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Mice and Rats: Idioms

  • September 2, 2016
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What are idioms by the way? When do we use them? The idiom is a phrase in which the meaning has little or nothing to do with the literal text. There are lots of idioms in every language and in English in particular.

The more people are connected to one of the domains the more phrases we can find about this or that sphere.
Animal idioms appeared from a deep interconnection with different animal creatures. Once upon a time man domesticated the animals he needed.

After we’ve got the idioms about dogs. Some time later we created cats expressions. Through the whole human history, we’ve had to deal with other animals. Some of them were or still are some aid for man, some were/are pest or vermin.

When I was a child, I used to have a domesticated rat at home. It was cute and lovely, it could recognize its name, and after some time it became very friendly. Today when I don’t live in a flat, but in a house, I have a cat, and sometimes some vermin arrives to find some nourishment in my kitchen. So, I consider the mice as some pest nowadays. Now you can understand why there are as many different points of view as people on the Earth. In case if you’ve got a mouse as a home pet, it’s OK, in case you dislike them it’s also OK.

mice & cats

Let’s study some of the mice and rats idioms below:

  1. As poor as a church mouse
    Beggar, poverty-struck, poor
  2. As quiet as a mouse
    Timid, shy
  3. Play cat and mouse with
    To provoke, to change the types of behavior when with someone
    To make someone react in a way that will cause them problems
  4. When the cat is away, the mice will play
    When you are not observing somebody, (s)he may make some trouble to you or somebody else
  5. Dust mouse
    A small pile of dust usually found behind or under furniture
  6. Burn not your house to put out the mouse away
    Don’t do anything radical when it isn’t necessary
  7. Mickey-Mouse  (informal)
    (Used as an adjective) Unimportant or inferior in comparison with something similar; nonsense; trivial
  8. Mouse potato
    One spends an enormous amount of time using a computer
  9. A rat race
    Maybe you’ve heard about it from R. Kiyosaki. It’s a common way of trying to succeed at work, to gain money in exchange of your time
  10.   Like rats abandoning a sinking ship
    One drops the affair and the partners when feels that (s)he might go broke
  11.   Rat on someone
    To report someone’s actions to someone in authority
  12.   Rat out
    To expose or reveal incriminating information about someone
  13.   Rats!
    Oh, damn!
  14.   Smell a rat
    Begin to suspect dishonesty

Thanks to these sites I’ve found more rats and mice idioms than I knew before.

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