E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
terms of endearment. Other terms of endearment from animals are, bird or birdie (as My bonnie bird); puss, pussy; lamb, lambkin; You little monkey is an endearing reproof to a child. Dog and pig are used in a bad sense, as You dirty dog; You filthy pig. Brave as a lion, surly as a bear, crafty as a fox, proud as a peacock, fleet as a hare, and several phrases of a like character are in common use.