Crazy Idioms

Because language is by its very nature a cultural product, a nation’s idioms can give us unique – and often hilarious – insights. Take for example the objects and phenomena used in common idioms around the world.

To count your chickens before they have hatched
French – To sell the skin of the bear before killing it
Malagasy – To salt grasshoppers that are still flying
Macedonian – To sew a hat for the unborn Peter
Spanish – To build a house starting from the roof
Flemish – Not all lovers get married.

A sunshower
Russian – Mushroom rain
Spanish – A deer is being born
French – The Devil is beating his wife and marrying his daughter
Ukrainian – Blind rain
Brazilian Portuguese – A widow´s wedding

To cast pearls before swine
French – To feed jam to pigs
Spanish – To feed honey to a donkey
Hindi – To give ginger to a monkey
Japanese – To give silk to cats
Chinese – To play music to a cow

To strike two birds with one stone
Indonesian – While diving, drink water
French – One stone, two hits
Polish – To roast two meats on one fire
Jamaican – To stab the sheep and the goat with the same knife
Farsi – To hit both of the bull´s eyes with one arrow

When hell freezes over
Algerian Arabic – When salt blooms into flowers
Polish – When I grow cacti (on my body)
German – When Easter and the Pentecost happen on the same day
Russian – When lobsters whistle in the mountains
Dutch – When calves waltz on the ice

You have all the time in the world
Russian – It is not a bear, it won´t escape into the forest
Swedish – There is no cow on the ice
French – The lakes aren´t on fire
Dutch – Cologne and Aix-la-Chapelle are still at the same distance
Romanian – The Turks/Tatars aren’t attacking (at the moment)

To find skeletons in the closet
Spanish – To find the cake
Italian – To find the little altars
Swedish – To find the moldy flower
German – To learn the passcode to the safe
French – To find the rose-pot

To have ants in one’s pants
French – To be excited like a louse
Spanish – To be like a motorbike
German – To have bumblebees in your ass
Italian – To be wearing quicksilver
Chinese – To be like a cat on steaming pot

To be as mad as a Hatter
Italian – To have crickets in your head
French – To have spiders on the ceiling
Czech – To have an extra wheel in the head
Turkish – To have eaten your own brain
German – To be missing cups in the cupboard

It´s raining cats and dogs
French – It´s raining like a pissing cow
Danish – It’s raining shoemakers’ apprentices
Greek – It’s raining chair legs
Gaelic – It’s throwing cobblers knives
Norwegian – It’s raining female trolls

To be a pain in the neck
German – To walk on their biscuit
Spanish – To touch their eggs
French – To break their feet
Italian – To be a splinter between their ribs
Czech – To be like an opened pocket knife in their ass

To have other fish to fry
French – To have other cats to whip
Italian – To have other female cats to skin
Spanish – (we have) other things to do, butterfly
Russian – To have other potatoes to peal
Flemish – To have other tiles to set (on the roof)

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