CATS EXPRESSIONS Cats are the most popular pets among Americans. So it is not surprising that there are many expressions about cats. Some cats like to catch small birds, like canaries. If someone looks very proud or satisfied with himself, we say he looks like the cat that ate the canary. Sometimes, a cat likes to play with a small animal it catches. So if you play cat and mouse with someone, you change between different kinds of behavior when dealing with another person. For example, a child might offer something sweet to her little brother and then take it away when he reaches for it. A cat will often catch a small animal and present it to its owner. The saying that looks like something the cat dragged in describes something in bad condition. Two old and funny expressions describe something that is the best or finest. Americans might say that something is the cat's meow and the cat's pajamas. Children might call a child who is easily frightened a fraidy cat or a scaredy cat. A copycat is someone who acts just like someone else or copies another person's work. A fat cat is a person with a lot of money. You may have known that cats spend most of their time sleeping. Sometimes people sleep for a short time during the day. This is called a cat nap. If you tell about something that was supposed to be a secret, we say you let the cat out of the bag. If you are not able to speak or answer a question someone might ask if the cat has got your tongue. Have you ever watched children in a classroom when their teacher leaves for a few minutes? When the cat's away, the mice will play means people sometimes misbehave when there is no supervision. You may have heard this expression: curiosity killed the cat. This means being too concerned about things that are not your business might cause problems. If your home is very small, you might say there is not enough room to swing a cat. But you probably should not try this at home! If you ever had cats as pets, you know it is difficult to train them or to get them to do something. Cats are not like sheep or cows that can be moved in a group. So we say a difficult or impossible job is like herding cats. MOUTH EXPRESSIONS People use their mouths for many things. They eat, talk,shout and sing. They smile and they kiss. In the Englishlanguage, there are many expressions using the wordmouth. But some of them are not so nice. For example, if you say bad things about a person, the person might protest and say "Do not bad mouth me." Sometimes, people say something to a friend or family member that they later regret because it hurts that person's feelings. Or they tell the person something they were not supposed to tell. The speaker might say: "I really put my foot in my mouth this time." If this should happen, the speaker might feel down in the mouth. In other words, he might feel sad forsaying the wrong thing. Another situation is when someone falsely claimsanother person said something. The other person mightprotest: "I did not say that. Do not put words in mymouth." Information is often spread through word of mouth. This isgeneral communication between people, like friendstalking to each other. "How did you hear about that newmovie?" someone might ask. "Oh, by word of mouth." Amore official way of getting information is through acompany or government mouthpiece. This is an officialspokesperson. Government-run media could also becalled a mouthpiece. Sometimes when one person is speaking, he says thesame thing that his friend was going to say. When thishappens, the friend might say: "You took the words rightout of my mouth!" Sometimes a person has a bad orunpleasant experience with another person. He mightsay that experience "left a bad taste in my mouth." Orthe person might have had a very frightening experience,like being chased by an angry dog. He might say: "I hadmy heart in my mouth." Some people have lots of money because they were borninto a very rich family. There is an expression for this,too. You might say such a person, "was born with a silver spoon in his mouth." This rich person is the opposite of a person who livesfrom hand to mouth. This person is very poor and onlyhas enough money for the most important things in life,like food. Parents might sometimes withhold sweet food from achild as a form of punishment for saying bad things. Forexample, if a child says things she should not say to herparents, she might be described as a mouthy child. Theparents might even tell the child to stop mouthing off. But enough of all this talk. I have been running my mouthlong enough.