Animal Metaphors in Mongolian

English has a lot of idioms and metaphors that involve animals:

“It’s raining cats and dogs!”

“He’s as sly as a fox.”

“She’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

But animals represent different characteristics in different cultures so a couple weeks ago I asked my language teacher what some Mongolian animal metaphors are. Some are similar to American English idioms, some are very different. Here’s what I learned:

In Mongolia…

You are fat like a pig.

You are sleepless like an owl.
(not a wise like an owl)

You get up early like a hen.

You are intelligent like a dog.
(because dogs have to think well to herd sheep and protect them)

You are slow like a bear.

You are stupid like a cow.

You are scared like a rabbit.

You have big feet like a camel.

You are patient like a horse.
(a domesticated one, not a wild, reckless one)

Finally, my favorite:

You have bad character like a cat who hides her claws.

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