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Bird Idioms in English


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As we have explored in the previous topics -- animal idioms and fish and fishing idioms -- there are also quite a few bird idioms in English.  I'm sure this is due to our general fascination with birds and with flight.

Here are just a few. 

"Birds of a feather flock together" -- meaning people with similar interests or goals with often associate.

A "night owl" is someone who stays up very late; an "early bird" is just the opposite; an early riser.

To "chicken out" of something means to avoid doing it because of fear.

A "wild goose chase" refers to a futile pursuit or something that would up being a waste of time. 

Can you think of some idioms using birds?  If so, please add to our list.  :)

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English Bird Idioms / Metaphors

Lovely thread Laura! I can't wait to add some more bird-related idioms / metaphors. Here are some:

'free as a bird' (Meaning: pretty much self-explanatory)

an early bird (Meaning: someone that gets up early in the morning)

kill two birds with one stone  (Meaning: to manage to do two things at the same time instead of just one)

A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush (Meaning: It's better to have a lesser but certain advantage than the possibility of a greater one that may come to nothing.

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Well, the first bird idiom that popped into my head after reading the title was "flip the bird", sorry :wacky:. There are other bird idioms that I use every now and then like: "eat like a bird" which basically means that someone is eating small amounts of food, or "a little bird told me" ( I won't explain this because, well, everybody knows it's meaning  :smile: ).

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Well if you count a chicken as a bird.  :grin:

Then I would say:

"Don't count your chickens until they hatch," meaning to not jump to conclusions or putting too much emphasis on the outcome that has not happened yet.

"Don't put all your eggs in one basket," usually referring to money, but it means to don't put all of your efforts into one aspect because if it fails, then you lose everything.

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"To crow" is to brag loudly.

"What's good for the goose is good for the gander" meaning fair is fair, usually gender-wise. Also seen as "What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander"

Astool pigeon is a slightly archaic term for a snitch, originating from a form of hunting that involved a decoy bird.

Cock of the walk a preening, self-important male.

Eagle eyed very observant, with keen vision.

Hawkish warmongering or generally aggressive.

Bird-brained foolish and empty headed, also feather-brained. Also flighty, but not sure if that's directly related.

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A few more 'bird' idioms:

Free as a bird - completely free.

Bird's eye view - see from above.

Birds in their little nests agree - those who live together should live peacefully side by side.

Eat like a bird - to eat only very small amounts of food.

Fine feathers make fine birds - if you dress well, people will be misled into believing you're some big shot.

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What does "flip the bird" mean Jet Li ? I have a guess but I am not sure at all :=)

I'm not sure what emoticon the characters ":=)" stand for, so I don't know if you're being sarcastic or not. I guess i'll just have to answer your question :devil:. Don't worry, I'll try to say it mildly :tongue:.

I don't know if it has other meanings, but in slang, to "flip the bird" means "giving someone the finger", to "flip someone off", you know, "the one finger salute " or _|_  :tongue:.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I use various bird-related idioms each day the most common ones being:

As mad as wet hen- meaning extremely angry

As scarce as hen’s teeth –meaning very scarce

Duck’s soup-meaning a task that does not require much effort

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