Idioms – an integral part of the English language – are constantly found in colloquial speech, from comedy series to business negotiations.
From the school English course, for sure, many people remember it is raining cats and dogs – an idiom for describing heavy rain. We will add to cats and dogs falling from the sky some more colorful images – a deer in the headlight, a dog that eats another dog and a monkey that sees and does. So, funny idioms with animals.
The black sheep we are talking about those who (perhaps in good, but more often still in a negative sense) are different from the majority. This expression differs in some languages. For example, in Russian, Lithuanian or Persian it exists in the form of white crow. But practically in all European languages (including English) – the one who stands out from the crowd is called black sheep. Just like a white crow, a black sheep stands out from the flock of its brothers – perhaps recollecting the recessive genes and the biology course by an unkind word.
I was always the black sheep at school: I read books at a time when everyone was frolicking.
If a significant part of today's dogs is decorative chihuahua and practically toy bishon frize, then many years ago to be a four-legged friend of a man meant to live on the street, to eat what you catch, and in general, to survive at any cost.
Apparently, it was from those times that the expression dog-eat-dog came. So you can describe a situation in which participants, in order to succeed or simply survive, have to intrigue, betray others. Such is the "flock of friends".
Note that dog-eat-dog is an adjective, there must be a definable word after it: dog-eat-dog situation, dog-eat-dog rule.
It is the dog-eat-dog world, everyone survives as best they can.
Deer in the Headlights
Let us start with the literal meaning: deer is an animal that has horns and lives in woods. Headlights are the lights of the car. So, the thing is that when a deer, crossing the road at night, suddenly sees an approaching car, then instead of jumping back into the forest, it stands and stares at the face of imminent death. This is due to the fact that suddenly blinded by the car headlights, it completely loses the notion of what is going on around and instinctively prefers to wait and do nothing until the vision comes back to it.
It is this behavior that describes the idiom deer in the headlights – huge eyes, a complete stupor, and all this at a time when you need to do something urgently.
Say something, finally, you are acting like a deer in headlights again.
Monkey See, Monkey Do
Monkey sees, monkey do is used to describe the behavior of a person who does something not going into detail of the process or consequences. For example, if you received a file in Excel and just enter the numbers, not understanding where they come from – it is just monkey see, monkey do.
In the broader sense monkey see, monkey do can be easily said about any repetitions: about teenagers who start one by one to use some stupid word, or about adults who try to do everything like neighbors do.
This expression probably appeared from an African folk tale in which a merchant of caps was robbed by a flock of monkeys while he was sleeping. Only ingenuity and knowledge of the principle monkey see, monkey do allowed him to get his caps back: he threw the hat on the ground, which was repeated by the whole flock.
Just buy this dress and you will see that she will do the same: she lives by the monkey see, monkey do principle.
In several European languages, this pet has a name associated with the sea and with pigs. And in English these lovely animals are called Guinea pigs, that is, literally "Pig from Guinea". But firstly, guinea pigs came to us not from Guinea (this is a region in Africa), and secondly, it has no kinship with pigs.
In fact, guinea pigs came from South America, where they are very loved and appreciated, and not only for charm, but also for gastronomic qualities.
The expression guinea pig is due to the fact that guinea pigs made a special contribution to medicine and biology – just 100 years ago they were the main objects for experiments of scientists. Then mice began to be used for it, but since then the expression guinea pig in English means something or someone which or who the experiment is conducted on.
Ask this provocative question to the teacher, be our guinea pig.
These are just a few examples of idioms, in fact there are many more. More examples can be found here. Remember, the more interesting expressions you know, the brighter and more colorful your speech becomes.