Phish fish fish Phish fish

Animal Names That Are Verbs

I’m having lots of fun painting watercolor images that are plays on words. Paintings that show fish fishing. Or buffalos buffaloing (threatening). It made me curious – how many animal names are also verbs?

Here we go!

Fish

One of the most obvious. A fish is a swimming creature. The word fish also means to try to catch one of those creatures on a hook. Fish fish. What if they like the band Phish? Phish fish fish Phish fish.

Buffalo

Another one I love. Buffalo is a large four-legged animal from the central US. To buffalo someone is to intimidate them. Buffalo happens to be a city in New York state. So buffalo animals from Buffalo who intimidate other buffalos from Buffalo end up being Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

Those two work because the plural of fish is fish. The plural of buffalo is buffalo.

Grouse is like that, too.

Grouse

A grouse is a bird. To grouse is to complain. So you could have Grouse grouse about grouse. Grouse is also slang in Australia for excellent. So grouse grouse grouse! Also, there’s a town of Grouse in Oregon. So if you had Oregon birds doing this behavior, it would be Grouse grouse grouse grouse. Can I get another Grouse in there somehow?

Pike

A pike is a fish. To pike something is to stab them with a pike (a long weapon). So you could have pike pike pike!

If you have an animal where the singular and plural are different, than the sentence isn’t quite so perfect. There are a number of animals that are the same singular and plural, like antelope, bison, boar, caribou, cattle, cod, deer, elk, goldfish, haddock, kiwi, moose, ostrich, quail, reindeer, salmon, sheep, shrimp, swine, tuna, and whale. But most of those aren’t verbs, which makes sentence construction hard. For most of the rest of the animals, you add an S or ES at the end when it turns plural, which sort of foils that symmetry.

Ape

The word ape also means to mimic someone. So you could have Ape apes ape.

Badger

This persistent animal rarely gives up. So you have Badger badgers badger.

Bear

To bear something is to carry it or endure it. So a bear carrying another bear would be bear bears bear.

Duck

To duck is to lower down beneath something. So if ducks are trying to avoid being hit by an incoming flying bird, then ducks duck duck.

Ferret

Also based on natural behavior, a ferret loves to dig into things to get to them. So a ferret ferrets out ferret could work.

Fox

A fox is a cute little red animal. To fox someone is to trick them. What if a fox worked for the Fox news network? And tricked another reporter? Fox fox foxes Fox fox. Or if you had a lot of foxes doing it, Fox foxes fox Fox fox.

Monkey

You can monkey around with something – play curiously with it. So if a monkey plays around with another monkey, you could have monkey monkeys with monkey.

Parrot

If you had a bird mimicking another bird, you could have Parrot parrots parrot.

Rat

Poor rats get a bad reputation! You dirty rat? What if it’s a clean rat? But if a rat betrays another rat, then Rat rats on rat.

Snipe

A snipe is a beautiful bird. Why does it mean to criticize someone? If a bird criticizes another bird, that’s when a snipe snipes snipe.

Sow

To sow seeds is to plant them. If a pig was planting another pig for some reason, you’d have sow sows sow!

Squirrel

To squirrel away something is to hide it for later, like a squirrel hides its nuts. So if a squirrel hides away a squirrel, that is Squirrel squirrels away squirrel.

Swallow

To swallow something is to eat it (or drink it, I suppose). So if a bird eats another bird, you could have swallow swallows swallow.

Weasel

Weasels are so cute! To weasel out of something is to squiggle out of it. So I can imagine Weasel weasels out of problem. Can you really have Weasel weasels out of weasels?

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