Tag Archives: ESL


from Oxford Dictionaries

Cat Idioms

Curiosity killed the cat

As the conclusion on a coroner’s report, this might be less than convincing – curiosity would have had to wipe out all nine lives of a cat, for starters – but idiomatically, it is of more use. The expression is a warning that being too inquisitive is likely to get you into trouble. It should also be heeded by any cats wandering around Mars.

No room to swing a cat

When I’m organizing my living arrangements, my primary concerns run along the lines of “Are there enough cupboards in the kitchen?” or “Is there room for fourteen bookcases?” Swinging cats seems to be me a singularly profitless use of time, but (it turns out) this expression – which simply denotes a confined space – refers to cat in the sense of cat-o’-nine-tails – that is, a whip once commonly used by sailors.

Has the cat got your tongue?

This idiomatic question – posed to someone remaining silent when they should be speaking – is one of those which, if you think about it, is rather more unpleasant than you might imagine. Also in this category: ‘touched a raw nerve’ and ‘keep your eyes peeled’. Sorry for making you wince.

Like a cat on a hot tin roof

A wonderfully evocative image, this simile is used to express agitation or anxiety. In British-English, a variant is like a cat on hot bricks. It also, of course, gave rise to the Pulitzer-prizewinning Tennessee Williams play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955).

[Put the] cat among the pigeons

As well as being the title of an Agatha Christie novel, this British-English idiom is used to describe saying or doing something controversial – indeed, something (to continue the ornithological trope) that is likely to ruffle feathers. Having spent time in pigeon-filled parks, I don’t fancy the chances of the average moggy against a flock of pigeons. Most of the felines of my acquaintance would far rather have a gentle nap than rage against the flying of the birds.


I’m more nervous than a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs (my favorite).

STEM EVENT a Success!

Attending a STEM lecture with my students on “Instructional Applications of Free-Energy Physics”

Learn It Town students enjoy "Instructional Applications of Free-Energy Physics and Script-less Animations" with Facilitator: Tooyaa
Learn It Town students enjoy “Instructional Applications of Free-Energy Physics and Script-less Animations” with Facilitator: Tooyaa

We had 10 of our Learn It Town students attend from around the world, chemist, engineers, teachers, retirees, doctors, businessmen etc. Physics is amazing when taught in a virtual world. The professor was brilliant! My head did not explode. But our students are now wanting to make a Rube Goldberg device group project!