IELTS: Animal Magic – Expressions N – Z

12th August 2021

In the morning, my students are like bears with sore heads
Man’s best friend
Newts of the Yuba | South Yuba River Citizens League
I’m a newt, and I’ll have you know I’m totally sober

NEWT: As pissed as a newt – Informal British English meaning to be drunk.

SIDEBAR: This is is very unusual saying, but around 200 years ago, young teenage sailors were known as ‘newts’. It didn’t take much alcohol for these boys to become very drunk, hence the expression.

OWL: To be a night owl – someone who stays up late, maybe all night.

PANDA: To have panda eyes – night owls and insomniacs often have black rings around their eyes, like a panda. I first heard this in Malaysia.

QUAIL: To quail at something – to be afraid or nervous about something.

RED HERRING: A false clue in a mystery or detective story

NOW LET’S TAKE THESE EXPRESSIONS OUT FOR A SPIN

  1. When did you last sleep ? You ____________________________________
  2. The police followed a clue but it was just a _____________________
  3. My neighbour is a real _____________________ playing music all night.
  4. I have toothache but I __________ at going to the dentist.
  5. Did you hear him sing karaoke ? He was ___________________________ !

Are you ready for some more ?

SWAN: Swan song – a final appearance.

TIGER: A tiger mum – a mother who pushes her children to study and study and study.

UNICORN: Life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns – sometimes life is hard and we have to deal with problems (tell me about it).

VULTURE: The vultures are circling – vultures wait for animals to die, then they swoop down and eat the dead body, so this expression means something very bad is about to happen.

WHALE: Having a whale of a time – having a wonderful time, really enjoying yourself.

X: Give me a break ! However, check out this little beauty:

This is an X ray tetra, a non-aggressive fish found in the Amazon

YAK: To yak or yakking – to talk non-stop, usually about nothing important.

Yakety Yak - song by The Coasters | Spotify
YAKITY YAK" LYRICS by THE COASTERS: Take out those papers...

ZEBRA: Zebra crossing – black and white marking on the road. In the UK, cars usually stop to allow people to walk safely. In Viet Nam … hhmmmm not so much (i.e. never).

The most famous zebra crossing in the world. From The Beatles ‘Abbey Road’ LP

Speaking of The Beatles, allow me to quote from ‘A Hard Day’s Night’

  1. The party was amazing, we all had _________________________
  2. The show was her last ever, it was her ________________________
  3. Will you stop _______ ! I can’t think !
  4. Walk to the ________________________ because this road is dangerous.
  5. She has a _____________________ who makes her study English every day.
  6. The business is losing too much money. The _________________________
  7. I have to pay my rent, my student loan, my electric bill. This is no fun ________________________________________________________
Bye bye from The Monkees

4 thoughts on “IELTS: Animal Magic – Expressions N – Z

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