You’ll learn 20 idioms related to chickens so that you can be the king of the roost and the cock of the walk when it comes to speaking English.
Voice message from Montse from Barcelona
“I’ve never dared to send an audio message”
I listened to a short X
To be a chicken / to chicken out of something – to decide not to do something because you are too frightened
“I wanted to do a bungee jump, but in the end I chickened out.”
To play chicken – to play dangerous games in order to discover who is the bravest
“I used to play chicken by riding my bike the wrong way down a one-way street.”
A chick – 1. a baby chicken.
2. Colloquial (and perhaps sexist) expression meaning “young woman”.
“When I was a young single man I liked to go to certain bars where the hot chicks used to hang out to try to chat them up.”
The pecking order – an informal social system in which some people or groups know they are more or less important than others.
Birds peck with their beaks.
To be henpecked – bullied, or3 intimidated by one’s wife or girlfriend (to be under the thumb)
To run around like a headless chicken – to be in a state of panic or confusion
To have egg on your face – to look embarrassed because of something you did or should have done but didn’t
“After categorically promising job creation, now that there’s been a huge increase in unemployment, the Prime Minister has egg on his face.”
Chicken feed – a small and not important amount of money
“The concert tickets only cost me 25 euros. That’s chicken feed!”
To egg someone on – to encourage someone to do something that is (probably) foolish
“His drunk friends egged Peter on to pull down his own trousers and moon at passers-by. It seemed funny at the time, but not now.”
Chicken and egg – a problem or situation in which it is unclear which of two things caused the other
“In the business world, it is often said that a company needs a strong customer base in order to be successful, but at the same time, a company needs to be successful in order to attract customers. This is a chicken and egg situation because it is not clear which comes first, the strong customer base or the success of the company.
“Is a person’s personality shaped by their experiences and environment, or does their personality, their genes, shape their experiences?
The idiom a chicken and egg situation goes back to an old exercise in logic proposed by Aristotle in the fourth century BC still discussed today: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Don’t count your chickens before they hatch – Don’t be too confident or make plans based on something that may not happen.
“Why did you buy a new car? You only started the business last year. You shouldn’t count your chickens before they hatch.”
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – Don’t depend on a single person or plan of action for your success.
“Don’t invest all of your money in one place. Diversify your investments.”
Cocky – overly confident or arrogant. It is often used to describe people who are full of themselves and think they are better than others.
Cock of the walk – an arrogant person.
“Ever since he got that new promotion he has been the cock of the walk ordering people around.”
to be king of the roost / to rule the roost – to have the most control or authority in a group.
Cock and bull story – a ridiculous story that is not thought to be true. (combining two very different animals, a rooster and a bull)
“She told me that she was on vacation, but now she tells you that she was sick. I didn’t believe her cock and bull story for one second.”
A hen night – a celebration held for a woman who is about to get married, attended only by women.
“My fiancee’s going out on her hen night the night before the wedding.”
You can’t make an omelette if you don’t break a few eggs. – To have to go through something not nice for a good result.
To be no spring chicken – Someone who is no longer young.
“Reza looks good for his age, but he’s no spring chicken!”
…and now it’s your turn to practise your English. If you want to improve your speaking, you have to speak. You can’t make an omlette if you don’t break a few eggs. So, send us a voice message and practise it a few times before you send it.
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In next week’s episode: Ancient Civilizations
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