Animal idioms

Animal idioms illustrated and translated to Catalan

Ants in one’s pants

(to) be restless, uneasy. Catalan: un sac de nervis (literally, a bag of nerves).

Red herring

A misleading clue or piece of information. Catalan: pista falsa (literally, false clue).

(the) birds and the bees

Sex education. Catalan: la cigonya (literally, the stork)

White elephant

An unwated or annoying possession. Catalan: Regal enverinat (literally, poisoned gift)

… And while we’re at it, some jokes about elephants:

What did the elephant say to a naked man?
Hey that’s cute but can you breath through it?
What’s grey, stands in a river when it rains and doesn’t get wet?
An elephant with an umbrella!
Why does an elephant wear sneakers?
So that he can sneak up on mice!

Cat nap

A short sleep. Catalan: fer una becaina (literally, to take a nap)

As happy as a clam

Very happy. Catalan: content com un gínjol (literally, happy as a jujube).


Odd, strange, suspicious. Catalan: (hi ha) gat amagat (literally, there’s a hidden cat here).

While we’re at it, a fish joke:

What did the fish say when he posted bail? “I’m off the hook!”

One trick pony

Someone who has only one ability or good quality . Catalan: there is no equivalent, the literal translation is Poni d’un sol truc.

A different kettle of fish

A completely different thing, topic or subject (very similar to a horse of a different colour). Catalan: figues d’un altre paner (literally, figs from another pannier or basket)

A horse of a different color

A completely different thing, topic or subject (very similar to a different kettle of fish). Catalan: figues d’un altre paner (literally, figs from another pannier or basket).

A guinea pig

Someone used as part of an experiment or trial. Catalan: conillet d’indies)

While we are are it, here is a joke about guinea pigs…

Q: When do guinea pigs run away from rain? A: When its raining cats and dogs!

Weasel out

(to) abandon their responsibility or commitment in a way that is sneaky or cowardly. Catalan: escaquejar-se (colloquial, literally, to cop out).

While we are at it, here is a joke about weasels:

A 13 year old weasel walks into a bar and approaches the counter. The bartender immediately notices the underage weasel.
“Sir, you look extremely young. I can’t serve you even a single beer.”
“Oh c’mon. You can’t just slide me one?”
“Can’t and will not serve to anyone under age.”
“Fine. Well what other things do you have?”
“Well for non-alcoholics I have tap water and bottled water, I have coffee, and I have pop. Which would you like?”
“Pop.” Goes the weasel.

Wouldn’t hurt a fly

A very peaceful and non-violent person. Catalan: No li faria mal a una mosca (literally, wouldn’t hurt a fly).

While we’re at it, here is two jokes about flies:

What is the difference between a fly and a bird? A bird can fly but a fly can’t bird!

What do you call a fly that is ill? Answer: The flew

Mad as a hornet

Extremely angry or upset. Catalan: empipat com una mona (angry as a monkey).

I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!

Also Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle! Used to express complete surprise, amazement or disbelief . Catalan: N’hi ha per a llogar-hi cadires (literally, there is to rent chairs!) or Me’n faig creus (literally, I make myself crosses).

A cock-and-bull story

An exaggerated or falsified story or explanation. Catalan: un sopar de duro (literally, a one coin dinner).

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