as thick as green parrots in the bush


Senior Member
In Arthur Conan Doyle's short story "My friend the murderer" the main characters is thrown overboard, which he describes as follows:

[...] his men threw me into the water. You may well look surprised—neck and crop into ten feet of water, with sharks as thick as green parrots in the bush [...]

Is "as thick as green parrots" an idiom or does it mean that the water was teeming with sharks because there are usually lots of green parrots in the Australian bush?
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    Hi, Herman.

    I've found no source so far that claims that "thick as green parrots in the bush" is an idiom. Perhaps it was an idiom in Doyle's time, but one that no longer exists. I suspect Doyle used it because he thought it was something that an Australian or a sailor might plausibly say. If green parrots were "thick in the bush" in Doyle's day, they probably aren't doing so well in our own time.

    Even if the metaphor is a product of Doyle's imagination, he intended it to mean that the water was teeming with sharks.
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    Senior Member
    British English
    Thick with green parrots - Port Lincolns - here in Western Australia! Eating our immature apples, decimating our shrubs; but we love them.


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