Sawing Logs – An Innocent Phrase for Snoring

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Alison Page

Alison has worked full-time in the writing industry for over ten years, using her knowledge and life experience to create online content, fiction and non-fiction. Alison has published two novels and has ghost-written several non-fiction equestrian books for a client. Alison has been a full-time professional content writer for almost ten years and loves her work as a wordsmith.

Sawing logs is a funny way of saying someone is snoring loudly and making a sound like a saw cutting through wood while they’re asleep.

Idioms, such as sawing logs, are expressions used in a figurative sense to convey meaning, though some may have a literal interpretation. Mastering the use of these English language idioms enhances your ability to communicate effectively, particularly in creative speech and writing.

This guide examines this idiom’s meaning, origin, and usage. It also provides handy examples of its use, variations, related phrases, and tips for effective usage. At the end of the article, you can take a quick quiz to test your knowledge of this idiom. So, keep reading to learn how to use sawing logs in your everyday speech and written work.

Sawing Logs – An Innocent Phrase for Snoring

What Does the Idiom Sawing Logs Mean?

The idiom sawing logs is used to describe someone who is snoring loudly and consistently while sleeping. It humorously likens the sound of snoring to the noise produced by sawing logs, highlighting the often rhythmic and repetitive nature of the snoring sounds.

Let me tell you, my fiance’s snoring is a dead ringer for someone sawing logs, so I totally understand the origin of the idiom! There are nights when I have to make a quick escape to the peaceful spare bedroom, opting for the soothing purrs of the cats instead of the disruptive symphony of snores.

Literal Meaning vs. Figurative Meaning

The literal meaning of saw logs is to cut wood or logs using a manual handsaw. In contrast, the figurative meaning refers to the sound made by someone snoring while they are asleep.

Variations of Sawing Logs

Here are a few variations of the idiom sawing logs:

  • Sawing wood
  • Cutting timber
  • Logging away
  • Chainsaw serenade
  • Timber symphony
  • Lumberjack’s lullaby

How Is Sawing Logs Commonly Used in Context?

The idiom sawing logs paints a humorous picture of someone snoring loudly during sleep, likening the sound to the rhythmic noise produced by sawing logs. To explore the versatility of this amusing expression, the following sections offer valuable insights:

What Are the Different Ways to Use Sawing Logs?

  • Literal description: “Last night, I couldn’t sleep at all because my roommate was sawing logs.”
  • Observational humor: “Uncle Joe fell asleep on the couch and started sawing logs at the family reunion. We had to wake him up; he was getting too loud!”
  • Complaining about noisy sleepers: “I booked a room at a very expensive hotel, but the guy in the next room spent the whole night sawing logs. It was impossible to get any sleep at all!”
  • Jokes about snoring: “My dog loves to sleep in my room, but he was sawing logs like a lumberjack last night. I had to kick him out!”
  • Sleepover experiences:  “We had a sleepover at my friend Sarah’s house, but her dad was in the next room sawing logs all night. We had to stuff our ears with pillows to drown out the noise!”
  • Metaphorical use: “During the annual board meeting, I noticed my boss in the corner, head back, eyes closed, and practically sawing logs. I guess the presentation wasn’t as interesting as we thought.”

Where Can You Find Examples of Sawing Logs?

Sawing logs is an idiomatic expression that you’ll hear used in casual conversation and writing. The phrase is often used in books, movies, TV shows, and everyday conversation.

Here are a few instances of it being used in some online publications:

The start was a sleepy one, with the first puck dropped a little after 1 p.m. and the Blue Jackets still sawing logs. (The Columbus Dispatch)

If you forget to come prepared—or find out too late that your buddy saws logs—this quick download will do the trick. (Outside Magazine)

What Are Some Tips for Using Sawing Logs Effectively?

  • Context matters: The idiom sawing logs is a playful, light-hearted expression, so it works well in informal contexts or when discussing non-serious subjects in a humorous way.
  • Tone and delivery: Whether speaking or writing, ensure your tone is friendly and not overly critical of the person who was heard sawing logs. Use a tone that reflects the fun nature of the idiom.
  • Use the idiom appropriately: Use the idiom in situations where snoring or loud sleeping is the focus. However, remember it might not be suitable in serious, formal, academic, or business settings.
  • Avoid overuse: While sawing logs is a common and effective way to express loud snoring, consider using other related expressions to keep your language varied and interesting.
  • Know your audience: Be aware of your audience and their familiarity with idiomatic expressions and the English language in general. Non-native English speakers might not be familiar with this particular idiom.
  • Use in anecdotes or stories: Incorporate the idiom into anecdotes or stories to make your communication more engaging and entertaining.

What Is the Origin of the Idiom Sawing Logs?

Sawing Logs Ngram
Sawing logs usage trend.

The idiom sawing logs is known to have been in use by the turn of the 20th century. Comic strips of the time show speech bubbles depicting a saw in a log to indicate that the character is asleep and snoring. 

Presumably, the idiom saw logs was in use long before this time when the old saw powered by the sweat of a lumberjack or other woodworkers was used. The connection is easy to understand when you hear the blade of a handsaw cutting wood, especially when applied to the wood grain in hardwood such as red oak, white oak, maple, or walnut. 

How Did the Idiom Evolve Over Time?

Wood cutting through logs or lumber sounds like the buzzing snore of someone sleeping heavily. The need to cut logs and lumber in the 18th and 19th centuries for various types of woodworking was universal, and the sound of sawing was common, hence the idiom’s popular use in casual, often humorous conversation.

What Are Some Related Terms to Sawing Logs?

Synonyms and antonyms can illustrate how and when to use the idiom and when alternatives might be more appropriate.

Sawing Logs – An Innocent Phrase for Snoring 1


  • Sleeping soundly
  • Snoring loudly
  • Catching some Z’s
  • In the land of Nod
  • Out like a light


  • Sleeping like a baby
  • Silent slumber
  • Peaceful rest
  • Gentle snoozing
  • Serene sleep
  • Tranquil dreaming

Sawing Logs: Test Your Knowledge!

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What Have We Learned About Sawing Logs?

In wrapping up our discussion on sawing logs, we’ve laid bare its meaning, origin, and effective usage, even sprinkling in a few handy examples for your understanding. This idiom, like many others, adds a splash of color and creativity to our communication. 

Don’t stop here! Our site offers an abundance of idiom guides for your exploration. So, enhance your command of language and continue delving into the dynamic world of idioms. Ready for more? Don’t hesitate to take advantage of our other helpful guides. Happy reading, and remember, keep sawing logs in your conversations and writings!