a bull in a china shop

Click below to listen to the phrase.


Choose the correct definition : a, b or c.

a) someone clumsy

Well done ! That’s the right answer.

If someone is like ’a bull in a china shop’, they are rather clumsy in a delicate situation.

French translation

un éléphant dans un magasin de porcelaine

How NOT to translate : *un taureau dans un magasin de porcelaine


Examples in context

‘Fernando Ricksen : ’I’m not the kind of person to give up’

Reading Fernando Ricksen’s life story, updated and translated into English for the first time is a thoroughly surreal experience.

There is the guy in the book and there is the guy in the room of a Glasgow hotel on Friday morning. The same man, but different. The hero of the autobiography is a drinker, a carouser, a hell-raiser to beat all hell-raisers. He’s belligerent, unpredictable and partial to cocaine.
He has the self-control of a drunk in a brewery and the self-awareness of a bull in a china shop. He’s your worst nightmare. The neighbour from hell.’

BBC News Sport, 16 May 2014


‘Stop and search : I was really scared and shaking
Officers must have reasonable grounds to stop and search in the first place. PC Denzel says they use it carefully and respectfully.
"Stop and search is there to prevent crime but it’s not always necessary to go down that route.
"We don’t want to go at it like a bull in a china shop. You might have to deal with drunk people or those who don’t have much love for the police. They also use cameras mounted on jackets to record any stop and search’’. ‘

BBC News, 23 Sep. 2013


Everyday usage

Be careful with what you say during the meeting. Do not go into it like a bull in a china shop.

I can’t believe you did that ! You really are a bull in a china shop.

b) someone loud

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.

c) someone angry

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.

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