Speaking of Labels…Fun with Change in Idioms

Let’s Change Our Idioms as a Way of Respecting All Living Beings…

Just say:

Spill the beans. (Peta/TeachKind)
NOT let the cat out of the bag.

Take a flower by the thorns. (Peta/TeachKind)
NOT take bull by the horns.

Be the test subject. (Terre)
Be the test tube. (Peta/TeachKind)
NOT be the guinea pig.

Cool your jets.
Hold the phone. (Peta/TeachKind)
NOT hold your horses.

Open Pandora’s box. (Peta/TeachKind)
NOT open a can of worms.

Bring home the bagels. (Peta/TeachKind)
NOT bring home the bacon.

Put all your berries in one bowl (Peta/TeachKind)
NOT put all your eggs in one basket.

Cry over burnt toast. (Peta/TeachKind)
NOT cry over spilled milk.

Packed in like pickles. (Peta/TeachKind)
NOT packed in like sardines.

Wild gooseberry chase. (Peta)
Chasing rainbows. (Peta/TeachKind)
NOT wild goose chase.

Itches in your britches. (Peta)
Pepper in your pants. (Peta/TeachKind)
NOT ants in your pants.

Walking on thin ice.
Walking on broken glass. (Peta/TeachKind)
NOT walking on eggshells.

An ace in the hand is worth two in the deck. (Peta)
NOT a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Act like a monster. (Terre)
Act like an ogre. (Peta)
NOT act like an animal.

A flower in your cap. (Peta)
NOT a feather in your cap.

NOT ape. NOT parrot.

NOT badger.

Mud on your face. (Terre)
NOT egg on your face.

More than one way to peel an onion. (Terre)
More than one way to peel a potato. (Peta/TeachKind)
NOT more than one way to skin a cat.

Back the wrong team. (Peta)
NOT back the wrong horse.

Go down the wrong path. (Terre)
Chase down the wrong lead. (Peta)
NOT bark up the wrong tree.

Noodles in your noggin. (Peta)
NOT bats in your belfry.

NOT be catty.

Thorn in your thumb. (Terre)
Thorn in your side. (Peta)
NOT bee in your bonnet.

Be on his bad side. (Peta)
NOT be in the doghouse.

Bigger fish to free. (Peta)
NOT bigger fish to fry.

Pea brain.
NOT birdbrain.

Blind as a potato’s eyes. (Peta)
NOT blind as a bat.

Build a better house. (Terre)
Build a better mouse pad. (Peta)
NOT build a better mouse trap.

Tornado in a glass factory. (Peta)
NOT bull in a china shop.

Can’t teach an old clown new tricks. (Peta)
NOT teach an old dog new tricks.

NOT cash cow.

Lose your nerve.
NOT chicken out.

Curiosity kills the surprise. (Terre)
Mind your own business. (Peta)
NOT curiosity killed the cat.

Dirty diaper. (Terre)
Filthy fiend. (Peta)
NOT dirty dog.

Dirty rascal. (Peta)
NOT dirty rat.

Halftime show. (Peta)
NOT dog and pony show.

Cut-throat world. (Peta)
NOT dog-eat-dog world.

NOT dogfight.

Don’t count your chips before they’re cashed. (Peta)
NOT count your chickens before they hatch.

Eat your words.
NOT eat crow.

Stuff your face.
Inhale your food.
Gluttonize. (Peta)
NOT eat like a pig.

Every dog has to play. (Peta)
NOT dog has his day.

Cook or get out of the kitchen. (Peta)
NOT fish or cut bait.

Sand in the gears.
NOT fly in the ointment.

Vampire guarding the blood bank. (Peta)
NOT fox guarding the hen house.

Lie in the mud. (Terre)
Come down off your pedestal. (Peta)
NOT go to the dogs.

Have a stake in this game.
NOT have a dog in this fight.

He’s a match. (Peta)
NOT he’s a catch.

NOT hog.

NOT hooked.

Messing around.
NOT horsing (or monkeying) around.

NOT hounded.

Like your hair is on fire. (Peta)
NOT like a chicken with its head cut off.

Guilty as sin.
NOT cat who swallowed the canary.

Mad as a hatter.
Mad as a red hatter. (Terre)
NOT madder than a wet hen.

Make a diamond from a lump of coal. (Peta)
NOT make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Juice it for all it’s worth. (Peta)
NOT milk it for all it’s worth.

Not my problem.
NOT my circus, not my monkeys.

Not my first roadshow. (Peta)
NOT not my first rodeo.

In the clear.
NOT off the hook.

Stuff your face.
NOT pig out.

NOT pigheaded.

Focused as a laser. (Terre)
Stubborn as a fool. (Peta)
NOT stubborn as a mule.

Pay up.
NOT pony up.

Pull a penny out of an ear. (Peta)
NOT pull a rabbit out of a hat.

Pull the polyester over your eyes. (Peta)
NOT pull the wool over your eyes.

Tread lightly.
NOT pussyfoot.

Gild the lily.
NOT put lipstick on a pig.

Put the caboose before the engine. (Peta)
NOT put the cart before the horse.

Quit cold tofu. (Peta)
NOT quit cold turkey.

NOT rat out.

Mess up your hair. (Peta)
NOT ruffle your feathers.

Steal candy from a baby.
NOT shoot fish in a barrel.

Easy target.
NOT sitting duck.

Smell a rotten apple. (Peta)
NOT smell a rat.

Molasses mail. (Peta)
NOT snail mail.

That boat won’t float. (Peta)
NOT that dog won’t hunt.

That doesn’t get my vote. (Terre)
That really gets my goatee. (Peta)
NOT that really gets my goat.

The strawberry that broke the farmer’s basket. (Peta)
NOT the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The world is your open door. (Terre)
The world is your oyster mushroom. (Peta)
NOT the world is your oyster.

Con man/woman.
NOT weasel.

Biting at the bitcoin. (Terre)
Couldn’t contain ourselves. (Peta)
NOT chomping at the bit.

Flim-flam man/woman. (Peta)
NOT wolf in sheep’s clothing.

You’re dead in the water. (Peta)
NOT your goose is cooked.

Raining republicans. (Terre)
Raining swords and needles. (Terre)
NOT raining cats and dogs.

Clothespin got your tongue? (Terre)
NOT cat got your tongue?

Zip it.
Shut it.
NOT clam up.

Mister mime. Miss mimic. (Terre)
NOT copy cat.

Hotter than a pepper sprout.
NOT dog days.

Dropping like autumn leaves.
NOT dropping like flies.

Busy little hands. (Terre)
NOT eager beaver.

NOT fishy.

Don’t have a wow. (Terre)
Don’t have a pumpkin. (Terre)
NOT don’t have a cow.

Having knitted mittens. (Terre)
NOT having kittens.

Take more than your share.
NOT get the lion’s share.

In trouble.
In the jail house.
NOT in the dog house.

Copy clone. (Terre)
NOT monkey see, monkey do.

Get out of the rotten race. (Terre)
… the rough race. (Terre)
… the irrational race. (Terre)
… the sap race. (Terre)
NOT get out of the rat race.

Straight from the source.
NOT straight from the horse’s mouth.

Wait and wait some more. (Terre)
NOT till the cows come home.

Talk Tofurky. (Peta)
True blue truth talk. (Terre)
NOT talk turkey.

Beat a strong rhythm. (Terre)
Beat a big rock. (Terre)
Feed a fed horse. (Peta/TeachKind)
NOT beat a dead horse.

Pet two dogs with one hand. (Terre)
Feed two birds with one scone. (Peta/TeachKind)
NOT kill two birds with one stone.
(Not good advice actually, as breads cause deformity in birds called ‘angel wing’.)


Some of them come from Terre who also compiled all of these – THANK YOU TERRE!
Most of these come from (Peta).
Common idioms are not attributed.
Those labeled (Peta/TeachKind) were created by Peta but made into posters by TeachKind, which you can download here (including the newest posters): https://www.peta.org/teachkind/lesson-plans-activities/animal-friendly-idioms/
Another source for animal-friendly idioms (Peta): https://www.peta.org/features/animal-friendly-idioms/

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