Birds | Online English Lessons

A night owl is someone who likes to stay awake until late at night, or who works at night.   Examples of use: 1. He’s always been a night owl: when he was a child he often read until past midnight. 2. There were a few night owls sitting in the café, but most people had gone home. 3. I’m a night owl: I do my best work at night.   Are you … [Read more…]

If a criticism or warning is water off a duck’s back (or like water off a duck’s back) it has very little effect or makes no impression at all. Examples of use: 1. You can’t hurt me with your insults: they’re water off a duck’s back. 2. I’ve warned him about getting into debt, but its like water off a duck’s back. 3. Carol is always getting cross … [Read more…]

As the crow flies is the shortest distance between two places: the distance an imaginary bird would fly if it flew in a straight line from one place to another. Examples of use: a) Q. How far is it to London?      A. Twenty miles, as the crow flies. b) It’s only about three miles to Padstow as the crow flies, but it’s ten miles by … [Read more…]

To foul one’s nest is to do or say something that disadvantages you and ruins or damages your own interests in some way. Birds are usually very careful to keep their nests clean and not to poop in them: this idiom compares a bird soiling its nest with the actions of a person, or people. The expression to foul one’s nest (or foul one’s own nest) comes from the … [Read more…]

To be as sick as a parrot is to be very disappointed, unhappy, or depressed about something. This expression is British informal English and it’s often used in a humorous way in sporting contexts: for example, to express disappointment at losing a football game. It’s not clear where this expression came from. Some people think it was first used by a sports commentator or … [Read more…]