Published: 17th April 2019
Learn how to use the word 'bug' in your day-to-day conversations
There are many idiomatic expressions about bugs and insects that are used in our conversations. Here are a few
A family of three (father, mother and a five-year-old son) went to a restaurant and ordered varieties of food. When the food was served at the table, the boy asked his mother, “Mom, are bugs good to eat?” The lady replied, “That’s disgusting. Don’t you know that you shouldn’t talk about things like that while eating?” The boy asked his mom again, “Are insects really tasty?” “Keep quiet and eat. If you talk about such things I won’t take you to any restaurant hereafter,” the mother warned him. After dinner when they reached home, the mother asked the boy, “My son, why did you talk about bugs at the restaurant?” The boy replied, “I noticed a small bug in your soup, but now it’s gone.”
In English, there are many idiomatic expressions about bugs and insects and these expressions are used in our day-to-day conversations. First, let us look at the word ‘bug’. It has multiple meanings in English. As a noun, it has the following meanings: i) an insect, ii) an illness, iii) an error, iv) a tiny hidden microphone, v) an obsessive idea. Here are examples of how the word is used in different contexts:
- There are many bloodsucking bugs in your room. (insect)hospital. She’s got a stomach bug. (illness)
- Due to a software bug, we are not able to get the result. (error)
- The politician came to know that a bug in the hotel room was used to tap his conversation with a terrorist. (a concealed microphone)
- He has been bitten by the bug and it is very difficult for him to change his views. (an obsessive idea)
As a verb, ‘bug’ has multiple meanings. Here are some of the meanings: i) to irritate/bother, ii) to confuse/puzzle, iii) hide a microphone in a room. The word ‘bugger’ is used to describe a person who does annoying or stupid things. There are many interesting ‘bug’ and ‘insect’ expressions in English. Learners of English will find these idioms very useful. What is the meaning of the expression ‘as snug as a bug in a rug’? If someone is said to be as snug as a bug in a rug, they are said to be very warm and cozy.
- I hate cold weather. I need two blankets. I want to be as snug as a bug in a rug.
If you put a bug in someone’s ear about something, you give a hint to someone about something. In simpler terms, it means “to encourage someone to do not to do something”. The expression has a positive connotation.
- Whenever I am clueless about doing something, I approach my colleague and she is ready to put a bug in my ear.
The expression “to put a flea in someone’s ear” has an entirely different meaning and a negative connotation. When you put a flea in someone’s ear, you reprimand the person for doing something not good or not desirable. It is used to express your disapproval or to send someone away with a strong rebuke. When you say that something is a flea in your ear, you mean that is an unwelcome idea or reply.
- Your son’s behavior is not good. You need to put a flea in his ear.
- He didn’t like the way I spoke to him. He gave a flea in my ear.
A bug-eyed person has bulging eyes. The person’s eyes are sticking out.
- In the cartoon film, there are many bug-eyed characters.
“It's a beautiful tale, and today is a beautiful day without any bugs.” – Hugo Pratt