If you are studying English, you must have already faced some of the so called idiomatic expressions. An idiom is an expression, the meaning of which is not equal to the meaning of the words it consists of. For example, such a famous idiom as “To kill two birds with one stone” means to accomplish more than expected using a lesser amount of effort. Every language is full of such expressions, and in this post we’d like to introduce some of them to you.
For more fun, first read the idiom and its literal translation, and try to guess what this or that expression means before looking at the actual meaning.
1. Tomaten auf den Augen haben (German).
You’ve got tomatoes in your eyes.
Meaning: You don’t notice what everyone else can see clearly.
2. Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof (German).
I can understand only the train station.
Meaning: I cannot understand what this person is saying.
3. เอาหูไปนา เอาตาไปไร่ / Xeāh̄ūpịnā xeātāpịrị̀. (Thai).
A blind man closes his eyes.
Meaning: To pay no attention to something.
4. Pūst pīlītes (Latvian).
To be boasting of little ducks.
Meaning: To talk nonsense, or to lie.
5. Se regarder en chiens de faïence (French).
To look at each other as dogs made of clay.
Meaning: Not to trust each other.
6. Les carottes sont cuites! (French)
The carrots are ready!
Meaning: Something what is done cannot be undone.
7. Det är ingen ko på isen (Swedish).
There is no cow on ice.
Meaning: There is nothing to worry about.
8. Галопом по Европам / Galopom po Yevropam (Russian).
Galloping around Europe.
Meaning: To be trying to do many things very quickly; to do something in haste.
9. Взять себя в руки / Vzyat’ seb’ya v ruki (Russian).
To hold yourself in your own hands.
Meaning: To calm down.
10. Pagar o pato (Portuguese).
To pay for a duck.
Meaning: To take responsibility for something that you did not do.
11. Słoń nastąpił ci na ucho? (Polish)
Did an elephant step on your ear?
Meaning: Used when someone has bad musical taste, or does not sing/play well.
12. 猫をかぶる / Neko o kaburu (Japanese).
To wear a cat as a hat.
Meaning: To pretend being a nice person when you are not.
13. Iets voor een appel en een ei kopen (Netherlands).
To buy something for an egg and an apple.
Meaning: To purchase something for a really low price.
And now, can you remember any interesting expressions from your native language? If yes, feel free to post them in the comments.