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Like a bull in a china shop

Like a bull in a china shop means behaving in a clumsy manner, behaving in a reckless manner, rushing head-long into a situation without forethought. When one behaves like a bull in a china shop, one inflicts damage, whether literally or figuratively. The idiom like a bull in a china shop may have its roots in a metaphor provided by Aesop of an ass in a pottery shop. The term like a bull in a china shop appears in the early 1800s and is popularized in cartoons and song. Interestingly, many other languages have similar idioms such as the French phrase un éléphant dans un magasin de porcelaine , which translates as  “an elephant in a porcelain store”, the Danish phrase en elefant i en glasbutik, which translates as “an elephant in a glass store”, and the Italian phrase un elefante in un negozio di cristalli, which translates as “an elephant in a china shop”. English is the only language in which the animal in question is a bull.


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Examples

Shortly after Gaby is introduced, Hammer’s Kuryakin literally enters like a bull in a china shop, setting his role up to be the almost neanderthal-like-brawn to Solo’s brains, and therein lies the simple but agreeable set-up that remains for the entirety of the film. (The International Business Times)

Elle Reid, a tart-tongued septuagenarian author who charges through life like a bull in a china shop, is the sort of character Lily Tomlin might have created decades ago and added to her repertoire alongside Ernestine the indiscreet telephone operator and Edith Ann, the philosophical 5-year-old in her oversized rocking chair. (Variety)

But he has been like a bull in a china shop when taking on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. (The Straits Times)

“Anytime you’re away from the game you’re eager to get back, and when you get back you’re kind of like a bull in a china shop,” Allen said. (The Kansas City Star)

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