Word Nerd Wednesday – Flat Out Like a Lizard Drinking


Welcome to another edition of Word Nerd Wednesday! Last week I gave your vocabulary a little boost by introducing the word prestidigitation and asking you to tell me what you thought it meant. I either have some very clever readers, or I gave too big a hint when I said Wren Lockhart from Kristy Cambron’s latest release, The Illusionist’s Apprentice, would be familiar with this.

Specifically, prestidigitation is sleight of handWhile none of my commenters used that phrase specifically, they were all on the right track; so well done!

On to this week’s word adventure. I have to confess, I’ve been really busy this week and had no idea what I was going to do when I sat down to start this post. As it turns out, that was inspiration in itself, because I began to think about all the different ways I could express the idea that I have been really busy. There are the really obvious and overused ones like busy as a beaver or busy as a bee, but then I remembered one of those quintessential Aussie sayings that would be just perfect to share:

I’ve been flat out like a lizard drinking. 

More often than not, this expression is shortened to ‘flat out’ or even ‘flat chat’ or ‘flat strap’. If an Aussie says to you, “I’ve been flat out,” or “I’ve been flat chat,” they mean they’ve been really busy. The reference to the lizard drinking is because of the rapid tongue movements a lizard makes in order to drink.

Conversely, flat out like a lizard drinking can also be used sarcastically to mean someone has been busy doing very little. When a lizard is drinking, its tongue may well be going ten to the dozen, but the rest of it is having a grand old time stretched out in the sun and soaking up some rays. Give me a book, and I’ll happily work flat out all day!

So what I want to know this week is, what sayings do you know of that mean someone is really busy? Or maybe you’re super creative and you can come up with a brand new expression for us all to try out. Let me know what you’ve got!

Happy word nerding!

About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
This entry was posted in Word Nerd Wednesday and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Word Nerd Wednesday – Flat Out Like a Lizard Drinking

  1. Jeanne says:

    Busier than a one-armed paper hanger.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Janet W. Ferguson says:

    In my book Blown Together, Roy Bosarge says, “Sounds like you’re busier than a one-legged cat in a litter box.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hopeperch says:

    Too many irons in the fire 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. courtney207 says:

    Well, the first one that comes to mind is a little bit slang… “busier/working harder than a 1-legged man in a butt-kicking contest”. 🙂

    Another expression I’ve heard is “I’m so busy I’m meeting myself coming and going”, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Weekend Book Buzz – 25/26 March 2017 | Fiction Aficionado

  6. Ray Cullen says:

    I think you meant the lizard’s tongue would be “going TWENTY to the dozen”….it has to be MORE than 12-creates an image of great speed .
    Another saying epitomizing busyness… “busier than a centipede at a toe-counting contest.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, you’re partly right. Apparently the correct saying when you’re referring to something fast is nineteen to the dozen. Ten to the dozen means something is very common. And your comment has inspired my next Word Nerd Wednesday post, so thank you!


  7. Pingback: Word Nerd Wednesday – Ten to the Dozen | Fiction Aficionado

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.