You all know what a sheep is right? If not, I’ll tell you…

A sheep is a farmyard animal with a thick woolly coat. They are kept for meat, milk, and wool. The singular form is sheep, and the plural is also sheep (not sheeps!). A baby sheep is called a lamb (the ‘b’ is silent), a male sheep is called a ram and a female is called a ewe (pronounced like ‘you’).


The word ‘sheep’ is a slang word for a person who is easily influenced by others and follows the crowd.

e.g. Don’t be a sheep, buy the trainers you like not the ones all the cool kids have.

sheep idioms and sayings

Here’s a list of idioms about sheep with some picture examples.

common idioms - animal idioms - sheep idioms and sayings - learn real life English

a wolf in sheep’s clothing

meaning – a dangerous person who pretends to be harmless
example – Be wary of Lucas. I’ve got no proof, but I think he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

sheep idioms and expressions - a wolf in sheep’s clothing

be a lamb

meaning – an endearing way to ask someone to do something for you
example – Can you be a lamb and drive me to work as it’s raining?

sheep idioms - be a lamb

by hook or by crook

meaning – by any means possible (honestly or dishonestly)
example – We’re going to win this competition by hook or by crook.

sheep idiom - by hook or by crook

count sheep

meaning – if you can’t sleep, you should count sheep
example – I counted over 3000 sheep last night. I just couldn’t sleep.

sheep sayings - count sheep

in two shakes of a lamb’s tail

meaning – in a very short time
example – I’ll be with you in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. I’ve got to send a couple of emails first.

sheep sayings - in two shakes of a lamb’s tail

like a lamb to the slaughter

meaning – be calm and unaware of the danger to come
example – Four boys waited like lambs to the slaughter outside the headmaster’s office.

sheep idioms and expressions - like a lamb to the slaughter

makes sheep’s eyes at

meaning – look at someone with affection
example – I swear Lisa’s boyfriend has been making sheep’s eyes at me all night.

sheep idioms - make sheep's eyes at

mutton dressed as lamb

meaning – an older woman who dresses in clothes that suit a much younger woman
example – My mum is mutton dressed as lamb; she should dress more appropriately.

sheep idioms and expressions - mutton dressed as lamb

one might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb

meaning – you will get the same punishment for a crime so may as well commit a bigger offence
example – I’ll borrow my sister’s shoes too; I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.

sheep idioms - one might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb

separate the sheep from the goats

meaning – decide from a group which is good, and which is bad
example – We have a training session tomorrow. Coach wants to separate the sheep from the goats.

sheep idioms - separate the sheep from the goats

the black sheep (of the family)

meaning –  the naughty/odd/different one
example – All my family are doctors, but my brother is unemployed. He’s the black sheep.

sheep sayings - the black sheep of the family

You can download a table of sheep idioms and sayings below.

If you’ve enjoyed this page, don’t forget to check out some more animal idioms by clicking on the links below.