Catch Word #126 – You eat like a bird

Eating is something people do every day, so there are tons of expressions about it. In this episode, we talk about the amount that people eat. Sometimes we have big appetites and other times we don’t want to eat much. Sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and we make so much food that we can’t eat it all. By the end of this episode, you’ll probably want a snack.


Expressions included in the learning materials


  • To eat like a bird
  • To nibble
  • To take food to go
  • A buffet
  • To see
  • To eat like a horse
  • Didn’t you just go a couple of days ago?
  • To go through a phase
  • To grab a bite
  • To build up an appetite
  • My eyes are bigger than my stomach
  • To finish your plate
  • Leftovers

Sample transcript

Harp: And today all our expressions are about eating.

Maura: Mmhmm. Which is something that people do a lot of.

Harp: I love to eat.

Maura: So today we’re gonna look at expressions that have to do with how much people are eating.

Harp: So our first expression today is to eat like a bird.

Maura: To eat like a bird. Now, you can already maybe start to imagine what this would mean. When I think of a bird, it’s such a little creature, normally, and eats little worms or insects or grass or whatever people have left behind. But they’re usually just nibbling and taking small bites, right?

Harp: Exactly. So to eat like a bird is when someone eats only a small amount of food, when they just kind of nibble at their food. They don’t eat a lot.

Maura: Right. So a person who eats like a bird might take a smaller portion or a smaller size than everyone else. Or it also could be that when they’re eating, they only take very small, little bites and maybe at the end, they don’t even eat everything on their plate.

Harp: Yep, exactly. That’s what this expression means.

Maura: Now, we talked about how, when we imagine birds, we think they must not eat very much, because we just see them eating little bits here and there, but is that actually right?

Harp: No. See, this expression comes from the first half of the 1900s, and back then we thought birds didn’t eat that much. But in reality, birds eat quite a bit for how small they are.

Maura: Right. So relative to their size, birds actually eat a lot. So this expression technically doesn’t make sense.

Harp: Exactly. But we still use it. To eat like a bird means that someone eats only a small amount or they just nibble a little bit or they don’t eat everything on their plate.

Podcast/Learning Materials: Culips English Podcast