Some great nature idioms are:
- It’s against nature.
- Allow nature to take its course.
- You’re a force of nature.
- You’re a freak of nature.
Read on for all 24 idioms! (For idioms and metaphors about things related to nature, like trees, flowers and rivers, skip to here).
List of Nature Idioms
1. Against Nature
Meaning: Something that is against nature is a thing that seems evil, unnatural or immoral. It highlights that somethings are wrong no matter what, regardless of laws in society.
Example: “Murder is abhorrent and against nature.”
2. Allow Nature to Take its Course
Meaning: We say this to refer to something that you will leave and not attempt to control. You could use this term when you are saying you’re going to stop interfering with something or not participate in an activity.
Example: “This is an injury that’s going to heal on its own. You just need to let nature take its course.”
3. Die a Natural Death
Meaning: This means that someone did not die of an accident or foul play (like, for example, murder). Rather, they died of old age or a disease that is typical of elderly people. It implies that you have died in a way and at a time (usually old age) that is to be expected.
Some people will also say this when they refuse treatment that could save their life. Instead of going through the pain of treatment, they might just say “I want to be left to die a natural death.”
Example: “He was an old man who died a natural death in his bed one night.”
4. Force of Nature
Meaning: Something that is a force of nature cannot be stopped. Literally, a force of nature is something like a tornado or earthquake that will be unstoppable.
But, a force of nature is also idiomatically used to refer to a person who is:
- Strong-willed and insisting on getting their own way.
- Impossible to stop.
Example: “My wife is a force of nature. She will get her own way on this, I’m sure.”
5. Freak of Nature
Meaning: A freak of nature is someone who is extraordinarily skilled. It refers to the idea that nature produced someone who is a remarkable outlier. It usually either refers to intellect or physical abilities.
For example, a person who is excellent at chess and a person who is an excellent runner could both be seen as freaks of nature.
Example: “Hussain Bolt was a freak of nature when he ran the 100 meter race.”
Meaning: A person or animal who is good-natured is seen to have a happy, kind and moral personality. This personality appears to be ‘in their nature’ and not faked or forced.
Example: “My dog is very good-natured so you can go ahead and pet him.”
7. In my Nature
Meaning: If something is in your nature, it is a trait that seems like you were born with. We say this about dogs and cats as well. For example, you might have a cat that is scared of humans. You could say his fear is in his nature.
Example: “It’s in my nature to remain relaxed in tense situations.”
8. It Comes Naturally
Meaning: If something comes naturally, you are good at it right away. You don’t have to try and you’re good at it. For example, you might start playing football and find out that you’re really good at it on your very first game. People would say that football came naturally to you.
Example: “Playing piano comes naturally to me so I don’t need to practice very much.”
9. Mother Nature
Meaning: This is a phrase we use when referring to nature as something that gives us life and nurtures us like a mother would. Nature gives us food, water, warmth and shelter. So, it has a motherly role in our world.
Example: “I’m going camping for a week to spend some time with mother nature.”
10. My Better Nature
Meaning: This implies that all people have a good side and a bad side in their personality. Your better nature is your good side. It’s the things about you that you think are moral and kind, and the things you want to be known for.
Example: “My better nature is telling me to help that old man cross the street.”
11. Natural Born
Meaning: Natural born has two meanings. First, it could mean that you have characteristics that you have had since the day you were born (naturally happy, moody, intelligent). Second, it could mean that you have a status that you were given upon birth. For example, you could be a natural born King or even a natural born citizen of a county.
Example: “It’s my natural born right to be a citizen of this country because my parents are, too.”
12. Nature Abhors a Vacuum
Meaning: This term comes from Aristotle, who observed that nature tends to fill empty spaces. We can use this term when talking about a deserted house, for example. Before long, leaves and vines will start growing in there to fill the space.
We will also use it to refer to any time an empty space is quickly filled be something – nature or not – because it’s also in our nature to fill empty spaces.
Example: “That person just took the spot in front of me in the line while I wasn’t looking. I should have filled it so he didn’t have the chance. Nature abhors a vacuum.”
13. Nature Calls
Meaning: This is a euphemism for going to the bathroom. It is a way of saying that you don’t really have a choice about when to go to the bathroom as your body tells you when to do it. While regularly used when relieving yourself in the woods, it can also be used to excuse yourself from a social situation.
Example: “Please excuse me from the dinner table for a moment, but nature calls.”
14. Nature Stop
Meaning: Similar to ‘nature calls’, nature stop is a euphemism for going to the bathroom. It’s most commonly used on long haul busses or long car rides. You might stop every 2 hours or so for a ‘nature stop’, meaning a stop that’s primarily designed for people to go to the bathroom.
Example: “We’ve been driving for 2 hours so we should pull over at the next opportunity for a nature stop.”
15. Nature versus Nurture
Meaning: This is a phrase we use to discuss whether people’s (or dogs’) personalities are mainly due to:
- Nature: We are born with certain traits that will shape our life.
- Nurture: We are the way we are because of how we are raised by our families and communities.
I think it’s probably somewhere half-way between!
Example: “This child’s behavior is terrible. Do you think it’s due to nature or nurture?”
16. Nature’s Way
Meaning: We say this in two situations.
First, you can say that you’re going to decide to do something the way it was done in the past before fancy technologies. For example, having a baby nature’s way would be to decide not to have a caesarean but rather have a natural birth.
Second, you can use the phrase to refer to signs from your body that are telling you something. For example, a stomach ache might be nature’s way to tell you to stop eating!
Example: “I’m going to have a baby nature’s way by having a home birth.”
17. Second Nature
Meaning: If something is your second nature, it’s a habit that you do without even noticing. You’ve become very comfortable doing it and maybe even have muscle memory. You could “do this in your sleep.”
Example: “As a chef, slicing onions has become second nature to me. I could do it in my sleep.”
18. Self-Preservation is the First Law of Nature
Meaning: We will all fight out hardest to protect ourselves and stay alive because it’s in our DNA. All animals seem to have this instinct.
Example: “He’s running away from that bear! Well, you know what they say. Self-preservation is the first law of nature.”
19. State of Nature
Meaning: To live in a state of nature is to be living outside of the normal rules of society and civilization. We will use it when referring to people living off-grid, living off the land, and who generally do not spend time among mainstream society.
Example: “Let’s go camping in the backcountry and just live in a state of nature for a week.”
20. The Nature of the Beast
Meaning: Something that is “the nature of the beast” is a trait that’s the core characteristics of something that cannot be changed (so don’t even bother).
We might often use this phrase when talking about something that just cannot be changed because it seems like it’s just built-into it. For example, if you look at US politics and think it’s corrupt, you might say: “well, that’s just the nature of the beast.”
Example: “The ocean gets very rough just before sunset on this beach, but there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s just the nature of the beast.”
21. Nature Therapy
Meaning: This is a phrase we often use when talking about the sense of relaxation and recouperation you can get out in nature. Instead of going to see a therapist (or going shopping – which we sometimes also call shopping therapy), you might need a day out hiking to refresh and feel good about life again.
Example: “I need to get out of the city for a bit of nature therapy for a few days.”
22. The Laws of Nature
Meaning: We have many laws in our society to help ensure civilization prospers. These are things like property law, bylaws and tax laws.
But laws of nature are the fundamental universal physical laws that exist no matter what. They are things like gravity (it’s something that we are all constrained by!), the speed of light, and the fact water boils at 100 degrees centigrade.
Example: “Don’t jump off the roof. The laws of nature will make sure you come crashing down to the ground!”
23. The Natural Course of Things
Meaning: This phrase is used to refer to things that happen without us interfering, and might be considered the ‘circle of life’. You are born, you are young, you get married, you have babies, you get old, you die.
Sometimes you might disagree with someone over the natural course of things. One person might consider marriage to be natural while the other considers it to be a strange anachronism.
Example: “Growing old is part of the natural course of life. No use getting upset about it.”
24. Act of Nature
Meaning: This term is regularly used as a legal term, often interchangeable with ‘Act of God’. It refers to things that are considered to have been unexpected and uncontrollable.
In legal documents, the term often provides people a way to exit a contract if an ‘act of nature’ such as a hurricane or earthquake occurs.
Example: “I promise I will give you a drive to the airport unless an act of nature prevents me.”
Other Nature Related Sayings
- List of Beach Idioms
- List of Mountain Metaphors
- List of Summer Metaphors
- List of Winter Metaphors
- List of Spring Metaphors
- List of Sky Metaphors
- List of Snow Metaphors
- List of Cloud Metaphors
Nature is one of the most important elements of our world. It feeds us and gives us water and shelter. That’s why we have so many idioms describing it.
We often see it as a ‘mother’ for all its nurturing qualities, as well as something that is ‘pure’ or ‘true’ in contrast to the impurity of civilization.
I’m a Scorpio, I love the outdoors, and I’ve written articles in some major online publications like Medium and The Weekly. My favorite metaphor? Anything that’s got to do with baseball. I’m fascinated by the fact our language has baseball weaved all through it. Read more about me here.