Happy New Year! 2018 is the Year of the Dog
In honor of the year of the dog let’s
learn 4 English idioms with “dog!”
(These are posts that I collected from my 2013 dog idiom series!)
Let sleeping dogs lie
This expression is used to advise against actions that might cause problems. If things are fine right now, we shouldn’t change them if we think there is a danger that things may become worse.
*The idea is that if a dog is sleeping and we wake him up, he may become angry. It’s better to let him sleep.
Jill: “Should I ask the boss if he’s upset at my coming in late in the mornings?”
Jane: “If he hasn’t said anything about it, just let sleeping dogs lie.” = If the boss didn’t say anything you shouldn’t mention it, there is no need to mention it.
|“Sometimes it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie.”|
This idiom comes from a time when dogs weren’t often pets, but usually had to work very hard to earn their food. This expression means to work very very hard!
“My team at the office had to work like a dog this month to prepare for our year end final report. We are all so tired!”
|“It’s been a hard month, we worked like dogs!”|
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks
This idiom means it is difficult to make someone change the way they do something. Especially when they have been doing it the same way for a long time. It is much more difficult to teach an old dog than a puppy.
“You want to teach your grandfather to use a computer? He is 84! You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, you know.
|“You want to teach him how to use a computer? Good luck!”|
Barking up the wrong tree
This expression is when someone has the wrong idea and they are wasting their time. Dogs often like to chase cats or other animals that will run up a tree. If the animal escapes the tree but the dog doesn’t realize it, he keeps barking even though the tree is empty. We say he is barking up the wrong tree. His idea is not correct, he is wasting his time.
“He had nothing to do with the robbery – the police are really barking up the wrong tree this time.”
“I think the police are wasting their time with him.”
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