Saturday, May 8, 2004


Animal form
Prerana Trehan

Zoologists arenít the only ones who closely observe animals. Apparently, language experts are just as interested in birds and beasts. Their examination of the living world is obvious in the many idioms that take cues from animal behaviour.

Badger someone: persuade someone to do what one wants by harassing and bothering them.

My son has been badgering me for the past month to buy him a mobile phone.

Make a beast/pig of oneself: eat too much.

I made such a pig of myself at the party last night that I am feeling quite sick today.

Eager beaver: someone who works very hard and is eager to do something.

The new recruit is such an eager beaver that he comes to office even on Sunday.

Have a bee in oneís bonnet (about something): be continually occupied with or obsessed by an idea or thing.

My mother has a bee in her bonnet about cleanliness. Whenever you see her she has a scrubber in her hand.

Make a beeline for something: hurry towards something, taking the quickest and most direct way.

By the time I reach home from office I am so hungry that I make a beeline for the refrigerator.

A lone wolf: someone who prefers to be alone or has little social contact with others.

I have invited my new neighbour over many times but he has never visited me. He appears to be a lone wolf.

A bird in the hand (is worth two in the bush): it is better to keep what you have than to risk losing it by trying to get something better.

Even though the college which is offering me a seat is not the one I had hoped to study in, I think I will take admission because a bird in the hand...

Early bird: an early riser.

I would love to go for a morning walk, but alas, I am not an early bird.

The bird has flown: someone has escaped or disappeared.

After searching for the murderer for two weeks, the police gave up. It was obvious that the bird had flown.

A birdís eye view: a view from a very high place which allows you to see a large area.

When you look down from Monkey Point in Kasauli, you get a birdís eye view of Chandigarh.

Eat like a bird: eat very little.

Ever since my teenage daughter decided to lose weight, she has been eating like a bird.

Birds of a feather: people with similar traits or interests.

My friend and I have so much in common that my mother often says we are birds of a feather.

Kill two birds with one stone: achieve two ends with one action.

By enrolling my son in a hobby class I have killed two birds with one stone. Not only is he learning something useful but he is also watching less TV.

A home bird: someone who prefers to spend his free time at home.

A couple of years ago I enjoyed partying, but now I have become quite a home bird.


Which animalís behaviour describes the following traits in people:

Someone who...

...eats too much. very hard and is enthusiastic about a task.

...prefers to be alone and doesnít enjoy mixing with other people.

...gets up early in the morning.

...eats very little.

Which animalís behaviour describes the following situations:


...pester your boss to give you a raise.

...rush to your favourite shop as soon as you hear it has a sale.

...enjoy going home straight after work.

...are very particular about reaching well in time for appointments. looking down from the terrace of the tallest building in your neighbourhood.

(Reference: Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms)