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Archive Language Point 109

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Animal vocabulary

Khalid and Kitty at the vets

Animal parts

a paw:
1. an animal's foot
The dog cut its paw on a piece of wire on the ground.
2. a person's hand (informal and humorous)
Go and wash your mucky paws before we have dinner.

a mane:
1. the long thick hair along the top of a horse's neck or around the face and neck of a lion
She brushes her horse's mane and tail until they gleam.
2. a person's thick long hair
He's got beautiful flowing mane of black hair.

1. the long, stiff hairs growing on an animal's face
The cat cleaned the milk off his whiskers.
2. a moustache or the hair growing on a man's face (plural noun, old-fashioned and humorous)
I hate it when his whiskers tickle me when he hugs me.

Animal sounds, movements and actions

1. the sound a hen or chicken makes
2. express too much sympathy, anxiety or approval towards someone
She's very overprotective. She clucks over her son the minute he starts crying.

1. the sound a cat makes when it's contented
2. show your pleasure when speaking (in a sexy way)
'So open up your present and see what I got you' Marilyn Monroe purred.

1. the sound a dog makes
2. shout at someone forcefully
'Attention! Right, left! Right, left!' The army sergeant barked.

1. a small but painful injury, usually with a poison, that an insect makes by biting you
2. say something hurtful which upsets someone
When she criticised his work, it really stung him.

1. the way a bird cleans its feathers using its beak
2. feel very proud or satisfied with yourself because of something you've done or a quality you have
She's very vain and spends hours preening herself in front of the mirror before she goes out.

Animal idioms

to be the cat's whiskers:
to be better than everyone else
He's thinks he's the cat's whiskers since he got promoted.

to keep the wolf from the door
to have just enough money to live on
It's a low-paid job but she had to take it to keep the wolf from the door.

to talk the hind legs off a donkey
to talk a lot for a long time
He never stops! He could talk the hind legs off a donkey!

to come home to roost
to return and make trouble for you
She didn't do any studying this term, just had a good time and went to loads of parties. Now the exams are here and it's all coming home to roost for her.


walking unevenly because of injury or pain in the leg

becoming larger and rounder than usual

medicine that can destroy harmful bacteria

twice a day
two times every day


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