No Such Animal

Meaning of Idiom ‘No Such Animal’

No such animal means there is nothing like the thing mentioned; there is nothing of that kind in existence; nothing similar exists. 1Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.,2Bengelsdorf, Peter. Idioms in the News – 1,000 Phrases, Real Examples. N.p.: Amz Digital Services, 2012.,3Brenner, Gail. Webster’s New World American Idioms Handbook. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.

No such animal means the same as no such thing but adds a bit of emphasis and a trace of humor.

However, no such thing can also mean ‘absolutely not’ as in “You’ll do no such thing.”


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Usage Notes

No such animal can be used literally to mean that a certain type of animal does not exist. Example: “Technically, there’s no such animal as a panther.”

Examples Of Use

“My grandfather wanted me to buy him some VHS movies to watch. I told him there’s no such animal anymore.”

“These fly-by-night companies sell fraudulent products on TV that never work. If you try to call the company for a refund, suddenly there’s no such animal. The company is gone.”

“You still have a flip phone? I thought there was no such animal anymore.”

“I’m not watching a movie about an ‘honest thief.’ There’s no such animal.”

Origin

This idiom has been used since at least the beginning of the 1900s.

According to the Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms, it originated in a cartoon from Life Magazine in 1907, in which someone is looking at a camel. 4Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.

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