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6 Dog Idioms

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How many of you know the English expression raining cats and dogs, as in, 'I'm not going outside, it's raining cats and dogs'?

It means, and no one seems to know why, raining very heavily. The other strange thing I've noticed about this expression is the amount of English learners know it. Why is this expression so well know to students, I have no idea? Perhaps it's a fun, simple and easy phrase to remember?

Let's introduce you to some other expressions featuring the animal that makes up half that idiom - the dog.

Here are some well-known dog expressions.


Very tired.

He was dog-tired after working a double-shift.

She's said all nurses are dog-tired by the end of the day. It really is a tough job.


When a situation is dog-eat-dog, it's very competitive in a cruel and selfish way.

Working on Wall Street is dog-eat-dog.

Banking is a dog-eat-dog industry.

Let sleeping dogs lie

You let sleeping dogs lie when you choose to not talk about things which have caused problems in the past. It's also used to not try to change a situation because it might cause problems.

He never talks about his ex-wife and we never ask about her, it's better to let sleeping dogs lie.

Can we just let sleeping dogs lie? I don't want to discuss the matter any further?

Work like a dog

To work very hard.

She worked like a dog all day to finish the report before the deadline.

I worked like a dog all weekend painting my parents' house.

to be like a dog with a bone

This, mostly British expression, means to refuse to stop talking or thinking about something. To not give up.

When it comes to talking about politics, he's like a dog with a bone.

Don't get into a discussion with her about environmental issues - she's like a dog with a bone.

to be like a dog with two tails

To be very happy.

He was like a dog with two tails when his team won.

She'll be like a dog with two tails when she finds she's been promoted.

Now choose the best idiom to complete each sentence:

  • 1) I ___ gardening all day.

  • 2) What's James so happy about? He looks like ___.

  • 3) She can't stop talking about learning English - she's like ___.

  • 4) I'm ___ after running the marathon.

  • 5) I don't like talking about argument we had, it's better to ___.

  • 6) Be strong, it's a ___ world.