Cat and Dog Sayings

We often use sayings or idioms in our conversation that need to be translated for those visiting our country. Here is a partial list of fun dog and cat sayings and  their meanings

Cat got your tongue- This refers to anyone who is inexplicable silent.  It was heard commonly in the 1960s and 1970s.

Raining cats and dogs- This one means it is raining very hard.  It may have had it’s origins when cats and dogs fell off thatched roofs when it was raining very hard, but this has not been proven.

Dog and pony show-It is a highly promoted, often over-staged performance designed to sway or convince opinion for political or commercial ends.  In the late 19th and 20th centuries, there were traveling circuses that had performing dogs and ponies. These were usually staged in areas not suited for larger more elaborate circus shows.

Let the cat out of the bag- This means to disclose a secret. One possible origin is that at the market place, a piglet would be fraudulently changed for a cat.  If you let the cat out of the bag, you disclosed the trick.

Dog days- The very hot days during July and August. In ancient Rome, the hottest days coincided with the appearance of Sirius, the Dog Star.  People believed the star contributed to the heat of the day.

Curiosity killed the cat- Inquisitiveness that can lead one into dangerous situations or a way to try to stop someone from asking unwanted questions; (sometimes associated with political debate).

Fight like cats and dogs-This means you are always fighting.  It comes from the common thought that dogs and cats were supposed to be enemies.

Let sleeping dogs lie-If something is serving its purpose, don’t change it as it might cause trouble.

The cats pajamas- meaning great or remarkable. It was used in the 1920s when pajamas were somewhat new.

It’s a dog’s life- A life that is without responsibilities. All dogs have to do is eat, sleep, bark, sniff and lick.

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks- Older dogs and people learn less well than younger ones. Those of us over 60 beg to differ!


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