Friday, August 16, 2013

Idiotic Idioms

I wrote a post the other day on idioms using the word "tongue." It got me thinking of the strangeness of idioms and how I really didn't have another language to compare our idioms with. Well, a quick google search brought me this article in The Guardian and this amazing list of idioms in other languages.

1. To seize the moon by the teeth: attempt the impossible (French).

I know that we take the bull by the horns, which actually has a slightly different connotation. It means to tackle a project directly. I can't even imagine biting into the moon, especially if it's made of cream cheese :)

2. To reheat cabbage: to rekindle an old flame (Italian). 

Now this is as un-romantic as anything I can imagine. It gives the concept of a cabbage roll a whole new meaning :)

3. When the crayfish sings in the mountain: never (Russian). 

Much more graphic then - in a month of Sundays or when Hell freezes over.

4. Cleaner than a frog's armpit: to be poor, broke (Spanish).

Probably nicer than "not having a pot to pee in."

Heads of straw  - Hollow men - a poetic insult

5. To think one is the last suck of the mango: to be conceited (South American Spanish). 

Now I have heard conceit referred to as "the cat's whiskers" or "the cat's meow." Then again mangoes don't grow in England so we wouldn't naturally have this fruit as a reference point. Somehow "the last suck of the apple" doesn't really translate.

6. Onions should grow in your navel: a mild insult (Yiddish). 

I am speechless - make that wordless. I can't think of an insult using a vegetable. Please post any you may know. The best I could do is - You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear.

7. Brew tea from dirt under another's fingernails: to learn a bitter lesson (Japanese).

I'm not sure what is worse - this drink or eating crow.

8. Belch smoke from the seven orifices of the head: to be furious (Chinese).

I'm still confused. I can't seem to find 7 orifices in the head. Maybe one gets so angry that they really blow their top!!

Have a day of compliments!!


  1. This is wonderful! MADE my Friday!

  2. "The intelligence of a sphirochete"
    is my husband's favourite put down.