Fun with Idioms in English and Other Languages

Not playing with a full deck= GERMAN: to not have all cups in the cupboard (nicht alle Tassen im Schrank haben) ITALIAN: not having all the wheels in the right place (non avere tutte le rotelle a posto) also: to be lacking some Fridays (Non avere tutti i venerdì) FINNISH: not rowing the boat with both oars (ei souda molemmilla airoilla) also: the lift is not going all the way up (ei mee hissiihan ylos asti) LATVIAN: the roof has left (Aizbraucis jumts) SWEDISH: to have brownies in the attic (Att ha tomtar på loftet) TURKISH: his goats fled (Keçileri kaçırmıs)To beat around the bush = SWEDISH: to walk like a cat around hot porridge (Att gå som en katt kring het gröt) CZECH: walking around mashed potatoes (chodit okolo horké kaše) ITALIAN: lead the dog around in the courtyard (menare il can per l'aia) FRENCH: to turn around the pot (Tourner autour du pot)Pushing up daisies = FRENCH: eat dandelions by the root (manger les pissenlits par la racine) GERMAN: see/view the radishes from below (die Radieschen von unten anschauen/betrachten) • Bite the bullet = GERMAN: bite the sour apple (in den sauren Apfel beißen) SPANISH: bite one of your balls (morderte un huevo) ITALIAN: to clutch one's teeth (stringere i denti)What the fuck?? = HUNGARIAN: What the horse dick? (Mi a lofasz?) ITALIAN: What the dick? SPANISH: What fart? (que pedo?)To kick the bucket = FRENCH: to break one's pipe (a casser sa pipe) SPANISH: hang up your tennis shoes (colgar los tenis) also: estirar la pata (stretch the leg)Cross that bridge when we come to it = ITALIAN: Don't bandage your head before you break it. (Non fasciarti la testa prima di rompertela.) GERMAN: Don't worry about unlaid eggs. (Kümmere dich nicht um ungelegte Eier.)I've had it up to here! = GERMAN: I have the nose full! (Ich habe die Nase voll) SPANISH: I am up to the mother! (hasta la madre)The middle of nowhere = GERMAN: where the foxes and hares say goodnight (wo sich Fuchs und Hase gute Nacht sagen) ITALIAN: inside the world's ass (In culo al mondo)A stone's throw = GERMAN: a cat's jump (Katzensprung) ITALIAN: at a rifle's shot (a un tiro di schioppo)To bring home the bacon = FRENCH: to take down the silver cup (décrocher la timbale) GERMAN: to shoot the bird (den Vogel abschiessen)To split hairs = FRENCH: to fuck (to sodomize) flies (enculer les mouches) ITALIAN: to split one hair into four (spaccare un capello in quattro)Healthy as a horse = ITALIAN: healthy as a fish (sana come un pesce) FINNISH: healthy as a male goat (terve ku pukki)We are in deep shit. = SPANISH:  We are in farts. (Estamos en pedos)   alternatively...We are in a large fart! (Estamos en un pedote)I don't give a shit. = GERMAN: That's sausage to me.(Das ist mir Wurst.)I am shit-faced drunk. = SPANISH: I have a big fart. (traigo un pedote)I will kick your ass. = SPANISH: I will break your mother. (te rompo la madre)Beat it! = GERMAN: Make the flight! (Mach die Fliege!)My nose is running = GERMAN: the nose walks (die Nase lauft)Out of the frying pan and into the fire = SPANISH: (Literally, with wordplay) We left Guate-bad and entered Guate-worse (Salimos de Guatemala y entramos en Guatapeor) • To call a spade a spade = FRENCH: to call a cat a cat (appeler un chat un chat)
Contributors to this list: Linda Ceriello, Giulia Brusco, Christophe Crucciani, Ted Fisher,
Thomas Morgan, Stephen Austin, Terry Stella, Kati Kettunin, Tanya Shekhovtsova's blog

Use the Comments link below to send us more idioms to add to this list!
To print them we need three things: an amusing idiom in English, the amusing version of this idiom in another language, and the literal translation from that language into English.

comments powered by Disqus