Feel one’s oats

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Feel one’s oats is an American idiom. We will examine the meaning of the common saying feel one’s oats, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

To feel one’s oats means to feel bold, to feel empowered, or to feel frisky, sometimes to the point of arrogance. Usually, the term feel one’s oats is used when the speaker is feeling tolerant of the subject’s enthusiasm, even if it is a little cocksure. The expression feel one’s oats is an American idiom that came into use in the early 1800s. The image is of a colt that has been fed and is feeling energetic. Related phrases are feels one’s oats, felt one’s oats, feeling one’s oats.


From time to time as a pitcher, you’re feeling your oats a little bit and will say something like that: ‘Hey, just get me one because they’re not gonna (score).’ (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

“I feel my oats sometimes and I make a quip, some snide, snarky comment.” (Houston Chronicle)

This partly reflects so-called “risk on” sentiment – investors are feeling their oats as the odds of a smooth presidential transition, a return of inflationary pressures and sizeable Covid-19 relief for households all rise. (Reuters)