“Animals” Phrasal Verbs in English (With Meanings & Examples)

A number of phrasal verbs are formed by adding particles to the names of animals or verbs associated with animals ...

  • fish for

To ask for or try to get something in an indirect way

Eg: It’s sickening the way he’s always fishing for compliments.

  • pig out

To eat a lot of food at once

Eg: I found Sam in front of the TV, pigging out on pizza and fries.ư

  • wolf down

To eat very quickly

Eg: Jim changed quickly, took out some clothes for the next morning, then wolfed down his dinner.

  • fish out

To pull something out of liquid/ container

Eg: She fished a piece of paper out of the pile on her desk.

  • leech off

To use someone, or cling to s.o for personal gain, often not giving anything in return

Eg: David always leeches off Harry's hard work and pretends the ideas are his own.

  • monkey around

To behave in a stupid or careless way

Eg: Stop monkeying around and listen to me!

  • horse around

To play roughly

Eg: Stop horsing around – you’ll break something!

  • duck out

To leave quickly and unannounced

Eg: I'll duck out to get something to eat and be right back.

  • beaver away

To work very hard, especially at writing or calculating something

Eg: He’s been beavering away at his homework for hours.

  • ferret out

To succeed in finding something such as a piece of information, that is difficult to find

Eg: Uncle Vernon ferreted out the laundry box from under the stairs.

  • clam up

To suddenly stop talking, especially when you are nervous or shy

Eg: The police took her in for questioning, but she clammed up when they asked about her


  • hound out

To make things so unpleasant for someone that they are forced to leave a place, job, ...

Eg: The family were hounded out of their home by 18 months of abuse.

  • rabbit on

To talk for a long time in an uninteresting or annoying way

Eg: He kept rabbiting on about the environment.

  • squirrel away

To keep something in a safe place to use later

Eg: By December I had $300 squirreled away.

  • chicken out

To decide at the last moment not to do something you said you would do, because you are afraid

Eg: We were going to go bungee jumping, but Sandra chickened out at the last minute.

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Comments 2

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  1. Thank you for buiding up my (foreigner’s) vocabulary! Stepping a bit aside off the buid (of these phrasal verbs) and focusing on literal meaning, they bow to idioms, as well, benefitting from the ways of stylistic devices (metaphors firstly) slightly.

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