What is a sheep?

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.

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

Click on the pictures below to learn some common idioms and expressions with sheep. Each idiom includes the meaning and a real-life picture example.​

common idioms - animal idioms - sheep idioms and sayings - learn real life English
sheep sayings - black sheep of the family
sheep sayings - count sheep
sheep sayings - in two shakes of a lamb’s tail
sheep idioms and expressions - like lambs to the slaughter
sheep idioms and expressions - like lambs to the slaughter
sheep idioms and expressions - wolf in sheep’s clothing

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.