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Re: Lizard breath

Posted by Antiquary on April 21, 2006

In Reply to: Re: Lizard breath posted by Brian from Shawnee on April 20, 2006

: : : I heard someone call someone "lizard breath". What does it mean and what is the origin?

: : I don't know a specific origin for this phrase, but it's clearly meant as an insult, either real or facetious. I seriously doubt the breath of a lizard is any worse or more offensive than that of a cow or cocker spaniel, but humans have a deep-seated fear and distrust of lizards, and we are willing to attribute lots of evil to them. (Cows and cocker spaniels look a lot more like people than komodo dragons or garter snakes, so we respond accordingly.)

: You can use any objectionable noun or phrase, followed by "breath" as an insult. One famous one is "penis breath" uttered by the character Elliot in the movie ET to his older brother. Older viewers of American late-night television might remember Johnny Carson's Carnac the Magnificent using that type of insult a lot (e.g., "blow-on-soup breath" if the subject was etiquette).

Komodo dragons have notoriously foul breath because of their habit of eating rotten carcases. Any significance in that?