Monday, 31 January 2011

Idioms Part 13 (Animals Turkey - Worms) Interactive Game

In a Pickle: And Other Funny Idioms   Scholastic Dictionary Of Idioms (Revised)   Webster's New World American Idioms Handbook

Chiew's CLIL EFL ESL ELL TEFL Free Online Games Activities: Animal Idioms

Click on the image to begin the game. Match the meanings of the idioms to the dots on their left, and match the vocabulary to the images.

Note that for your scores to be recorded, you would need to register (it's free, no strings attached, no spam) at Purpose Games, where the game is hosted.

These are the idioms tested in this game:

talk turkey

We say we're talking turkey when we're discussing something seriously.

on a wing and a prayer

To do something on a wing and a prayer is to do something with only the slightest hope of succeeding, often in a desperate situation. This expression actually came from a WWII patriotic song which went something like this:

Comin’ in on a wing and a prayer
What a show, what a fight, boys
We really hit our target for tonight
How we sing as we limp through the air
Look below, there’s our field over there
Though there’s one motor gone
We can still carry on
Comin’ in on a wing and a prayer.

This expression is often used wrongly with wing being substituted by whim or wink: on a whim and a prayer.

in the wings

The wings in a theatre are the left and right side of the stage where, unseen by the audience, performers wait for their turn to get on stage. So, when someone's in the wings, it means that they are ready to be called upon to do something when needed.

While we're on the subject of wings, you may also have heard the expression "wing it". This means to do something without proper preparation:

During my speech at the conference yesterday, the computer suddenly broke down, so I had to wing it without my PowerPoint presentation.

keep the wolf from the door

If you keep the wolf from the door, you manage to ward off poverty or hunger.

throw to the wolves

When you throw someone to the wolves, you send them to a terrible fate. You put them in a situation where you don't protect them, and where they are attacked or criticized.

You can also be thrown/tossed/fed to the lions, or to the dogs.

the worm turns

This comes from an old proverb, 'Tread on a worm and it will turn'. This means that someone who has been treated badly for a long time decides that he will no longer accept the provocation and starts defending himself.

It is often used as 'even the worm will turn'.

a can of worms

This is often used with 'open' as in, 'Oops, you've just opened a can of worms!'

Cans of worms used to be sold as fishing bait (I'm not sure if they still are). Imagine opening one. Yuck! All those wriggly things creeping out, and it's just impossible to close the lid on them again!
Well, it's like that. When you open a can of worms, you release a host of problems or complications, often quite controversial.

Be sure to check out the rest in this series:

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