Catch Word #170 – Bear in the cave

In this episode Andrew and Suzanne explain a few popular expressions related to runny noses and undone zippers. Join them as they chat about how to slyly alert a friend to an embarrassing problem!

Expressions included in the Learning Materials

  • A bear in the cave/a bat in the caveBear in the cave
  • A snotty nose
  • A booger XYZ
  • To fly low To fly high
  • To give someone a heads up
  • Necessity is the mother of invention
  • No biggie Don’t sweat it

Sample transcript

Andrew:         Yeah. Today, we’re gonna do a Catchword episode, and this is where we introduce and define and explain how to use some interesting expressions—some idioms or some phrasal verbs or some proverbs, something like this. And today, all of our expressions relate to telling someone about something embarrassing.
Suzanne:      So the first expression we have is a bear in the cave, or as I’ve used it in the US, a bat in the cave.
Andrew:         Mmhmm, that’s right. When I sent Suzanne the plan for this episode, she said, “Hey, wait! It’s a bat in the cave, not a bear in the cave.” But I know this expression as a bear in the cave, so I think either of them will do. But Suzanne, when would you use this expression? When would you say, “Hey, you got a bat in the cave,” or “Hey, you got a bear in the cave?”
Suzanne:      Well, first, I want to explain that I would use this with someone I’m very familiar with. Someone I am casual with and can speak in a goofy slang way.
Andrew:         This is a very informal expression, so you would want to use this just with your friends and people that you have a very close relationship with. You would not want to use this with business partners or with acquaintances. It’s gotta be buddies.
Suzanne:      You use this phrase, a bear in the cave, or a bat in the cave, to alert someone that they have a booger. Or as we say, I guess, in Canada, a booger?
Andrew:         Uh huh. That’s how I say it. Yeah, a booger. Or you say it?
Suzanne:      Booger.
Andrew:         Booger.
Suzanne:      Like would, could, should—booger.
Andrew:         OK. So if you have a bear in the cave, you have something in your nose. You have a snotty nose that’s running, or it’s gross. It’s visible to other people, and you just want to alert this person to that fact. You have to say, “Hey bud, go blow your nose. It’s gross.”
Suzanne:      Grab a tissue.
Andrew:         Grab a tissue, exactly. So this is what it means to have a bear in the cave, or a bat in the cave.
Suzanne:      Yeah.
Andrew:         And interestingly, I just learned this expression. This one’s kind of new to me, and it happened because my girlfriend told me, “Hey Andrew—bear in the cave.” And I didn’t know this expression. It took me a minute to understand that I had to go blow my nose.
Suzanne:      So even someone that you know really well may not totally understand your intention, so you wanna make sure that you have a playful banter with this person.
Andrew:         Yeah, absolutely. But like you said earlier, it’s good to know. At the end of the day, I’m glad she told me about this, so I wasn’t walking around, you know, embarrassing myself in public.
Suzanne:      Exactly.
Andrew:         Well, I think it’s time that we give some examples with this expression.
Suzanne:      Hey man. There’s a bear in the cave.
Andrew:         Oh, what! Really? Yikes. Uh, do you have any Kleenex?
Suzanne:      Uh, yeah. I think so.
Suzanne:      These were two students in the middle of class. And one student whispered to the other, letting them know that they needed to blow their nose, or wipe their nose, so the rest of the class didn’t see.

english PodcastAudio/Learning Materials: Culips English Learning Podcast