Animals and Insults

I am still kicking around this idea of how kids especially in British cities – don’t know  where their food comes from, ie animals.

And I’m also thinking about how much of our language includes animal metaphors and similes.

There are a ton of insults that are based on animals, like scaredy cat, cowardly lion or chicken, greedy pig, hungry horse, brave lion, loyal dog, stupid goldfish, chattering parrot, fast leopard/panther, scary pirhana, singing like a lark/blackbird, tiny hummingbird, busy bee, industrious ants, quiet/gentle as a lamb, and lots more.

But if kids don’t know the real-ish animals, do they get these metaphors? Do they still use them?

If not, is this why swearing is becoming so common? Insults based on body parts etc. shows a focus shifting from animals to ourselves, and if we get bored with them, what next?

One thought on “Animals and Insults

  1. I think the shift away from certain experiential aspects of life, such as nature and animals is also reflected in language.


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