List of 100+ Animal Names Used as Verbs

Animal Verbs ImageThis is a compendium of 100+ animal names (i.e., nouns) that are also used as verbs in the English language. The list includes verbal usages that relate directly and indirectly to the noun’s meaning, analogies and unrelated verbal definitions. There are many different animal classes and every animal in the world belongs to one of them.

This list is divided into the five most well known classes of vertebrates (animals with backbones) are mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians. and is subdivided into common categories of vertebrate animals, together with a category of invertebrates.

Note: Some of these verbs are phrasal verbs, an idiomatic phrase consisting of a verb and another element, typically either an adverb, as in break down, or a preposition, for example see to, or a combination of both, such as look down on, chicken out, ferret out, and so forth. The definitions and usage examples are from standard dictionary and related sources available on the internet.

Contents:

Mammals and Reptiles

Birds

Fish

Immature Forms

Invertebrates

Mammals and Reptiles

NameDefinitionUsage Example
aardvarkto have sex with."Aardvarking" is one of many euphemisms Briggs employs in reference to sexual intercourse.
apeimitate the behavior or manner of, especially in an absurd or unthinking way.New architecture can respect the old without aping its style.
badgerask repeatedly and annoyingly for something; pester.A slew of journalists badgered him about the deals.
bathit with the palm of one's hand.He batted the flies away.
battake in turns the role of hitting rather than fielding.Ruth came to bat in the fifth inning
batflutter one's eyelashes, typically in a flirtatious manner.She batted her long dark eyelashes at him.
bearcarry.He was bearing a tray of brimming glasses.
bearsupport.Some walls cannot bear a stone vault.
bearendure.It was her style to bear the pain stoically.
beargive birth to a child.She was lucky enough to bear six daughters.
bearturn and proceed in a specified direction.The directions said to bear left and follow the old road.
beaverwork hard.Bridget beavered away to keep things running smoothly.
bitchexpress displeasure; grumble.They bitch about everything!
buckperform a bucking movement.He's got to get his head down to buck.
buck upstop being a wuss (wimp)! or cowardPlease buck up!
buck upgo buck up, put on sharp clothes, get ready for the dance!Buck up and get ready for the dance.
buck uphurry up, get a move onBuck up, we're on a schedule.
buck upto try to make someone happier, or to become happier.I took him out to lunch to try to buck him up.
buffalooverawe or intimidate.She didn't like being buffaloed and said so.
bullpush or drive powerfully or violently.He bulled the motorcycle clear of the tunnel.
catraise from the surface of the water to the cathead.They catted her anchor as she went.
catlook for sexual partners; have an affair or affairs. "catting around with every lady in sight " (Gore Vidal).
chipmunkspeed up an audio recording, especially a song, to make the voices high-pitched.Audio files prevent chipmunking when encoded at the proper speed.
chipmunkput as much food in one's mouth as possible during the final seconds of an eating contest. If chipmunking is allowed in a contest, eaters are given a reasonable amount of time to swallow the food.
cowintimidate into submission.The intellectuals had been cowed into silence.
dogfollow closely and persistently.This scandal has been dogging the administration for many months!
dogact lazily; fail to try one's hardest.He entered the season with a reputation for dogging it when he wasn't the primary receiver.
doggrip with a mechanical device.She has dogged the door shut.
ferretto discover information by searching for it in a determined wayWe're going to ferret out all the connections between Trumpland and Russia!
foxbaffle or deceive.The bad light and dark shadows foxed him.
hogkeep or use all for oneself in an unfair or selfish way.He never hogged the limelight.
horseprovide with a horse or horses.For firms horsing their own vehicles, the cost of the yard would be a joint cost and cannot be divided between horses and vehicles.
horseplay in a rough or silly way.The kids were always horsing around on the way home from school.
houndharass, persecute, or pursue relentlessly.She reminds me of the tenacious attorney general who had hounded Jimmy Hoffa and other labor bosses.
kangarooto move forward or to cause to move forward with short sudden jerks, as a result of improper use of the clutch.My car keeps kangarooing when I try to accelerate.
liongive a lot of public attention and approval to; treat as a celebrity, as in lionize.Modern athletes are lionized
monkeybehave in a silly or playful way.My brother and I were monkeying around and he was pretending to try to throw me to the ground.
mousehunt for or catch mice.I'm not sure what the cats will make of them - that field is Faber's main area for mousing and Sorley seems to go in there quite a bit too.
mouseuse a computer mouse to move a cursor on a computer screen.simply mouse over any item in the list
piggorge oneself with food.Don't pig out on chips before dinner.
pigcrowd together with other people in disorderly or dirty conditions.He and Irving pigged it for years in a shoebox of an apartment.
piggive birth to piglets; farrow.The patron of the hospital was held in such esteem, that when any person's sow pigged, one was set apart, and fed as fat as they could make it, to give to the brethren of St. Anthony.
pigoperate a pig within an oil or gas pipeline.If the pipeline is to be cleaned mechanically or "pigged" the pipeline size may dictate the minimum valve bore or the valve configuration.
ponypay, especially as a contribution or an unavoidable expense.They were getting ready to pony up for their children's college education.
rabbithunt rabbits.We located the area where one can go rabbiting.
rabbittalk at length, especially about trivial matters.Stop rabbiting on, will you, and go to bed!
ramroughly force into place.He rammed his stick into the ground.
ratto rat someone outHe ratted on his former friend
rathunt or kill rats.In another era, perhaps he and his mates would simply have gone out poaching or ratting, grumbling about bloody women along the way.
sealfasten or close securely.He folded it, sealed the envelope, and walked to the mailbox.
skunkdefeat overwhelmingly in a game or contest, especially by preventing them from scoring at all.After that, we went to play a round of pool so that I could redeem myself, and we both thought for a bit that I was going to skunk him.
skunkavoid paying a debt.He skunked the load.
snakemove or extend with the twisting motion of a snake.A rope snaked down.
squirrelhide money or something of value in a safe place.The money was squirreled away in foreign bank accounts.
squirrelmove in an inquisitive and restless mannerThey were squirreling around in the woods in search of something.
steerguide or control the movement of.all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.
tomcatpursue women promiscuously for sexual gratification.He was tomcatting all night and sleeping until afternoon.
turtleengage in a gameplay strategy that emphasizes heavy defense, with little or no offense.A turtle strategy is commonly used in real-time strategy video games.
turtleTo withdraw and shrink, like a turtle hiding in its shell.Two boys, Bragi and Haaken, turtled their heads against their shoulders and hurried past.
turtleto catch turtles, especially as a business.He went turtle-ing for years off the Mosquito Coast.
weaselachieve something by use of cunning or deceit.She suspects me of trying to weasel my way into his affections.
whalebeat; hit.Dad came upstairs and whaled me.
whale onto lash visciouslyHe used to whaile on me when he was angry.
wildcatprospect for oilAlthough Krajick's book about a pair of wildcatting prospectors is set mostly in Canada's Northwest Territories during the 1990s, the hostility and paranoia on display are the same as at the Namibian mine.
wolfdevour greedily.He wolfed down his breakfast.
yaktalk at length, especially about trivial matters.All too often, diners get to the table and yack away and make the waitress come back several times.

Birds

NameDefinitionUsage Example
birdto catch birds.I'm biased, but in my opinion, birding is the Greatest Pursuit Available to a Citizen of the Modern World.
chicken outwithdraw from or fail in something through lack of nerve.The referee chickened out of giving a penalty.
cocktilt in a particular direction.she cocked her head slightly to one side.
cockraise the cock of a gun in order to make it ready for firing.The sound of fifty plus guns being cocked ready to fire echoed throughout the enclosed hangar.
cockshape hay, straw, or other material into a pile with vertical sides and a rounded top.It was a cocked heap.
cockruin something.The cocked election results created a number of problems.
cranestretch out one's body or neck in order to see something.She craned forward to look more clearly.
cranemove with a crane.The wheelhouse module is craned into position on the hull.
crowutter its characteristic loud cry of a cock.Funny, I thought normal roosters crowed in the morning.
cuckooto utter the call of the cuckoo or an imitation of it, cuckooed, cuckooing.The bird was cuckooing all night.
cuckooperpetrate a new type of crime in which a drug dealer befriends a vulnerable individual who lives on their own.Cuckooing young men was a hobby of his.
ducklower the head or the body quickly to avoid a blow or so as not to be seen.The spectators ducked for cover.
duckplunge one's head or body underwater.I had to keep ducking down to get my head cool.
duckrefrain from playing a winning card on a particular trick for tactical reasons.Ducking a trick is a necessary evil when playing bridge.
duck outleave hurriedly or secretly; evade responsibility.If I can I'll duck out of the office early.
eagleplay a golf hole in two strokes under par.He eagled the last to share fourth place.
ganderlook or glance at something.Paulie gandered at shelves full of coffee paraphernalia.
goosepoke between the buttocks.They boys were goosing me in a sensitive spot and I couldn't stop laughing.
goosegive a boost; invigorate; increase.The director goosed up the star's ratings by making him funny.
grousecomplain pettily; grumble.Sheheard him grousing about his assistant.
gullfool or deceive.Unfortuantely, workers had been gulled into inflicting poverty and deprivation upon themselves.
hawkhunt game with a trained hawk.He spent the afternoon hawking.
hawkhunt on the wing for food.Swifts hawked low over the water.
hawkcarry around and offer goods for sale, typically advertising them by shouting.Street traders were hawking costume jewelry.
hawkclear the throat noisily.He hawked and spat into the flames.
kitefly a kite.A childhood judo enthusiast, he now just sticks to diving, surfing and kiting.
kitefloat a check with insufficient funds during the time it takes to clear the bank account.Prosecutors haven't revealed how he was tracked down, but as part of the plea deal they agreed not to prosecute the former fed for kiting checks through his Bank of America account while a fugitive.
larkenjoy oneself by behaving in a playful and mischievous way.He jumped the fence and went larking the rest of the day.
parrotrepeat mechanically.He was encouraging students to parrot back information.
peacockdisplay oneself ostentatiously; strut like a peacock.He peacocks in front of the full-length mirror.
quailfeel or show fear or apprehension.She quailed at his heartless words.
railprovide or enclose with a rail or rails.The altar is railed off from the nave.
rail sail a windsurfer board on its edge, so that it is at a sharp angle to the surface of the water.Heeling and railing are the same. Mono hull boats heel and windsurfers rail.
railcomplain or protest strongly and persistently about.He railed at human fickleness.
ravenhunt ferociously for prey.He and the hounds ravening him are amalgamated in one precipitate upsweep of pigments.
rooktake money by cheating, defrauding, or overcharging.And they were convinced they'd rooked us. Yeah, the perfect business deal.
shagchase or catch fly balls for practice.At the few other games I went to by myself, I also saw him in the outfield talking with teammates while they shagged fly balls.
snipeshoot at someone from a hiding place, especially accurately and at long range.The soldiers in the trench sniped at us.
snipemake a sly or petty verbal attack.The state governor constantly sniped at the president.
swallowcause something to pass down the throat.She swallowed a mouthful slowly.
swanmove about or go somewhere in a casual, relaxed way, typically perceived as irresponsible or ostentatious by others.Swanning around in a $2,000 sharkskin suit doesn't make you a Renaissance prince.

Fish

NameDefinitionUsage Example
carpcomplain or find fault continually, typically about trivial matters.I don't want to carp about the way you did it.
fishcatch or try to catch fish, typically by using a net or hook and line.He was fishing for carp.
fishattempt to induce someone to provide some form of informationHe was fishing for compiments/clues
flounderstruggle or stagger helplessly or clumsily in water or mud.He was floundering about in the shallow offshore waters.
perchalight or rest on something.A herring gull perched on the mast.
pikekill or thrust through with a pike.Piking the man seemed unnecessary.
rayspread from or as if from a central point.Delicate lines rayed out at each corner of her eyes.
soleput a new sole onto a shoe.I had my favourite boots soled and heeled for half the price of a London cobbler.
torpedoattack or sink with a torpedo or torpedoes.Unfortunately, the ship was torpedoed while still in the Baltic Sea and sank.

Immature Forms

NameDefinitionUsage Example
babytreat as a baby; pamper or be overprotective toward.Her aunt babied her and fussed over her clothes.
calf (calve)give birth to a calf.We are not aware of similar data reported for cows calving during different seasons of the year.
calf (calve)detache d from an iceberg.Out past a cruising leopard seal, the distant Marr Glacier calves another berg, the boom echoing across the water.
cocoonenvelop or surround in a protective or comforting way.We began to feel cold even though we were cocooned in our sleeping bags.
eggurge or encourage someone to do something, especially something foolish or risky.The man looked sick, but people around him were egging him on , encouraging him.
fawnproduce young.Does fawning take place in the spring and summer?
fawngive a servile display of exaggerated flattery or affection, typically in order to gain favor or advantage.The congressmen fawned all over the President, but to no avail.
foalgive birth to a foal.We will give special consideration to mares foaling in Kentucky.
grubdig or poke superficially in the earth.There was damage done to the pastures by badgers grubbing for worms.
kidgive birth to the kid of a goat.We first vaccinated the kids on the 18th April 1995, but we did not know for two years, when the goats eventually kidded whether the vaccination had worked or not, and even then they may not succumb to the disease straight away.
kiddeceive in a playful or teasing way.You're kidding me!
spawnrelease or deposit eggs.The fish spawn among fine-leaved plants.

Invertebrates

NameDefinitionUsage Example
beetlemake one's way hurriedly or with short, quick steps.The tourist beetled off to their next stop.
bugconceal a miniature microphone in a room or telephone in order to monitor or record someone's conversations.The telephones in the presidential palace were bugged.
bugannoy or bother.A persistent reporter was bugging me.
bugto freak out.She was bugging out.
bugbulge.The news will make her eyes bug out with astonishment.
bugescape quickly.Let's bug out of here.
butterflysplit a piece of meat down the center and spread it out flat.The chief butterflied shrimp.
clamdig for or collect clams.It was one of the worst times for clamming.
clamabruptly stop talking, either for fear of revealing a secret or from shyness.When he's around people he doesn't know he clams up completely and just stops talking.
crabmove sideways or obliquely.In a de-crab crosswind landing, the nose points into the wind so that the aircraft approaches the runway slightly skewed with respect to the runway centerline.
crabfish for crabs.They used to go duck hunting and crabbing and fishing and that's how they survived and raised all the family.
crabgrumble, typically about something petty.He remembered how she would crab about sand in her food when they went to the beach.
crabact so as to spoil.You're trying to crab my act.
crabDecatising or decatizing, also known as crabbing, blowing, and decating, is the process of making permanent a textile finish on a cloth, so that it does not shrink during garment making.Crabbing the fabric was a key part of the process.
earwigeavesdrop on a conversation.He looked behind him to see if anyone was earwigging.
flypropel through the air under control.Close the door or the moths will fly into the house.
leechhabitually exploit or rely on.Once again he's leeching off the kindness of others.
lobstercatch lobsters.He said, "Just keep lobstering till it runs out, I guess."
lousespoil or ruin something.He loused up my promotion chances
louseremove lice from.They were lousing each other; and it surprised us that they did not discontinue their work as we entered.
scallopgather or dredge for scallops.And in the unlikely event that you get bored with counting portholes, you can always go scalloping - the seabed is alive with them!
shrimpfish for shrimp.He used a shrimping net.
slugdrink in a large draft; swig.She picked up her drink and slugged it straight back.
slugstrike with a hard blow.He was the one who'd get slugged.
spidermove in a scuttling manner suggestive of a spider.A treecreeper spidered head first down the tree trunk.
spongewipe, rub, or clean with a wet sponge or cloth.She sponged him down in an attempt to cool his fever.
spongeobtain or accept money or food from other people without doing or intending to do anything in return.They found they could earn a perfectly good living by sponging off others.
tickmake regular short sharp sounds, typically one for every second of time that passes.I could hear the clock ticking.
tickmark an item with a check mark, typically to show that it has been chosen, checked, approved, or dealt with.Just tick the appropriate box below.
wormmove along the grounding the manner of a worm.I wormed my way along the roadside ditch.

 

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Conceived and collated by Russell Hamer, Christopher Tyler, and Amy Ione.