Some Catchy English Phrases

 

Idiom

Meaning

Example

As busy as a cat on a hot tin roof Very busy Mack is a full time student while holding a full time job. He’s as busy as a cat on a hot tin roof.
A cat has nine lives Cats can survive accidents that would kill most animals Fred is unbelievable. He was hit by a car, knocked off the bridge and into the water, and still showed up for work the next day. That cat has nine lives.
A leopard cannot change its spots One can’t change one’s basic identity  
Cat around Spend time aimlessly; seek sexual activity A: What’s Harvey doing?B: Nothing much; just catting around.
Cat fight A dispute carried out with great hostility I wouldn’t go in there if I were you. Hank and Sue are in a real cat fight.
Catwalk A narrow walkway, usually quite high up, used to allow workers to work above a stage or other area You want me to go up on that catwalk? No way! I’m afraid of heights.
When the cat’s away, the mice will play When an authority figure is absent, subordinates will do whatever they want A: Their parents were out of town for two days. They watched TV all night long and blasted music out loud all day.B: Well! When the cat’s away, the mice will play.
A cat in gloves catches no mice If you’re too careful and polite, you may not get what you want A: She owes me some money. I know she remembers but I’m afraid of reminding her because it might spoil our friendship.
Better be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion It’s better to be the leader of a small group than a follower of a bigger one He’s the chairman of a small company in a small city. He was offered the place of an assistant in a very big company with very high salary. However he turned it down. Better be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion.
Has the cat got your tongue? Why aren’t you saying anything? I’ve been talking for five minute now and you haven’t said anything. Has the cat got your tongue?
Curiosity killed the cat Being curious can get you in trouble, especially when you’re too nosy Why do you keep asking where he found his lost wallet? Curiosity killed the cat.
There’s more than one way to skin a cat There’s more than one way of doing things A: I don’t know how Mary does it. Even though she seems the most relaxed, she’s always the first to complete the work.B: Well, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
Tomcat A male cat, (slang) woman chaser He tomcatted around before he got married.
Let the cat out of the bag Reveal a secret when you shouldn’t Why did you tell the children that we were going on a picnic? Now you’ve let the cat out of the bag.
Raining like cats and dogs Raining heavily It was raining cats and dogs. Even our umbrellas couldn’t keep us dry.
Get the tiger by the tail Take on a task for which one is ill-prepared or which may be a bigger challenge than anticipated You’re planning on starting your own computer business without knowing a thing about computers. Now you’ve got the tiger by the tail.
Lion’s share The largest portion Workers produce wealth for the capitalist but get very little reward. The capitalist gets the lion’s share.
Not enough room to swing a cat in Cramped place; congested There were so many of us in her office that there wasn’t enough room to swing a cat in.
Fight like cats and dogs A real nasty fight Did you see the two of them? They were fighting like cats and dogs.
Cat burglar A burglar who breaks into houses through upstairs windows At some time in the morning a cat burglar sneaked in and stole all her jewelry.
Play cat and mouse with someone To be evasive with someone; to toy with someone I know what you are up to. Don’t play cat and mouse with me.
Cat nap A short nap or doze Every afternoon he would close his office door and take a little cat nap.
Catcall shouting disapproval or insults; heckling The catcalls from the audience caused the speaker to pause.Those vulgar boys were making catcalls when two girls passed by.

Source : http://www.geocities.com/elcenglish/

(Disediakan oleh cikgu Siti Radhiah)