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Dogs, Cats and Monkeys In English Proverbs and Sayings

I love the English language, it's so expressive and colourful, with its nuances of meaning, metaphors, puns, proverbs, and regional slang

There Are a Large Number of English Proverbs and Sayings About Dogs, Cats and Monkeys

In order to understand the finer points of the English language, Students of English ( ESL or ESOL , TESOL or even TSL ) need to know as many English proverbs and sayings as possible; this way they will learn to speak English like a native. People whose home language is English, which of course includes American English, use figurative language, including metaphors, proverbs and aphorisms all the time.

Here are just some, but by no means all, the expressions and sayings I can think of which relate to these popular animals. If you can think of any more, do tell me, by leaving a comment near the end of this page, and I can then add them to the list.


Sayings And Proverbs About Dogs

  1. Dog in the manger - You can't have it so you won't let anyone else have it either
  2. Dog tired - Very tired
  3. Dog eat dog - Acting ruthlessly to get what you want
  4. Dirty Dog - A cheat
  5. Dogged with bad luck - Burdened with bad luck
  6. Dressed up like a dog's dinner - Overdressed or dressed up flamboyantly
  7. The tail wagging the dog - The subordinate telling the boss what to do
  8. A dog fight - A fight between war planes
  9. It's a Dog's Life - It's a rotten life
  10. The Hair of the Dog (or The Hair of the Dog That Bit You) - An alcoholic drink taken the morning after a drinking session


Expressions About Cats and Their Meanings

  1. Raining cats and dogs--A particularly heavy downpour of rain
  2. Has the cat got your tongue?--Why aren't you speaking?
  3. A cat has nine lives--Cats often seem to survive dangerous situations
  4. cat-o'-nine-tails--A whip with nine leather thongs
  5. Let the cat out of the bag--To Reveal a secret
  6. A cat and mouse game--Toying with your enemy to trick them
  7. Catty--Spiteful
  8. A smile like a Cheshire Cat--A very broad smile, like the Cheshire Cat in the story of Alice in Wonderland
  9. Putting the cat amongst the pigeons--Stirring up trouble
  10. Like a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - Restless, anxious
  11. Cats' Eyes--A series of reflective studs marking the centre of the road
  12. A Pussy Cat--Someone who is emotionally soft or pliable
  13. Kittenish--Skittish, cute, playful
  14. To Look Like the Cat That Got the Cream--To look very pleased
  15. A Cat's Paw--Someone who is used to carry out an unpleasant job
  16. He was the Cat’s Whiskers--He's very smart and well turned out
  17. Cat of the Walk--The leader

Expressions About Monkeys and Their Meanings

Proverbs And Sayings About Monkeys

  1. If you pay peanuts, you'll get monkeys--If you pay a low price you don't get a good job
  2. Cold enough to freeze the brass balls off a monkey--Very cold
  3. Monkey brain--Somebody silly
  4. The three wise monkeys - Hear no Evil, See no Evil, Speak no Evil--Observe but don't say anything about it
  5. Monkeying about--Messing about
  6. Up to monkey tricks--Being cheeky or sly
  7. He has a monkey on his back--He's an addict

Take the Poll Below About Cats, Dogs And Monkeys

If I had to choose between Cats, Dogs and Monkeys, and had them all lined up in front of me, I would be tempted to choose monkeys, because they are so fascinating and expressive.

However, if I actually had to look after a pet, I would choose a cat, because they are much easier to care for and I love their independence. I do like dogs too, but they are hard work, with their walkies, and constant demands for affection.

And for cleanliness I would definitely choose a cat - they are self-cleansing and unobtrusive in their toilet habits, whereas dogs seem to prefer the back garden - yuk! - and monkeys wee anywhere - when I was young we had a very affectionate monkey who used to sit on my shoulder, which I loved, although I wasn't quite so enthusiastic when, on several occasions, he urinated down my back.

About The Writer, Diana Grant

I like animals, especially cats, dogs and monkeys

When I was a child living in Africa, we had a succession of pets, including monkeys, a baboon, a bush baby, a duck, a cat and two dogs.

These are my pets in the photograph above. I adored them, and used to dress up my dog in dolls' clothes. She was very affectionate, and I think she enjoyed the attention.

But living in sub-tropical Southern Africa had its dangers-- snakes were a threat, as were malarial mosquitoes, bilharzia bugs, jigger fleas, and rather nasty scorpions and spiders with poisonous bites.

Me With Our Cat and Dog

© 2010 Diana Grant

Please Say Hallo - it's Always Good To See Who Has Visited - Can You Think Of More Proverbs Or Sayings?

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on March 14, 2014:

@Erin Mellor: I'm a Londoner. I hadn't heard of the first one. And the second one - well I wish I hadn't heard of it!

Scroll to Continue

Erin Mellor from Europe on March 12, 2014:

I'm English so maybe you don't have "Fit as a butchers dog" - very fit as fed on high grade protein. I'm afraid dogging it means something entirely different in England, and you should never tell anyone you're dogging at work. Under any circumstances. Ever.

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on February 13, 2014:

@David Stone1: Good one!

David Stone from New York City on February 13, 2014:

More fun than a barrel of monkeys - riotously fun.

David Stone from New York City on February 13, 2014:

Dogging it - not making an effort at work

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on June 05, 2013:

@Gypzeerose: I did actually have a monkey, when I was a child, and still have the monkey-bite scar on my finger to prove it. Not his fault, I hasten to say - he thought I was trying to steal his peanuts, when actually I was trying to stroke him whilst he was eatiing.....I learnt the hard way that you stay away from animals whilst they are eating - A good lesson. He was adorable, and very affectionate.

Rose Jones on June 05, 2013:

Pinned to my colorful speech board - I do enjoy these lenses! "Monkeying about" - that is a great phrase. There is a song called "If I had a million dollars" with these words: "If I had a million dollars I would buy a monkey - haven't you always wanted a MONKEY?"

Mech from Bosnia and Herzegvina on January 12, 2013:

Great lens, thanks for sharing. Can't really think of a proverb that you don't have here - great job!

suepogson on January 06, 2013:

That was a fun read!

julieannbrady on March 25, 2012:

Ha, I can imagine what my friends would think of me if I told them that I let the cat out of the bag. Hey! What are you doing putting a cat in a bag? Which cat??

rewards4life info on June 22, 2011:

Cracking lens! Thanks for sharing!

Jerrad28 on May 23, 2011:

Fun lens!

Snakesmom on May 18, 2011:

I loved the animal quiz, what fun!

akumar46 lm on May 18, 2011:

All animals are beautiful creatures.

norma-holt on October 24, 2010:

I love your kitten (jealous lol). Used to have a magnificent tortoise shell and simply adore them. I took the quiz but really cats and dogs are my favoritie. Never had a monkey. I am featuring this on Pets Health.

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on October 04, 2010:

@BuckHawkcenter: I've just thought of another - putting the cat amongs the pigeons, which I will add later

irenemaria from Sweden on October 02, 2010:

I love all animals really. But have a special feeling for cats. I have a lens called "I love cats" even.

BuckHawkcenter on October 02, 2010:

I tried to think of a saying you didn't have here and couldn't, ergo, pretty complete list.

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