Farm Idioms

We don’t often think about it, but the English language is steeped in sayings and clichés that have agricultural origins. It makes sense seeing as our nation was founded by farmers. Just a brief tangent on that note: it seems to me that America was a lot better off when it was run by farmers rather than lawyers.

Anyways, here are some common phrases that evolved from agriculture:

  • To milk someone for all they are worth
  • Sweating like a pig
  • Reap what you sow
  • A bull in a china shop
  • Bet the farm
  • Don’t count your chickens before they hatch
  • Beating a dead horse
  • Take the bull by the horns
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
  • Spring chicken
  • To fleece someone
  • Fox in a henhouse
  • Cream of the crop
  • Pecking order
  • Until the cows come home
  • You can lead a horse to water
  • Cock-and-bull story
  • Have a cow
  • Pears before swine
  • Lamb to the slaughter
  • Silk purse out of a sow’s ear
  • Put out to pasture
  • Knee high by the 4th of July

What did I forget?


7 thoughts on “Farm Idioms

  1. Good list… I’ve never heard of “silk purse out of a sow’s ear,” but I like it. 🙂 How about “never look a gift horse in the mouth?”

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