48 bizarre European idioms that are lost in translation

You'll end up like a dog with two cakes...

You'll end up like a dog with two cakes... - Credit: Archant

48 essential European sayings that all citizens of nowhere will love

Finnish: 'Let me show you where a chicken pees from' (Let me show you how it's done)

Icelandic: 'I've got a fly in my head' (I've had an idea)


You may also want to watch:


Italian: 'You wanted the bike, now ride it' (The Italian version of 'you've made your bed, now lie in it')

Most Read

German: 'I only understand 'train station'' (I can't understand what is being said)

Hungarian: 'Under a frog's arse at the bottom of a coal pit' (Things can't get any worse)

Polish: 'Not my circus, not my monkeys' (Don't drag me into your problems)

German: 'You have tomatoes on your eyes' (You're not looking closely enough)

Serbian: 'It'll happen when the weeping willow tree bears grapes' (It will never happen)

Spanish: 'Not so much that you burn the Saint, not so little that he doesn't light up' (You need to do things in the right amount)

Serbian: 'It cost as much as St Peter paid for his scrambled eggs' (It was very expensive)

German: 'He bought a cat in a sack' (He bought something without checking it first)

Swedish: 'There's no cow on the ice' (No need to worry)

Swedish: 'She slid in on a shrimp sandwich' (She didn't have to work to get where she is today)

Italian: 'The musicians change, the music stays the same' (Nothing ever really changes)

Croatia: 'He's throwing cream in your eyes' (He's lying to you)

Latvia: 'She's blowing little ducks' (She's lying to you)

German: 'I'm squeezing my thumbs for you' (Equivalent of 'I'm keeping my fingers crossed')

Serbian: 'He fell down from Mars' (He's clueless)

Latvia: 'Oh, go and pick mushrooms' (Oh, go away)

French: 'I'm swallowing grass snakes' (I'm so insulted that I won't reply)

Spanish: 'You must make a heart out of your guts' (You've got to suck it up)

French: 'He kept jumping from the cock to the donkey' (He kept changing the subject for no reason)

German: 'The bear will be dancing there' (It's going to be a good time)

French: 'They looked at each other like pottery dogs' (They looked at each other with distrust)

Italian: 'Tell me without hair on your tongue' (Give it to me straight)

French: 'The carrots are cooked' (I can't do anything about it now)

Portuguese: 'He who doesn't have a dog hunts like a cat' (You make the best of what you've got)

German: 'It's like dumpling broth' (It's crystal clear)

Italian: 'He made a moustache of it' (He wasn't really bothered by it)

Portuguese: 'I'm going to pay the duck' (I'm going to take responsibility for something I didn't do)

Croatian: 'You sing like an elephant farted in your ear' (You sing badly)

Polish: 'It's a roll with butter' (It's very easy)

German: 'Then he added his mustard' (Equivalent of 'putting your two cents in')

Polish: 'Did you fall from a Christmas tree?' (You are not well informed')

Croatian: 'The cat will come to the tiny door' (What goes around comes around)

German: 'She wants an extra sausage' (She's asking for special treatment)

Croatian: 'His mother is spinning black wool' (He's the black sheep in the family)

Croatian: 'It's the balls of a swan' (It's impossible)

Italian: 'It happened at the bean' (A piece of good fortune came just at the right moment)

Dutch: 'She did it the French way' (She did it hastily)

Dutch: 'It cost her an apple and an egg' (She bought it cheaply)

Spanish: 'It cost her a kidney' (It was expensive)

Finnish: 'I feel like throwing a spoon into the corner' (I feel like dying)

Italian: 'She mistook fireflies for lanterns' (She got the wrong end of the stick)

Spanish: 'You'll end up like a dog with two cakes' (If you can't make your mind up you'll end up with nothing)

German: 'He's talking around the hot porridge' (Equivalent of 'beating about the bush')

Spanish: 'It went from Guatemala to Guatepeor' (It went from bad to worse)

Spanish: 'I had to kill the little worm' (I had a snack because I couldn't it until the next meal)

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Become a supporter
Comments powered by Disqus