What does "Rabid, rabid" mean in this image?

Thank you

enter image description here

  • 37
    I don't know what the source for that is, but it is terrible English. Did the princess really mean "Become a prince. You arouse me sexually. I don't find you sexually arousing. Become a frog."
    – James K
    Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 21:10
  • 3
    @JamesK Not to be rude to the author, but I don't think the cartoon is very interesting or funny. I'm not sure if "you turn me on" here means "I find you sexually arousing" or ... what.
    – Jay
    Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 2:41
  • 1
    @JamesK Given that it appears to be a children's cartoon, I'd be inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt and assume that "you turn me off" isn't using the sexual meaning of that phrase (e.g. to provoke disinterest), but I don't think "turn me on" can be used that way.
    – nick012000
    Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 13:33
  • 24
    Since this is ELL, just for what it's worth, I suggest not using whatever source that came from to learn English. The English above is...not good (not least because of the "rabid" thing, which no competent English speaker would use as the noise for a frog). Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 16:19
  • 1
    I suspect there's a (poor) pun at work here.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 18:53

4 Answers 4


"Rabid, rabid" here is just imitating the noise that a frog makes. Like we say "The dog says 'woof'" or "The cat says 'meow'". The fact that "rabid" is a word referring to an animal disease is just a coincidence.

I think it's more common for English speakers to say that a frog says "ribbit" or "ribbid", but in this context I don't see any significance to the non-standard attempt to spell out the sound.

  • 17
    I think it's an unfortunate choice of a word to represent a frog's sound. "Rabid" also metaphorically means "raging insanely". Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 17:13
  • 2
    @JackO'Flaherty Yes. I'm not sure if there was intended to be a double meaning there or if it was just a poor choice of a word.
    – Jay
    Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 2:42
  • 13
    I suspect the nonstandard spelling is because the translation was not done by a fluent English speaker. The rest of the wording also is unnatural.
    – Barmar
    Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 16:00
  • 5
    I agree with others that while this answer seems to have correctly guessed at the intended meaning of the phrase, "rabid, rabid" is not what frogs say in English; they say "ribbit" or make a croaking noise. This answer is being a little too kind to the source in question.
    – bob
    Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 16:36
  • 5
    Frogs do not say, "Rabid, Rabid." No. Cats do not say, "Puke, Puke" and dogs do not say "Ouch, Ouch". Best to choose a sound that does not already stand for some other negative event or action. Maybe a See & Say?
    – EllieK
    Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 17:13

"Rabid" is not what frogs say in idiomatic English

As other answers have indicated, the source in question appears to be trying to represent the sound a frog makes. It made several mistakes unfortunately, and don't seem to be a good source for learning English. While "rabid" is understandable in context (if somewhat jarring), using it out of context would be downright confusing, since "rabid" means "having rabies".

The idiomatic spelling is "ribbit"

It is the conventional and idiomatic way to spell the sound in question in English.

Find another ESL resource

The resource in question tries hard, but is not a good representation of English. There are many non-idiomatic phrases, and the phrases "turn on" and "turn off" as used imply sexual arousal, something not appropriate in a children's book, indicating the possibility that the text was translated incorrectly from another language. A better resource is Woodward English (I'm not affiliated with them in any way, but have used their materials in my own ESL classes): https://www.woodwardenglish.com/

  • -1 To say that the conventional form is "correct" and other forms are incorrect is to trat this as far more rule-based than actual English usage is, and is itself incorrect. One can say that a given term is "standard" or "conventional" or on the other hand is "non-standard." but that does not make it "incorrect". It may or may not be confusing in a given context. Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 17:00
  • 9
    I'm using "correct" and "incorrect" as short-hand to indicate the likelihood of being understand/accepted as speaking correctly in conversational English. In that context, e.g. "ain't" would be correct, while "amn't" would not, since people use the former but not the latter. Likewise in conversation "ribbit" is "correct" since it is commonly used (when making frog sounds would be appropriate :)), and "rabid" is "incorrect" since it's not commonly used in speech. Just to clarify.
    – bob
    Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 17:02
  • 3
    I think you will find on this site "incorrect" is generally used to mean "violating a widely accepted rule of usage or grammar" and other terms such as "not idiomatic", "not natural", "uncommon", "non-standard", "awkward" "unusual"", and "unclear" are used to indicate that something would not often be said or written by native or fluent speakers. Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 17:08
  • @DavidSiegel Ok. I'm fine with changing my terms to go with the crowd. Thanks for the info--I'm new to this group.
    – bob
    Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 17:09
  • Updated to use "idiomatic"
    – bob
    Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 17:10

"Rabid Rabid" here is intended to represent the croaking noise that a frog makes. It is more often represented as "Ribbit, Ribbit." As with other traditional representations of animal sounds, like "Moo" for a cow, "Meow" for a cat, "Caw" for a crow, and so on, it is at best a rough approximation to the actual sound.

  • 20
    "Ribbit" has apparently come to be the conventional way of representing a frog's croak because the frogs found near Hollywood make a sound like that, even though very few other species of frog do! Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 17:24
  • 3
    @Kate Bunting That is very interesting. Is there a source for it? Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 17:30
  • 6
    I read it long ago, but through googling 'Ribbit' I found this Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 17:38
  • @Kate Bunting Thank you. Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 17:54
  • 3
    To strengthen this answer a bit, "rabid" is not a valid noise to use for a frog in English. If you say "rabid, rabid" out of context, people will have no idea what you're saying, and may look around for a rabid dog. If you say "ribbit, ribbit", they'll wonder why you're making a frog noise. :)
    – bob
    Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 16:38

Rabid(or Ribbit) means that the frog croaks (which is basically the sound that the frogs make).

  • 2
    The sound that some frogs make - see the discussion under David's answer. Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 8:35
  • Okay.....I have never a seen frog in my life (maybe in zoo but never paid attention to them)so I don't have any idea about what kind of sound they make here in India :) Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 8:42

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