48 bizarre European idioms that are lost in translation

PUBLISHED: 18:23 07 October 2016 | UPDATED: 18:25 07 October 2016

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

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


48 essential European sayings that all citizens of nowhere will love

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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)

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

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)

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