Have you ever had a sore throat or a cough that made your voice sound funny?

If you’ve ever had a problem with your throat that made it hard to speak, don’t worry. It’s probably no big deal. Most likely, you just had a frog in your throat.

What?! A frog in the throat? That’s right! If you don’t remember swallowing a frog, that’s understandable. That would be hard to forget, wouldn’t it?

When you say someone has a frog in the throat, you’re using an idiom. An idiom is a phrase whose meaning is different from the meaning of the words themselves.

For example, if you looked up each word of an idiom in the dictionary, the expression wouldn’t make any sense — or at least not mean what the speaker intended it to mean.

If a person has a frog in the throat, it doesn’t mean that the person literally (actually) has a real frog in the throat. The phrase “frog in the throat” simply means the person is having trouble speaking due to a problem with the throat, such as hoarseness, phlegm, coughing or soreness.

“Frog in the throat” is a funny phrase, isn’t it? It’s a very vivid way of describing the fact that someone is having trouble speaking normally.

For some, the sound of a frog’s croak probably comes immediately to mind. For others, the phrase might conjure up an image of a frog sticking out of someone’s mouth!

Most likely, the phrase came about because of how a person with throat trouble sounds. Hoarseness, phlegm, coughing and soreness can cause the voice to sound much like the “croak” of a frog.

As the saying became popular, legend has it that scam artists — called “snake oil merchants“— would sell fake cures for throat problems. As these merchants advertised their wares in town squares, a helper with a sore throat would take the fake cure, pretend to cough up a live frog and suddenly regain his voice. Although it was quite deceptive, it must have been entertaining to watch!


22 Join the Discussion

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  (11 votes, avg. 4.45 out of 5)
  1. Wow!! How funny would it be to watch someone belch up a live frog (even if it was just for show)!! The video was a great mental picture of getting a frog stuck in your throat- we especially liked when the red lips ate the frog and then burped! :)
    We had never heard “idiom” before. It was a new word for us and we will definately be using it around our school today. Thanks again for another great wonder! We hope you don’t have a frog in your throat!! :)

    • We really enjoy hearing all the new things you learn when you leave us your GREAT comments, Kerrick Elementary Schoool EBD/2nd grade classroom!

      Idioms are super fun to figure out…they aren’t really what they “say” they are at all, are they? You can learn more about idioms by visiting some past Wonders of the Day about them! Here’s a link: http://bit.ly/qFyzuh. Have fun! :-)

  2. We loved the video! It was hilarious! Our teacher has a book of idioms titled “There’s a Frog in My Throat”. Thank you for the funny video!

    • Thank YOU for leaving us another AWESOME comment and for letting us know you liked the video for today’s Wonder, The Beach (Mrs. Guerin’s 2nd Grade Class)! We’d love to hear some of the idioms from Mrs. Guerin’s book! Did you know there are other interesting “idiom” Wonders to explore? You can visit them here: http://bit.ly/qFyzuh. :-)

  3. The video was great….me and my friends had fun with it. Thank you a lot for this web site. I like to go on it as much as I can at my grama’s house or at school.

    • We’d like to thank YOU for being such an awesome Wonder Friend and leaving us this great comment, Nova! We’re happy to hear that you visit Wonderopolis whenever you get the chance. Maybe you can share Wonderopolis with your Grandmother the next time you are at her house. Then you can BOTH learn some new, WONDERful things! :-)

    • We’re glad you liked the frog video, Ziyanah! You keep sending us your super great comments, and we’ll keep letting you know how much we appreciate them, OK? Have an AWESOME day! :-)

    • You’re welcome, Ziyanah! Let us know what you and your classmates think about the wrinkly dog video from Wonder of the Day® #339 when you get a chance to watch it, ok? It’s super cute! Have a GREAT day! :-)

  4. When the French want to say this, it is “J’ai un chat dans la gorge” which literally translates to “I have a cat in my throat!”. Why don’t they say frog, too?

  5. Wow really cool video! Getting a frog stuck in your throat doesn’t literally mean you have a frog in your throat, it’s an expression! ;)

  6. Oh gosh if you had a frog in your throat you sound like a frog every time you speak. Then people will thing your a fruman (cross of frog and human) or a huog.

    • He he, Tyler J you’re doing a great job of creating animals today! You’ve been doing a SUPER job of using your creativity– way to go, Wonder Friend! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Have you ever had a frog in your throat?
  • What is an idiom?
  • How can you cure a frog in the throat?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Got a frog in your throat? Here are some ways to get rid of that frog and make your throat feel better:

  • Drink plenty of water, and make sure you get enough sleep.
  • Use over-the-counter nasal sprays or mucous thinners.
  • Gargle with warm salt water.
  • Suck on hard candy or throat lozenges.
  • Use a heating pad on your throat or breathe steam from a hot shower.

If your throat is feeling fine, put your brain to work. Can you come up with some new idioms for the following situations?

  • You have a bad headache.
  • You’re extremely tired.
  • Your arm muscles ache.
  • Your stomach hurts.
  • Your ears are clogged, and you can’t hear very well.

Try to think of some imaginative idioms you could use to describe the situations listed above. For example, instead of saying your ears are clogged, you might say you’ve got fog in your ears.

Be creative! Think in terms of images that will vividly convey your intended meaning.

When you’re finished, we’d love to read what you come up with. Email us some of your idioms!


Still Wondering

Check out National Geographic Xpeditions’ Frog Alert! Frog Alert! lesson to learn more about the fascinating creatures we call frogs!


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