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it’s a jungle out there

“It’s a jungle out there” is an idiomatic English expression describing a dangerous and threatening situation. It often has the broader implication that the entire world is the proverbial “jungle,” a dangerous environment filled with hazards in which all parties are out only for themselves. This expression draws on a long tradition in English idiom and literature of representing the natural world, and jungles in particular, as threatening and chaotic. The term is primarily American, although it also occurs in British English.

The expression is one of a number of English idioms in which the jungle stands for an uncivilized environment, a threatening natural world as opposed to the safety of the cultural world. “The law of the jungle” describes fundamental laws of human interaction, and is often used to describe brutal, unfair laws under which the strong exploit the weak, although ironically this is not consistent with the term’s original use in Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book.” The term “jungle drums” refers to the informal methods of communication by which information often travels. “The concrete jungle” refers to cities, suggesting that cities are, in their own way, as dangerous and filled with predators as the wilderness.

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