Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
a flea in (one's) ear
A sharp, strident, or disconcerting reproof or rebuff. She gave me a flea in my ear over my spending habits. I'll be sure to put a flea in his ear the next time I see him!
A typically outdoor market or bazaar where sundry goods, antiques, household items, or trinkets are sold, bartered, or traded. Possibly from the French marché aux puces, a name given to an outdoor market in Paris where second-hand goods were sold. I love our town's local flea market— you never know what you might find there!
flea in the ear
1. Something annoying. We need to stop that beeping smoke alarm because it's a flea in my ear today.
2. A harsh reprimand. I had to talk to Mr. Myers about the botched report today, and boy, did he give me a flea in the ear.
he that lieth with dogs riseth with fleas
If one spends time with bad people, one will suffer in some way (often by becoming like said associates). I worry about my brother hanging out with all those troublemakers—he that lieth with dogs riseth with fleas.
if you lie with dogs, you will get fleas
If one spends time with bad people, one will suffer in some way (often by becoming like said associates). I worry about my brother hanging out with all those troublemakers—if you lie with dogs, you will get fleas, you know?
send (one) away with a flea in (one's) ear
To turn one away forcefully or angrily. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. That's the third time they've asked for a donation this week. Send them away with a flea in their ear! My mother sent me away with a flea in my ear when I asked her if I could quit piano lessons.
not hurt a fly
To harm nothing or no one. Said of one who is particularly gentle, shy, diffident, or timid by nature. My brother is a very sweet, warm-hearted man who wouldn't hurt a fly. How can you suspect him of committing this crime?
(as) fit as a flea
In good health. Yes, I did have surgery a few months ago, but I'm as fit as a flea now. I just saw Eric recently, and he's as fit as a flea.
not hurt a flea
To harm nothing or no one. Said of one who is particularly gentle, shy, diffident, or timid by nature. My brother is a very sweet, warm-hearted man who wouldn't hurt a flea. How can you suspect him of committing this crime?
*fit as a fiddle
Cliché in very good health. (*Also: as ~.) You may feel sick now, but after a few days of rest and plenty of liquids, you'll be fit as a fiddle. Grandson: Are you sure you'll be able to climb all these stairs? Grandmother: Of course! I feel as fit as a fiddle today.
If you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas.
Prov. If you associate with bad people, you will acquire their faults. Granddaughter: It's not fair. I'm starting to get a bad reputation just because I'm friends with Suzy and she has a bad reputation. Grandmother: It's only natural. People think that if you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas.
not hurt a flea
Fig. not to harm anything or anyone, even a tiny insect. (Also with other forms of negation.) Ted would not even hurt a flea. He could not have struck Bill. Ted would never hurt a flea, and he would not hit anyone as you claim.
fit as a fiddle
In excellent form or health. For example, He's not just recovered, he's fit as a fiddle. The original allusion of this simile has been lost. Its survival is probably due to the pleasant sound of its alliteration. [Early 1600s]
flea in one's ear, a
An annoying hint or a stinging rebuke, as in He has a flea in his ear about their relationship, or If he doesn't bring the right equipment, I'll put a flea in his ear. This expression originated in French and has been used in English since the 1400s.
See also: flea
A market, usually held outdoors, where used goods and antiques are sold. For example, We picked up half of our furniture at flea markets. The term is a direct translation of the French marché aux puces and presumably implies that some of the used clothes and furniture might be flea-infested. [1920s]
not hurt a fly
Also, not hurt a flea. Not cause harm to anyone, be gentle and mild, as in Paul's the kindest man-he wouldn't hurt a flea, or Bert has a temper but it's all talk; he wouldn't hurt a fly. Both fly and flea are used in the sense of "a small insignificant animal." [Early 1800s]
fit as a fiddleBRITISH, AMERICAN or
fit as a fleaBRITISH
If someone is as fit as a fiddle or as fit as a flea, they are very fit and healthy. Note: In the first two idioms here, `fit' means healthy and full of energy. He was nearly 80 and as fit as a fiddle. He is young enough at 33 and fit as a flea. Note: This expression may originally have applied to a violin player, or fiddler, rather than to a violin, or fiddle. The fiddler had to be fit in order to play all evening at a festival or party. Alternatively, `fit' could mean `suitable' rather than `healthy', so the original meaning may have been `as suitable for its purpose as a fiddle is for making music'.
send someone away with a flea in their earBRITISH
If you send someone away with a flea in their ear, you tell them to go away and that you are angry with them. Minnie sent Sligo away with a flea in his ear and a warning not to return. Note: This expression can be used in many different structures. For example, you can say that someone gets or is given a flea in their ear or that someone leaves or comes away with a flea their ear. All that had happened, I suspected, was that Sylvia had got a flea in her ear. Note: A flea is a small jumping insect that lives on the bodies of humans or animals and feeds on their blood.
fit as a fiddlein very good health.
fit as a fleain very good health.
The phrase makes reference to a flea's agility.
a flea in your eara sharp reproof.
Formerly a flea in your ear also meant something that agitates or alarms you, as does the French phrase avoir la puce à l'oreille . Nowadays, it is often found in the phrases give someone a flea in the ear or send someone away with a flea in their ear .
(as) ˌfit as a ˈfiddle(also ˌfighting ˈfit) very healthy and active: After our walking holiday, I came back feeling fit as a fiddle.
with a ˈflea in your earif somebody sends a person away with a flea in their ear, they tell them angrily to go away: When he came to ask for his job back, we sent him away with a flea in his ear.
a flea in (one's) ear
An annoying hint or a stinging rebuke.
flea in his ear
A sharp, unwelcome rebuke. To have a flea literally inserted in your ear would be an unwanted nuisance, just as being scolded, even if deserved, would be. The British use the phrase to mean “put a bug in the ear”: to plant a suspicion. The French “put a flea in the ear” to arouse amatory feelings, hardly an aphrodisiacal image (any more than a Spanish fly would be).