18 Metaphors for Animals + Quiz


Metaphors have a unique way of adding color and depth to our language, allowing us to convey complex ideas through vivid and imaginative comparisons.

In the vast landscape of metaphors, animals often take center stage, lending their characteristics to describe human behaviors and situations.

In this article, we delve into the world of metaphors for animals, uncovering the richness and nuance they bring to our communication.

metaphors for animals

What is a Metaphor for Animals

Metaphors for animals serve as powerful linguistic tools, painting pictures with words and offering a fresh perspective on the familiar.


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Created by Dr. Julia Rossi

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1 / 20

What is a simile?

2 / 20

Identify the simile in the following sentence: “She swims like a fish.”

3 / 20

What is a metaphor?

4 / 20

Which of the following is a metaphor?

5 / 20

What is an idiom?

6 / 20

What does the idiom “break the ice” mean?

7 / 20

What is an adjective?

8 / 20

Choose the adjective in the following sentence: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

9 / 20

What is an abbreviation?

10 / 20

What does the abbreviation “e.g.” stand for?

11 / 20

What is a verb?

12 / 20

Identify the verb in the following sentence: “The cat sleeps on the sofa.”

13 / 20

“Out of the frying pan into the fire” is an example of:

14 / 20

Which of the following is an adjective?

15 / 20

The abbreviation “NASA” stands for:

16 / 20

Choose the metaphor in the following sentence: “Time is a thief.”

17 / 20

What does the idiom “hit the books” mean?

18 / 20

Which of the following sentences contains a simile?

19 / 20

“LOL” is an abbreviation for:

20 / 20

Identify the verb in this sentence: “They whispered secrets into the night.”

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Let’s dissect some popular animal metaphors and unravel the meanings woven into each one.

Here’s a summarized table of the metaphors for animals discussed in the article:

MetaphorMeaningExample Sentence
A snake oil salesmanSells something ineffective or fraudulent.Beware, he’s a snake oil salesman peddling empty promises.
A wild goose chaseA futile or fruitless pursuit.Chasing after that opportunity turned out to be a wild goose chase.
A wolf in sheep’s clothingPretends to be something they’re not, often for nefarious purposes.Be cautious; he might seem friendly, but he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
A sheep in wolf’s clothingNot what they seem, hiding true intentions or abilities.Don’t underestimate her; she’s a sheep in wolf’s clothing, ready to assert herself.
A cat got your tongueSomeone unusually quiet or not speaking up.His surprising revelation left her silent, a ‘cat got your tongue’ moment.
A bird in the handSomething certain or already possessed.Focus on the opportunities at hand; a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
A fish on a hookEasily taken in or deceived.Be cautious in negotiations; you don’t want to be the fish on a hook.
A tiger by the tailA situation difficult to control or manage.Taking on that project without proper planning is like grabbing a tiger by the tail.
A horse of a different colorUnrelated to the current topic.Let’s stay focused on the main issue; discussing other matters is a horse of a different color.
A deer in the headlightsFrozen with fear or indecision.Confronted with challenges, he stood there like a deer in the headlights.
A dolphin in a school of sharksOut of place or does not fit in.Being the only artist in a room full of corporate professionals can feel like being a dolphin in a school of sharks.
A rat raceCompetition or struggle for success, often lacking ethics or morals.The corporate world can feel like a relentless rat race, with everyone chasing success at any cost.
A bird’s-eye viewPerspective from above or a broad overview of a situation.Before making decisions, take a bird’s-eye view and consider the broader implications.
A fox guarding the henhouseEntrusted with a task but not well-suited or qualified for it.Having him manage the project is like having a fox guarding the henhouse—a recipe for disaster.
A leopard cannot change its spotsCannot change fundamental nature or habits.Despite promises to reform, some argue that a leopard cannot change its spots.
A lion’s shareThe largest or most significant portion of something.After the successful deal, he claimed the lion’s share of the profits.
A rabbit out of a hatSomething that appears suddenly or unexpectedly.The solution to the problem seemed elusive until he pulled a rabbit out of a hat with a creative idea.
A chicken and egg situationDifficult to determine the cause and effect.Deciding who was at fault in the argument turned into a chicken and egg situation, with blame shifting in all directions.

Animals are like nature’s little mysteries, each one unique and fascinating. You can explore more comparisons like this in a list of similes for animals here: Similes for Animals. And when it comes to expressions about animals, there are plenty of idioms that add a touch of flair to descriptions, which you can discover in this collection: Idioms for Animals.

Metaphors for Animals

1. A snake oil salesman

Meaning: Someone who sells something that is ineffective or fraudulent.

In a Sentence: He may seem like a trustworthy advisor, but beware, he’s nothing more than a snake oil salesman peddling empty promises.

2. A wild goose chase

Meaning: A futile or fruitless pursuit.

In a Sentence: Chasing after that elusive opportunity turned out to be a wild goose chase, leading to disappointment.

3. A wolf in sheep’s clothing

Meaning: Someone who pretends to be something they are not, often for nefarious purposes.

In a Sentence: Be cautious; he might appear friendly, but he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing with hidden motives.

4. A sheep in wolf’s clothing

Meaning: Someone who is not what they seem, often hiding their true intentions or abilities.

In a Sentence: Don’t underestimate her; she might seem timid, but she’s a sheep in wolf’s clothing, ready to assert herself.

5. A cat got your tongue

Meaning: Said to someone who is unusually quiet or not speaking up.

In a Sentence: His surprising revelation left her silent, a true ‘cat got your tongue’ moment.

6. A bird in the hand

Meaning: Something that is certain or already possessed.

In a Sentence: Instead of chasing dreams, focus on the opportunities at hand—a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

7. A fish on a hook

Meaning: Someone who is easily taken in or deceived.

In a Sentence: Be cautious in negotiations; you don’t want to be the fish on a hook in that deal.

8. A tiger by the tail

Meaning: A situation that is difficult to control or manage.

In a Sentence: Taking on that project without proper planning is like grabbing a tiger by the tail—unpredictable and challenging.

9. A horse of a different color

Meaning: Something that is unrelated or unrelated to the current topic.

In a Sentence: Let’s stay focused on the main issue; discussing other matters is a horse of a different color.

10. A deer in the headlights

Meaning: Someone who is frozen with fear or indecision.

In a Sentence: Confronted with unexpected challenges, he stood there like a deer in the headlights, unsure of what to do.

11. A dolphin in a school of sharks

Meaning: Someone who is out of place or does not fit in.

In a Sentence: Being the only artist in a room full of corporate professionals can feel like being a dolphin in a school of sharks.

12. A rat race

Meaning: A competition or struggle for success, often characterized by a lack of ethics or morals.

In a Sentence: The corporate world can sometimes feel like a relentless rat race, with everyone chasing success at any cost.

13. A bird’s-eye view

Meaning: A perspective from above or a broad overview of a situation.

In a Sentence: Before making decisions, it’s crucial to take a bird’s-eye view and consider the broader implications.

14. A fox guarding the henhouse

Meaning: Someone who is entrusted with a task but is not well-suited or qualified for it.

In a Sentence: Having him manage the project is like having a fox guarding the henhouse— a recipe for disaster.

15. A leopard cannot change its spots

Meaning: Someone who cannot change their fundamental nature or habits.

In a Sentence: Despite promises to reform, some argue that a leopard cannot change its spots.

16. A lion’s share

Meaning: The largest or most significant portion of something.

In a Sentence: After the successful deal, he claimed the lion’s share of the profits.

17. A rabbit out of a hat

Meaning: Something that appears suddenly or unexpectedly.

In a Sentence: The solution to the problem seemed elusive until he pulled a rabbit out of a hat with a creative idea.

18. A chicken and egg situation

Meaning: A problem or situation where it is difficult to determine the cause and effect.

In a Sentence: Deciding who was at fault in the argument turned into a chicken and egg situation, with blame shifting in all directions.

10 quiz questions about animal metaphors:

  1. Question 1:
    • What does the metaphor “A snake oil salesman” imply?
      • A. A trustworthy advisor
      • B. Someone selling something ineffective or fraudulent
      • C. A skilled negotiator
      • D. A reliable businessperson
  2. Question 2:
    • In the metaphor “A wild goose chase,” what does the term “wild goose chase” represent?
      • A. A successful pursuit
      • B. A futile or fruitless pursuit
      • C. A well-planned adventure
      • D. A safe journey
  3. Question 3:
    • What does the metaphor “A cat got your tongue” suggest about someone?
      • A. They are talkative
      • B. They are unusually quiet or not speaking up
      • C. They are a good communicator
      • D. They are reserved but expressive
  4. Question 4:
    • If someone is described as “A tiger by the tail,” what kind of situation are they in?
      • A. A calm and controlled situation
      • B. A situation that is difficult to control or manage
      • C. A situation with minimal challenges
      • D. A situation with abundant resources
  5. Question 5:
    • What does the metaphor “A bird in the hand” refer to?
      • A. Something uncertain
      • B. Something already possessed or certain
      • C. An opportunity in the future
      • D. A difficult challenge
  6. Question 6:
    • If someone is a “fish on a hook,” what does that imply?
      • A. Someone skilled in fishing
      • B. Someone who is easily taken in or deceived
      • C. A person with excellent negotiation skills
      • D. A person with a strong will
  7. Question 7:
    • What does the metaphor “A fox guarding the henhouse” suggest about someone in a specific role?
      • A. They are well-suited for the task
      • B. They are a skilled guardian
      • C. They are entrusted with a task but not well-suited or qualified for it
      • D. They are a trustworthy leader
  8. Question 8:
    • What is the meaning of the metaphor “A rabbit out of a hat”?
      • A. Something that appears suddenly or unexpectedly
      • B. A planned event
      • C. A predictable outcome
      • D. A difficult challenge
  9. Question 9:
    • In the metaphor “A leopard cannot change its spots,” what does the leopard represent?
      • A. An adaptable person
      • B. Someone open to change
      • C. Someone who cannot change their fundamental nature or habits
      • D. A person with a dynamic personality
  10. Question 10:
  • If someone has the “lion’s share” of something, what do they possess?
    • A. The smallest portion
    • B. The most significant portion
    • C. An equal share
    • D. An unpredictable share

Conclusion

In the tapestry of language, metaphors for animals add a layer of richness, offering a unique lens through which we can view the world. From the sly fox to the majestic lion, each metaphor paints a vivid picture, allowing us to express complex emotions and situations in a more digestible and relatable way.

As we continue to navigate the vast jungle of language, these metaphors for animals serve as our trusted guides, making communication not only effective but also a delightful exploration of the human experience.

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