer. This can often be heatwave that lasts days or more.


During flu season, my co-workers drop like _________.

This phrase can refer to dying, quitting or giving up quickly. It is usually only used to refer to multiple people or objects.


There's something ________ about this.

If something is fishy it is odd, suspicious or not quite right. Use it when things seem off.


Don't have a ________.

This means to not get upset. It usually refers to overreacting to minor issues.


Mom doesn't want us to _________ around.

To horse around means to play rough. Kids often do this.


Let's kill two ________ with one stone.

This phrase is not literally about killing birds with stones. It means to solve two problems or get two things done at once.


Don't let the _______ out of the bag.

This does not refer to a literal cat in a bag. It means to not reveal secrets.


I want to _____ out at the buffet.

To pig out means to eat a lot. This refers to the appetites of pigs.


Don't wait for Greg, he always ________s out.

To chicken out means to back out on something due to fear. Cowardly people are also often called chickens.


It's raining cats and ________.

This is not literal. It means that it's raining incredibly hard outside.


I think I smell a ________.

To smell a rat means to begin to think that something bad is going on behind your back. If you suspect trickery, you have smelled a rat.


I can't leave, my little brother will _____ me out.

To rat someone out means to tell on them in order to get them in trouble. Rat is used in a few phrases related to double-crossing others.


I heard it straight from the __________'s mouth.

If you hear something straight from the horse's mouth, it does not mean that a horse literally told you. It means that you got your information straight from the source.


Holy _____!

This is used as an exclamation. It usually expresses surprise or incredulity.


You don't want to go on a wild ________ chase.

A wild goose chase describes a specific kind of chase. It means that someone is chasing after or trying to achieve something difficult or downright impossible.


Don't be a copy _________.

Copy cats are people who copy others. You will often hear this phrase used by children.


The manager watches us like a ___________.

This idiom means that someone or something is being watched incredibly closely. Hawks can see 2-8 times better than people.


Get your _______ in a row.

This phrase means to straighten up and get everything together. It refers to the fact that baby ducks often walk behind their mother in a row.


I heard that study is looking for _______.

If someone is being used as a guinea pig, it means they are being used as a test subject. This probably refers to the longstanding practice of animal testing in experiments, which often make use of rodents.


Let sleeping _______ lie.

This phrase means to leave things alone. Dogs are common in English idioms.


She is blind as a _______.

While this phrase is used to describe someone who is blind, it is not correct. All species of bats can actually see to some extent.


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