Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Tomaten auf den Augen haben. (German)
Literal translation
: “You have tomatoes on your eyes.”
What it means: “You are not seeing what everyone else can see. It refers to real objects, though; not abstract meanings.”

To see a post on American idioms, click here.

Idioms in other languages can be just as weird as those in English.  Here are some I found at blog.ted.com & fluentu.com:

Skjut i på en räkmacka (Swedish)
"To slide in on a shrimp sandwich."
What it means: "To get everything easily."  It refers to somebody who didn’t have to work to get where they are.

Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof. (German)
“I only understand the train station.”
What it means: “I don’t understand a thing about what that person is saying.”

ไก่เห็นตีนงู งูเห็นนมไก่ (Thai)
“The hen sees the snake’s feet and the snake sees the hen’s boobs.”
What it means: “Two people know each other’s secrets.”

ชาติหน้าตอนบ่าย ๆ (Thai)
“One afternoon in your next reincarnation.”
What it means: “It’s never gonna happen.”

Pūst pīlītes. (Latvian) “To blow little ducks.”
What it means: “To talk nonsense or to lie.”  (
I resent this one!!)

Les carottes sont cuites! (French)
“The carrots are cooked!”
What it means: “The situation can’t be changed.”

Хоть кол на голове теши (Russian)
“You can sharpen with an ax on top of this head.”
What it means: “He’s a very stubborn person.”

Empurrar com a barriga (Portuguese)
“To push something with your belly.”
What it means: “To keep postponing an important chore.”
Pagar o pato (Portuguese)
“Pay the duck.”
What it means: “To take the blame for something you did not do.”  (This one bugs me, too!!)

Słoń nastąpił ci na ucho? (Polish)
“Did an elephant stomp on your ear?”
What it means: “You have no ear for music.”
Other languages this idiom exists in: Our translators tell us that in Croatian, there’s also a connection made between elephants and musical ability in the phrase, “You sing like an elephant farted in your ear (Pjevaš kao da ti je slon prdnuo u uho.).” 

猫の手も借りたい (Japanese)
“Willing to borrow a cat’s paws.”*

What it means: “You’re so busy that you’re willing to take help from anyone.” 

Muda Labudova (Croatian)
“Balls of a swan.”
What it means: “Something that’s impossible.”

Iets voor een appel en een ei kopen (Dutch)
“Buying something for an apple and an egg.”
What it means: “It means you bought it very cheaply.”
Other language connections: Spanish translator Camille Martínez points out out that when something is expensive in English, you pay two body parts for it (“it cost me an arm and a leg”), whereas in Spanish you only pay one — either a kidney (“me costó un riñón”) or an eye (“me costó un ojo de la cara”).

묻은 개가 묻은 나무란다 (Korean)
“A dog with feces scolds a dog with husks of grain.”
What it means: “It’s a bit like, ‘People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.’”

Գլուխս մի՛ արդուկիր (Armenian)
“Stop ironing my head!”  
What it means:“Stop annoying me!”

Mónésó’táhoenôtse kosa? (Cheyenne Indian) 
“Are you still riding the goat?”
What it means: "A rather catchy way of asking someone whether they’re separated from their spouse."

窍生烟 (Chinese)
“To emit smoke from seven orifices” 
What it means: "To be extremely angry." You might be wondering exactly what the orifices in question are, so just to clear things up: eyes, ears, nostrils and mouth.

бурхан оршоо бутын чинээ сахал урга (Mongolian)
"God bless you and may your mustache grow like brushwood."
What it means: You might think “bless you” is a perfectly adequate response to a sneeze, but Mongolians would beg to differ; they prefer this, which wishes a fine blessing upon your mustache as well.

吹牛 (Chinese)
"Inflate a cow."
What it means: "Bragging or talking something up to be bigger than it actually is."

Pédaler dans la choucroute (French)
"Pedaling in sauerkraut"
What it means: "To get absolutely nowhere."

As happy Norwegians say, I’m in the middle of the butter melting in the porridge!!----fishducky