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Rabbit Idioms

Updated on August 22, 2020
Ben Reed profile image

Ben has held a life-long interest in language and has a particular interest in the expressions, phrases, and idioms that contribute to it.

Why do Rabbits Appear in Idioms?

Rabbits have inspired so many expressions and phrases that form part of our everyday language.

And while it is a fact that many rabbit related idioms can be complimentary, others can be somewhat derogatory; they unquestionably come with a diverse range of meanings.

These varied meanings should not be so surprising, after all, while most people's initial reaction is to think of a cute little furry creature that you want to hug. Others among us may recall rabbits portrayed as frantic, a bit loopy or silly. They provide a mechanism that allows us to express a wide range of thoughts covering a broad spectrum of our lives.

An idiom helps to make our speech more expressive and colourful. When you use such a phrase in everyday language, then it has a different meaning than the underlying meaning or definition of the words, as found in a dictionary.

Rabbit food. We all know that rabbits enjoy eating carrots and salad.
Rabbit food. We all know that rabbits enjoy eating carrots and salad. | Source

Rabbit Food

An idiom often mentioned when discussing salads.

Example sentence: "My brother says that salads are so bland and tasteless - they are for rabbits."

Like a Rabbit Caught in the Headlights

Meaning: an idiom that describes the feeling of being frightened or startled to such an extent that you cannot move.

Example sentence: "Craig jumped out from behind the curtain. I was so startled that I must have looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights."

There is nothing quite like a Startled Rabbit
There is nothing quite like a Startled Rabbit

A Rabbit Trail

To say that a person or a discussion has gone off at a tangent.

Meaning: a winding trail that leads nowhere.

Example sentence: "Everything Jack said until that point made sense. But he suddenly went off on a rabbit trail, and nothing made any sense at all from then on."


A term used to say that someone is stealing, pinching - for example, "Those sailors will rabbit anything that isn't chained to the deck.

To Turn Rabbit

Meaning: to say that someone turned away in fright. Sometimes used to say that someone has pulled out - or chickened out of something.

Example sentence: "We were all committed to climbing up to the peak, but Simon turned rabbit, and we had to reconsider the whole thing."

Harmless as a Pet Rabbit

To suggest that a person is gentle and harmless.

Example sentence: "She is so sweet. I reckon she is as harmless as a rabbit."

As harmless as a pet rabbit - idiom
As harmless as a pet rabbit - idiom | Source

To Hunt Two Hares

Meaning: an idiom that says a person is trying to accomplish two tasks at the same time and will not succeed in either.

Example sentence: "You can't possibly hunt two hares at the same time. You need to either focus on the task in hand or ditch it and go after the activity."

An Idiom Quiz

A can of ...?

See results

Pour Salt on a Hares Tail

Meaning: To bluff or to threaten someone.

Example sentence: "They didn't know if they should take him seriously or not; he just kept pouring salt on the hares tail."

Who doesn't instantly recognise the magic of this image
Who doesn't instantly recognise the magic of this image

Pull a Rabbit Out Of The Hat

Meaning: To surprise someone by doing something they didn't think possible.

Not surprisingly, this idiom is linked to magicians tricks - to pull a rabbit out of a hat.

Example sentence: "We all thought the business would close. But management pulled the rabbit out of the hat when securing that further loan."

Rabbit Punch

Meaning: This phrase describes a blow to the back of the head.

Example sentence: "I was holding my own against those thugs. But then I was hit by a rabbit punch and, it all went downhill from then."

Jack Rabbit Start

Meaning: To spring into action, or to start something suddenly from a standstill.

Example: "We were in a real hurry to get to the airport on time. But we were running so late that by the time we had packed the car, we had to get jack-rabbit start as we left the driveway."

Buy the Rabbit

To suggest that a person is unsuccessful or has suffered a misfortune.

Example sentence: "I thought that antique watch was the real thing. However, it was a fake, and I bought a rabbit with that one."

Why not try out these Idiom tests - just for fun...... - just fill in the missing word

Like water of a ............back

See results

Run With the Hare and Hunt With the Hounds.

An expression used when saying that you support both sides of an argument.

Example sentence: I understand what you are saying, but I also respect what Henry has to say on the subject. I'm afraid that I must run with the hare and hunt with the hounds on this matter."

As Mad as a March Hare

To say that a person is crazy.

Example sentence: "I don't why he did that. He is obviously as mad as a March Hare!"

Don't mess with the March Hare - he is mad!
Don't mess with the March Hare - he is mad!

Bunny Hop

Meaning: Describes a person who is hopping like a bunny.

An idiom often associated with a sporting activity, for example, a small jump carried out on a bicycle while the rider stands on the pedals.

Snuggle Bunny

A way of referring to the affection shown for a child or romantic partner.

Example sentence: "He's so cute, I just want him for my snuggle bunny."

Badge Bunny

Meaning: a person who collects badges.

It can be a derisory comment.

Gym Bunny

A way of describing someone who is somewhat obsessive about maintaining their physique in a gym. A person who spends a considerable amount of time working out.

Happy Bunny

An expression often said in the act of sarcasm.

Example sentence: "He's a happy bunny. Always winging and bemoaning his luck."

Quick Like a Bunny

A way of saying be quick, hurry, act without delay.

Example: That huge discount on television sets is about to end. You had better be quick like a bunny if you want to take advantage of the offer."

Animal Idioms


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    • profile image


      14 months ago

      Thank you for this article. really interesting. It is motivating to learn everyday something different or new that make us a little bit more knowledgeable.

    • AngelesF profile image


      18 months ago from Spain

      Really, really interesting! I listen to some English expressions from time to time, from my students, and it's even funny to check if we,Spanish speakers, have a similar expression in my language. Very interesting, I learned a lot!

    • Ben Reed profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Reed 

      7 years ago from Redcar

      @CrazyHomemaker: Thank you - very much appreciated.

    • CrazyHomemaker profile image


      7 years ago

      Cute lens! You have some interesting lenses.

    • CrazyHomemaker profile image


      7 years ago

      Cute lens! You have some interesting lenses.

    • Ben Reed profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Reed 

      7 years ago from Redcar

      @lionmom100: Thanks for the visit. Appreciated.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a fun lens. Some of the idioms were new to me.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      All y'all Brits talk funny ... :) Nice lens!

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 

      8 years ago from UK

      Enjoyed this lens.

      Cockneys use the term rabbit to signify excess talking. E.g. all she does is rabbit on all day.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      "Rabbit Ears" I humbly contribute matey.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      So idiomically word, just for you!

    • CCGAL profile image


      9 years ago

      I kind of expected to see "Hop To It" ... that's bunny related. Another fun lens on idioms!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      The expression "Punching Cattle on a Jack Rabbit" also means that Texans are so hot that they can do anything. This is also the tithe of my next art show. Although I am Canadian and live in West Virginia...

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I learned a lot here! thank you

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      "Quick like a bunny" is an idiom I use a lot, and it always raises a smile. Great, fun lens.

    • thesuccess2 profile image


      9 years ago

      You've got a good lens franchise here!

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 

      9 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      really enjoyed your lens. very nice one.

    • sorana lm profile image

      sorana lm 

      9 years ago

      LOL .. very funny lens. Love it.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Glad I hopped by- nice lens. Thanks

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      love rabbit! rabbit carrot always together..great lens!

    • rlivermore profile image


      9 years ago

      Fun lens. Thanks for sharing. s

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice content. Rabbits are really nice creatures. My real favorites are pigs. Little piglets are so cute that I cannot fill it into words.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice lens! Fortunately I didn't fall down the rabbit hole when I stumbled upon your lens.


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