It seems as if the English language sometimes has it in for our feathered friends. After all, how many sayings that reference birds have derogatory implications? No more we say! Here’s our light-hearted look at some alternative meanings as we reclaim these terms.
1. Bird brain
Formerly: A silly or stupid person.
Now: A person with innate navigation skills, who travels seemingly ‘as the crow flies’
Why: “She made it through rush hour traffic in the city with a record time – what a bird brain!”
2. Stool pigeon
Formerly: A police informer, a person acting as a decoy.
Now: Someone who is relaxed in every social setting.
Why: Have you ever seen a pigeon in a major city? They’re pretty much unflappable. Social butterflies are overrated. We like hanging out with the stool pigeons.
3. Chick flick
Formerly: A film that appeals to young women.
Now: A bird film that appeals to everyone.
Why: The Wild Birds of Telegraph Hill, Paulie, March of the Penguins, Birdman of Alcatraz, Fly Away Home, Birders, Rio. What are we missing?
4. Eat like a bird
Formerly: To always eat very little.
Now: To eat discerningly – and appreciate good food when you get it.