10 excellent idioms from around the world


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One of my favorites translates as “I know you codfish, even though you’re in disguise.”
Te conozco bacalao, aunque vengas disfrazado. (maybe?)

Something along the lines of “I know what you’re up to.”


Best German idiom ever, IMHO: Einen Kater haben. Literally, to have a tom cat - have a hangover.

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Might have mentioned it here before…
I picked up a fun little book ages ago called Idiom’s Delight: Fascinating Phrases & Linguistic Eccentricities
She presents similar idioms in English, French, Spanish, Italian, and Latin.


I highly recommend the “Not my Circus, Not my Monkeys” coin from Schlock Mercenary


Europe and Japan - not really “Around the World”.


Why do the wolf and the hare have two eyes on the same side of the head? Are these types which live on their sides on the ground, like landflounder?


I was just going to gripe about that. Flounder wolf creeps me out!

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I have never heard ‘avoir un demon du midi’, so I looked it up. ‘Mid-life crisis’ doesn’t really mean the same thing. You could buy a red 'Vette because of a mid-life crisis. Sleeping with the babysitter is what the midday demon is about.

One of my favourites is ‘I need to talk to a man about a horse’.


and @stefanjones

blame Picasso


“throw yourself over the houses.” – get lost
“to crawl on ones gums” – to be in a really bad state

Two Austrian examples (although the second one could work in Germany as well, I´m not sure)

I’m partial to “go comb a monkey”

Get lost… Take that bone to another dog. (Don’t recall if that was French or Spanish)

The Danish expression means “to be (very) drunk”. I have no idea where the illustrator found his translation, but he didn’t ask the Danes.


A few of Welsh ones:

“Rhoi’r ffidl yn y to” - “Put the fiddle in the roof”, or to give up

“Dros ben llestri” - “Over the dishes”, or to go “over the top”, to extremes

“Bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn” - similar to “raining cats and dogs”, except it’s “raining old ladies and sticks”

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I’ve heard that one, “A otro perro con ese hueso”
Spanish, no idea which country though.

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This list is the dog’s bollocks.


Such a grandpa idiom. I love it.

My favorite is “menos burros, más elotes” meaning (basically) if you don’t like it, there’s more for the rest of us. (Fewer donkeys, more corn cobs.)

Now, I just need to figure out a way to incorporate “Not my Circus, Not my Monkeys” into conversation.


And Russia.

I like the German compound word Backpfeifengesicht.

I’m familiar with that as “I need to see a man about a dog”. Then there’s the classic “I have to go drop the kids off at the pool”.

UK’s Viz Comic had a cartoon in the early days called Hugh Phemism, about a character who would use obscure or made up euphemisms to try and express himself, and completely fail to communicate. “I need to shave a horse… I mean, I need to strain my greens. I need to take a Chinese singing lesson…”

Patience you must have, my young padawan. It won’t be long until somebody will try to coerce/manipulate/shame you into fighting in their pet war.

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