Simon先生の英語ブログで学ぶ使える英語表現ーA snake in the grass「油断ならない人」

Simon先生の英語ブログで学ぶ使える英語表現ーA snake in the grass「油断ならない人」

Hello, this is Simon.


The other day, I was late leaving my daycare center, so in a hurry to catch my train. I walked out of the driveway and hurriedly along the footpath. To my left was the grounds of the daycare center separated by a fence. There were a few trees on the other side of the fence and as I got closer to one of the trees I noticed a strange looking branch or vine coming off the tree and partway through the fence. I went in to get a closer look and suddenly realized it was a snake! I nearly jumped out of my skin. I called the daycare center to inform them and continued walking the snaking path to the station.

I thought back to when I arrived there earlier that day, and saw a large group of kids sitting under that exact tree, being told off by the P.E. teacher. I got chills wondering if the snake had been in the tree at that time.

The P.E. teacher was very angry, you could even say he was as mad as a cut snake. It was something to do with all of the kids talking to each other while making a human pyramid. I chuckled, because it was exactly the kind of thing they would do. One of my students wasn’t even listening to him. He was trying to talk to the girl a beside him. Typical of him I thought as well. She was ignoring him, which was a good thing as he could sometimes be a bit of a snake in the grass.

That same student turned out to be the reason I was late to leave. Near the end of the last lesson, I noticed he was holding one of my whiteboard markers; He’ll often take things when I’m not looking. He’s as slippery as a snake. I told him to put it back, which he did, but when it came time to pack up, I couldn’t find it. I smiled knowing that he had gotten one over me again. I spent a good 15 minutes looking for it to no avail. I decided to just give up the search, and opened my bag to put a couple of things away, and there it was. He had hidden it in my bag. I thought to myself “If it had been a snake, it would have bit you. Why didn’t you look there first?” (It wasn’t the first time for him to hide something there.)

Not only was I late to leave, but even after racing to get to the station, I arrived just in time to see the train doors close and the train leave without me. I looked like I had been snakebit that day.”



“snaking path”

If something “snakes” or is “snaking” it means it is winding in the same way a snake does when it moves. It can be used for something moving (e.g. The river snaked along for many miles.) or for something stationary (e.g. The path snaked along through the mountains.)

“as mad as a cut snake”

The expression to be “as mad as a (cut) snake” means to be very angry. It can also mean to be completely crazy, as one meaning of mad is to be crazy

(e.g. Don’t approach that guy. He is as mad as a cut snake.)


“snake in the grass”

A “snake in the grass” is someone who you can’t trust, especially someone who pretends to be your friend, but actually has some ulterior motive

(e.g. He never returned the money I loaned him. What a snake in the grass!)


“as slippery as a snake”

To be “as slippery as a snake” means to be very sly or cunning, and good at concealing one’s true intentions

(e.g. He has been sued on numerous occasions, but he always gets off without having to pay. He’s as slippery as a snake.)


“If it had been a snake, it would have bit you”

This is used for when something is so obvious that you can’t miss it. The most common used is when you spend time looking for something and it turns out to be in a very obvious place or very close to where you are

(e.g. How could you have not seen your wallet. It was right there in front of you. If it had been a snake, it would have bit you!”



To be “snakebit” means to be experiencing bad luck

(e.g. The teams star player seemed to have been snakebit this year. Every time he played, he seemed to suffer some serious injury.



See you next month!



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Hello! My name is Simon. I am from New Zealand, and have been living and teaching English in Japan since 1999. My hobbies include movies, playing the guitar, gardening and hiking.