Expressions involving animals inside/on human body

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by rusita preciosa, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    Are there expressions in your language involving animals / plants inside or on human body?

    to have butterflies in one's stomach (to be nervous, excited)
    monkey off my back ( to stop a bad habit)

    to have cats scratching on one's soul (to be sad, upset)
    to have cockroaches in one's head ( to be crazy, unstable)

    /when someone is staring/ Do I have monkeys on my face? (Although may be that doesn't fit because monos in that case would be cartoons not monkeys...)
  2. learnerr Senior Member

    To me, the first primarily means, to be upset with worries about something; to worry a lot or somewhat, the second means, to have strange ideas, "strange" being ""hard to explain", i.e. for the observer explain to himself or herself; "hard to understand".

    Just for reference in Russian: "в душе кошки скребут", "у него тараканы в голове". Both to me are primarily situational, not general, but I imagine how the second may have the general meaning on occasion.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
  3. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    In Hungarian I can remember:

    bogarat ültet valaki fejébe [to put a insect/beetle into somebody's head] i.e. plant an idea in sombody's mind
    lenyeli a békát [ to swallow the frog] i.e. to bite the bullet
  4. lingpil

    lingpil Senior Member

    German & Russian
    The both Hungarian examples do also exist in German with slight differences:

    jemandem einen Floh ins Ohr setzen - to plant a flea into someone's ear
    Kröten schlucken müssen - to have to swallow toads

    The meanings are the same as in Hungarian.

    Another nice saying in German is: Hummeln im Hintern haben - to have bumblebees in... well, in your rear. The meaning is "to be extraordinarily agitaded." I know that a similar expression exists in English with "to have ants in one's pants", but the German version is still more personal. :D
  5. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    I have a frog in my throat "I sound hoarse when I speak"

    According to one dictionary, the word frog by itself can mean "hoarseness" -- in which case frog in one's throat is technically not an idiom -- but I've never heard frog used this way in any other context.
  6. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Wow, we have a Romanian saying that has been recently become a title within the lyrics of a very nice and funny song: "Cai verzi pe pereți" (= green horses on the walls), meaning 'talking about imaginary things or fantasizing'.
    We have plenty of sayings with: dogs, horses, sparrows, elephants, bees and her step-sisters I don't know the name in English, foxes, a.s.o. .
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2014
  7. ancalimon Senior Member


    Üstümde at tepinmiş gibiyim : I'm as if a horse stomped on me. (I'm very tired)
    Kalbimde kelebekler uçuşuyor: Butterflies are flying inside my stomach. (I'm in love)
  8. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    There are, of course, created according to the German (Austrian) pattern.
    jemandem einen Floh ins Ohr setzen = bolhát tesz valaki fülébe = to give someone ideas
  9. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Fleas have entered my ears : «Μου μπήκαν ψύλλοι στ'αφτιά» [mu 'bikan 'psili staf'tça] --> an idea has been planted in my mind, I'm obsessed with an idea/thought
    Not a flea in your bosom : «Ούτε ψύλλος στον κόρφο σου» ['ute 'psilos ston 'gorfo su] --> to be scared to be put in one's shoes

    We have that too, one then talks about «πράσιν' άλογα» ['prasin 'aloɣa] --> green horses
  10. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    This is a great question. I can see some in Dutch, but not that many:
    - "een kikker in mijn keel", a frog in my throat
    - "vlinders in mijn buik", butterflies in my tummy/ belly
    - "muizenissen", 'mousaries' or something the like, refers to the worries one has, things that keep gnawing (nagging ???)...

    Just by the way: while checking on the precise meaning of nagging, I bumped into these synonyms, some of which refer to animals:
  11. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    In Chinese Mandarin:
    肚子里的蛔虫 the roundworm in someone's belly (sounds gross but it is the way to be said...) - know too well about someone's thought.
    Currently I can't think of anyone else.
    Although there are a lot of idioms concerning animals, plants, human bodies and other stuffs,
    (such as: "grass growing in someone's heart", "ants in the pan", "meat on the cutting board", "thorn at someone's back", "sitting on pins and needles"...)
    I still can't think of more case for "animal on/in human's body"! It seems our ancestors were not imaginative enough after all.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
  12. DreamerX Junior Member

    In English, there is also, “to have ants in your pants,” which is said whenever a person is extremely excited with eagerness. The meaning is different from that of “to have butterflies in your stomach,” which usually implies anxiety and uncertainty on the part of the person experiencing said butterflies. If one has ants in his/her pants, it is the exact opposite; the person is eagerly anticipating something, such as a fun activity. If it is something like a competition or a test, people are usually overconfident about it if they have “ants in their pants.”
  13. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I'd love to add "to have a bee in one's bonnet", a successor to "a head full of bees", so I read...
  14. Maroseika Moderator

    One more Russian:

    Меня гложет червь сомнения (раскаяния, зависти) - A worm of doubt (remorse, envy) is gnawing at me (my heart).
  15. swintok Senior Member

    English - Canada
    In Ukrainian goosebumps (gooseflesh) are called мурашки (ants). Мурашки побігли по шкірі (Ants are running on my skin) means that I have goosebumps from being cold or afraid or excited.
  16. Maroseika Moderator

    Same in Russian. How could I forget!

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