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feel (one's) oats

1. To be very active and energetic. The dog must be feeling his oats, considering how he's running around the yard today.
2. To be aware of one's own power or importance. If you sassed the boss like that, you must be feeling your oats!
See also: feel, oat

get (one's) oats

slang To have sex, especially frequently. Primarily heard in UK. Bill is hardly ever home anymore—he must be getting his oats now that he's single again.
See also: get, oat

oat opera

A film or theatrical production about the American West (i.e., a western), especially one that is clichéd or formulaic. My grandfather and I had a tradition of watching old oat operas every Sunday on TV.
See also: oat, opera

off (one's) oats

old-fashioned Disinclined to eat; having little or no appetite. Mrs. Bailey said you were off your oats, sir, so I brought you some chicken broth to keep your energy up.
See also: oat, off

sow (one's) oats

To engage in rebellious, promiscuous, or debauched behavior, especially during one's youth. Bill and I had to break up because I was looking to get married, and he just wants to spend his twenties sowing his oats. You can't just sow your oats forever! You'll need to learn how to behave like an adult eventually.
See also: oat, sow

sow (one's) wild oats

To engage in rebelliousness or promiscuity, typically in one's youth before settling down. Bill and I had to break up because I was looking to get married, and he just wanted to sow his wild oats. You can't sow your wild oats forever! Soon, you'll want a wife and a house, and you'll regret the things you're doing now.
See also: oat, sow, wild

wild oats

The youthful rebelliousness or promiscuity that one partakes in before settling down. Most commonly used in the phrase "sow (one's) wild oats." Bill and I had to break up because I was looking to get married, and he just wanted to sow his wild oats! You can't sow your wild oats forever! Soon, you'll want a wife and a house, and you'll regret the things you're doing now.
See also: oat, wild
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

feel one's oats

Fig. to be very lively. Careful with that horse. He's feeling his oats today. Mary was feeling her oats and decided to go out dancing.
See also: feel, oat

sow one's wild oats

to do wild and foolish things in one's youth. (often assumed to have some sort of sexual meaning.) Jack was out sowing his wild oats last night, and he's in jail this morning. Mrs. smith told Mr. smith that he was too old to be sowing his wild oats.
See also: oat, sow, wild
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

feel one's oats

1. Feel frisky or animated, as in School was out, and they were feeling their oats. This usage alludes to the behavior of a horse after having been fed. [Early 1800s]
2. Display self-importance, as in He was feeling his oats, bossing everyone around. [Mid-1800s]
See also: feel, oat

sow one's wild oats

Behave foolishly, immoderately or promiscuously when young, as in Brad has spent the last couple of years sowing his wild oats, but now he seems ready to settle down . This expression alludes to sowing inferior wild oats instead of good cultivated grain, the verb sowing-that is, "planting seed"-in particular suggesting sexual promiscuity. [Mid-1500s]
See also: oat, sow, wild
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

feel your oats

If you feel your oats, you are full of energy and excitement. This success has Ralph Raina, one of the area's most prominent businessmen, feeling his oats. Murphy is feeling his oats as a budding movie star.
See also: feel, oat

sow your wild oats

If someone, especially a young man, sows their wild oats, they have many sexual relationships which are not serious and do not last long. This survey shows that men see nothing wrong in sowing their wild oats before settling down. To settle down with the first man you met means you haven't had a chance to sow your wild oats. Note: In this expression, the behaviour of young people is compared to someone sowing wild oats, which cannot be eaten, on good ground instead of edible oats.
See also: oat, sow, wild
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

feel your oats

feel lively and buoyant. US informal
Oats are used as feed for horses, making them friskier and more energetic.
See also: feel, oat

get your oats

have sexual intercourse. informal
1965 William Dick A Bunch of Ratbags I was kissing her excitedly and passionately… Cookie, you're gonna get your oats tonight for sure, I thought to myself.
See also: get, oat

off your oats

lacking an appetite. informal
See also: oat, off

sow your wild oats

go through a period of wild or promiscuous behaviour while young.
Wild oats are weeds found in cornfields which resemble cultivated oats: spending time sowing them would be a foolish or useless activity. The expression has been current since the late 16th century; from the mid 16th to the early 17th century, wild oat was also used as a term for a dissolute young man.
See also: oat, sow, wild
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

get your ˈoats

(British English, informal) have sex regularly
See also: get, oat

sow your wild ˈoats

(informal) (usually used of young men) enjoy yourself before you get married and settle down: The problem is that he never sowed his wild oats before he got married, and he wants to sow them now. Wild oats are weeds that grow in fields and look like real oats. Sowing them would be a silly or useless activity.
See also: oat, sow, wild
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

feel (one's) oats

1. To be energetic and playful.
2. To act in a self-important manner.
See also: feel, oat
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

feel one's oats, to

To act frisky or lively. This saying, with its analogy to a horse that is lively after being fed, is American in origin and dates from the early nineteenth century. It appeared in print in Amos Lawrence’s Extracts from Diary and Correspondence (1833): “We both ‘feel our oats’ and our youth.”
See also: feel, to

wild oats, to sow one's

To behave foolishly and indulge in excess while one is young. The term has been around since at least the late sixteenth century. It alludes to sowing inferior wild grain instead of superior cultivated grain, analogous here to sexual promiscuity, and suggests that one will eventually outgrow such foolishness. As Thomas Hughes wrote in Tom Brown at Oxford (1861), “A young fellow must sow his wild oats,” but he then adds, “You can make nothing but a devil’s maxim of it.”
See also: sow, to, wild
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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