Chasing rainbows

Learn the meaning of "chasing rainbows" and how to use this colorful idiom in everyday English with Studycat.

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Chasing rainbows

Well, well, well, if it isn’t our favorite bunch of curious cats! Today, we’re pouncing into a colorful idiom that might just leave you scratching your whiskers.

Ever heard someone say they’re “chasing rainbows”? No, they haven’t suddenly transformed into a meteorologist or a leprechaun.

Let’s uncover the real pot of gold behind this quirky phrase!

What does “chasing rainbows” mean?

Imagine you’re running through a field, paws outstretched, trying to catch a beautiful rainbow.

Silly, right?

That’s exactly what someone means when they say they’re “chasing rainbows” — they’re pursuing something that’s impossible to catch or achieve. It’s like trying to hug a cloud or tickle the moon.

So, if you hear your little kitten say, “I want to be a mermaid when I grow up!”, you might gently remind them, “Sweetie, that sounds magical, but let’s not go chasing rainbows.”

Where does “chasing rainbows” come from?

The idiom “chasing rainbows” likely comes from the old famous folktale where there’s a pot of gold hidden at the end of every rainbow. Of course, since rainbows are optical illusions, it’s impossible to actually reach the end of one — hence, chasing something unattainable.

But wait, there’s more!

The phrase might also be connected to a 16th-century poem by John Heywood, which reads: “The thing thou seekest is as far from thee as the rainbowe from the grounde.” In other words, what you’re chasing is as out of reach as a rainbow is from the earth.

How to use “chasing rainbows”

Ready to sprinkle some colorful idioms into your daily conversations? Here are a few examples of how you can use “chasing rainbows” with your little ones:

  • “I know you want to be a superhero by bedtime, but let’s not chase rainbows. How about we start by making a cool cape?"
  • "Trying to paint a masterpiece in five minutes might be like chasing rainbows. Take your time and enjoy the process!"
  • "I wish I could eat ice cream for every meal, but that would be like chasing rainbows. Let’s have a balanced diet with occasional treats!”

Other ways to say “pursuing the impossible”

While “chasing rainbows” is a fun phrase, there are plenty of other imaginative ways to express the same idea:

  • On a fool’s errand – This one’s perfect for when you’re sent to do something that’s just not possible!
  • Barking up the wrong tree – Imagine a dog barking at a tree, thinking a cat is up there… but it’s not. That’s what this phrase means!
  • A wild-goose chase – Picture a silly goose leading you on a chase that goes nowhere. That’s the essence of this idiom!

Fun ways to practice “chasing rainbows”

Alright, time for some paw-some fun! There’s lots of ways to help your child practice this English idiom.

You could create a silly scavenger hunt where you hide colorful objects around the house. Give your child a list of impossible tasks to find these items, like “Find the red sock in the fridge!” or “Locate the blue crayon in the bathtub!” As they search, remind them that they’re “chasing rainbows” and help them understand the meaning behind the phrase.

You can also have a giggle-filled storytime where you make up tales about characters who chase rainbows. Maybe it’s a bunny who wants to hop to the moon, or a goldfish who dreams of becoming a shark! Use these stories to teach your child about setting realistic goals and enjoying the journey, even if the destination is a bit out of reach.

So, there you have it, folks!

The idiom “chasing rainbows” is a playful way to help your little one understand the difference between dreams and reality. Remember, it’s okay to have a head full of colorful ideas – just don’t forget to balance them out with a healthy dose of practicality.

Happy rainbow chasing, everyone!