Eat Like A Bird

Meaning of Idiom ‘To Eat Like a Bird’

To eat like a bird means to eat very little or to eat very small portions only big enough for a bird; to have a very small appetite. 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,2Brenner, Gail Abel. Webster’s New World American Idioms Handbook. Wiley, 2003.

Compare to Eat Like a Horse.


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Examples of Use

“No wonder Jane is so thin. She eats like a bird.”

“Please have some more roast beef,” said mom. “You eat like a bird. It’s not healthy!”

Origin

Used since the first half of the 1900’s, this idiom alludes to the idea that birds eat very little.

This notion is, in fact, mistaken. Birds eat a large amount relative to their body weight. The idiom used as an antonym, eat like a horse, alludes to how horses seem to eat anything available and are eating all the time. However, relative to body weight, they do not eat as much as birds! 3Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

More Idioms Starting with E

More Animal Idioms

More Appetite Related Idioms

More Bird Idioms

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Sources   [ + ]

1, 3. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
2. Brenner, Gail Abel. Webster’s New World American Idioms Handbook. Wiley, 2003.