a little bird told me

a little bird told me

Meaning

  • It is used when a person is trying to hide the source of his information.
  • It indicates that the person knows something that is a secret and wants to withhold the identity of the person who let him know about it.

Example Sentences

  1. I’d like to believe that a little birdie told you about my secret but I know exactly who it was that let you in on it.
  2. A little bird told me that it is your wedding anniversary today.
  3. A little bird has told me all about your journey to New York.

Origin
Messenger birds and pigeons may have been the source for this phrase. It has been used in the Holy Bible too, Ecclesiastes 10:20. John Heywood explained a slightly different version in 1562 which was edited again in 1906.

The phrase also appears in the Norse legend where Sigurd could hear and understand the birds after he slayed the dragon Fafnir. The birds warned him that Regin would kill him. Sir Richard Wagner also used birds instructing him to steal a helmet and ring through a small song. The communication of and with the birds is speculated as a source of origin or at least popularity of the phrase.

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