Spring 1: butterfly, frog, nest, rabbit


Idiom Explanation Example
a social butterfly an ostentatious, carefree person who goes out often and has a lot of friends My friend Lisa is such a social butterfly. I don’t think she ever stays home in the evenings – she’s alway out doing things and meeting people.
have/get butterflies in your stomach a nervous feeling in the stomach I hate public speaking, I always get butterflies in my stomach beforehand.


Idiom Explanation Example
nest egg money saved for the future We’re not worried about the global financial crisis. We’ve got a nice nest egg saved up for retirement.
empty nest syndrome a feeling of loneliness or sadness which parents experience when their children leave home (not clinical) After I moved out of home, my mum called me every day. I think she was suffering from empty nest syndrome.
feather your nest make yourself rich, usually in an unfair or dishonest way She’s been feathering her own nest by blackmailing the CEO.
fly the nest when children leave home to live somewhere else for the first time Michael and Elizabeth’s children have all flown the nest.
stir up a hornet’s nest cause a lot of trouble You’ll be sure to stir up a hornet’s nest if you tell her that!


Idiom Explanation Example
have a frog in your throat have a sore throat or need to cough and, therefore, not be able to speak Can I have a glass of water? I seem to have a frog in my throat today.
pull a rabbit out of the hat suddenly come up with the solution to a problem Unless we pull a rabbit out of the hat in the next few days, we’re going to have to close the cafe.
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Exercises C1

Choose the correct word to complete the sentences.

  1. I’m so nervous. I’ve got in my stomach.
  2. Anthony, you’re turning 30 this year. I think it’s time for you to find your own apartment. It’s time to fly the .
  3. Ahem, excuse me, ahem, ahem. Sorry about that, I’ve got in my throat this morning.
  4. The accountant has been feathering his own with our money. What a scumbag!

Choose the correct idiom for each sentence.

  1. By the time she turned 20 Maria had already saved a lot of money for her trip abroad.
  2. Jill has so many friends, I don’t know how she keeps track of them all.
  3. The company is in a lot of financial trouble. They need to find a solution, quickly.
  4. Peter and Sue seem a bit depressed lately. I think their youngest child just moved to Brighton.
  5. I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Not unless you want to get us into a lot of trouble!

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