Throwing (also putting and setting) the cat among the pigeons (also amongst the pigeons) is a British idiom used to describe a disturbance caused by an undesirable person from the perspective of a group.
Another use of the term is to "cause an enormous fight or flap, usually by revealing a controversial fact or secret", or in other words: to do something suddenly or unexpectedly which leaves the people worried or angry.
The phrase originally referred to the disturbance likely to be created by putting a cat inside a dovecote (or dove house).This disturbance is caused by the cat's tendency to hunt and kill the birds, only made easier by their close proximity.
In Dutch, the same meaning is expressed in the proverb "De knuppel in het hoenderhok gooien.", literally translated to "Throwing the bat into the chicken shed". Whilst being similar to other idioms such as the German-language phrase das fünfte Rad am Wagen (the fifth wheel on the car), in this case there is an element of aggression, and a power differential becomes the key element in the undesirability.The Spanish-language version of the phrase is alborotar a todo el palomar. In Russian, there is a proverb similar in meaning "пустить козла в огород" (let a goat into the garden).
In colonial India, a popular pastime was to put a wild cat in a pen with pigeons. Bets would be made on how many birds the cat would bring down with one paw-swipe. The period of the British colonisation of India may have introduced this concept, and hence the phrase to the English language.
In French-language, similar meaning is expressed as "Jeter un pavé dans la mare" or "Lancer un pavé dans la mare", ("Throwing a cobblestone in the pond"). It illustrates a provocation disrupting a situation that is commonly considered as calm and established (pond represents calm water) while seeking for a reaction of those considering so (who are splashed by the pond content).
Cat Among the Pigeons (1959) is the title of a detective-fiction novel by English writer Agatha Christie.
A proverb is a simple, concrete, traditional saying that expresses a perceived truth based on common sense or experience. Proverbs are often metaphorical and use formulaic language. Collectively, they form a genre of folklore.
Spanish proverbs are a subset of proverbs that are used in Western cultures in general; there are many that have essentially the same form and content as their counterparts in other Western languages. Proverbs that have their origin in Spanish have migrated to and from English, French, Flemish, German and other languages.
An idiom is a phrase or expression that typically presents a figurative, non-literal meaning attached to the phrase; but some phrases become figurative idioms while retaining the literal meaning of the phrase. Categorized as formulaic language, an idiom's figurative meaning is different from the literal meaning. Idioms occur frequently in all languages; in English alone there are an estimated twenty-five thousand idiomatic expressions.
A Japanese proverb may take the form of:
Literal and figurative language is a distinction within some fields of language analysis, in particular stylistics, rhetoric, and semantics.
Chengyu are a type of traditional Chinese idiomatic expression, most of which consist of four characters. Chengyu were widely used in Classical Chinese and are still common in vernacular Chinese writing and in the spoken language today. According to the most stringent definition, there are about 5,000 chéngyǔ in the Chinese language, though some dictionaries list over 20,000. Chéngyǔ are considered the collected wisdom of the Chinese culture, and contain the experiences, moral concepts, and admonishments from previous generations of Chinese. Nowadays, chéngyǔ still play an important role in Chinese conversations and education. Chinese idioms are one of four types of formulaic expressions, which also include collocations (惯用语), two-part allegorical sayings (歇后语), and proverbs (谚语).
In sociology, a friend of a friend is a human contact that exists because of a mutual friend. Person C is a friend of a friend of person A when there is a person B that is a friend of both A and C. Thus the human relation "friend of a friend" is a compound relation among friends, similar to the uncle and aunt relations of kinship. Though friendship is a reciprocal relation, the relation of a friend of a friend may not be a friendship, though it holds potential for coalition building and dissemination of information.
You can't have your cake and eat it (too) is a popular English idiomatic proverb or figure of speech. The proverb literally means "you cannot simultaneously retain your cake and eat it". Once the cake is eaten, it is gone. It can be used to say that one cannot have two incompatible things, or that one should not try to have more than is reasonable. The proverb's meaning is similar to the phrases "you can't have it both ways" and "you can't have the best of both worlds."
The idiom "the straw that broke the camel's back", alluding to the proverb "it is the last straw that breaks the camel's back", describes the seemingly minor or routine action that causes an unpredictably large and sudden reaction, because of the cumulative effect of small actions.
A pig in a poke is a thing that is bought without first being inspected, and thus of unknown authenticity or quality. The idiom is attested in 1555:
The Monkey and the Cat is best known as a fable adapted by Jean de La Fontaine under the title Le Singe et le Chat that appeared in the second collection of his Fables in 1679 (IX.17). Although there is no evidence that the story existed before the 15th century, it began to appear in collections of Aesop's Fables from the 17th century but is not included in the Perry Index. There are popular idioms derived from it in both English and French with the general meaning of being the dupe of another. Usage of these and reference to the fable have been particularly employed in political contexts.
Making a mountain out of a molehill is an idiom referring to over-reactive, histrionic behaviour where a person makes too much of a minor issue. It seems to have come into existence in the 16th century.
Paremiology is the collection and study of proverbs.
The camel's nose is a metaphor for a situation where the permitting of a small, seemingly innocuous act will open the door for larger, clearly undesirable actions.
To kick the bucket is an English idiom, considered a euphemistic, informal, or slang term meaning "to die". Its origin remains unclear, though there have been several theories.
"Call a spade a spade" is a figurative expression. It is also referred to as "let's call a spade a spade, not a gardening tool" which refers to calling something "as it is", that is, by its right or proper name, without "beating about the bush"—being outspoken about it, truthfully, frankly, and directly, even to the point of being blunt or rude, and even if the subject is considered coarse, impolite, or unpleasant.
An idiom is a common word or phrase with a culturally understood meaning that differs from what its composite words' denotations would suggest; i.e. the words together have a meaning that is different from the dictionary definitions of the individual words. By another definition, an idiom is a speech form or an expression of a given language that is peculiar to itself grammatically or cannot be understood from the individual meanings of its elements. For example, an English speaker would understand the phrase "kick the bucket" to mean "to die" – and also to actually kick a bucket. Furthermore, they would understand when each meaning is being used in context.
"Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater" is an idiomatic expression for an avoidable error in which something good is eliminated when trying to get rid of something bad, or in other words, rejecting the favorable along with the unfavorable.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions is a proverb or aphorism. An alternative form is "Hell is full of good meanings, but heaven is full of good works".
A proverb in a language is a simple sentence, phrase, or occasionally phrasal expression that is commonly used so as to refer to a well known maxim, narrative, or short termed wisdom. Proverbs are often metaphorical. Proverbial expressions use parts of proverbs or full proverbs in order to refer to their meaning or basic essence in a way understood similar to a reference without complete recitation.