11 Curious Sayings and Expressions from Around The World

I came across a lovely book by Ella Frances Sanders highlighting curious expressions found around the world. It reminded me of few sayings from my local language and inspired this list of 11 local sayings and their origins.

Recently on my weekly trip the bookstore, I came across this lovely illustrated book by Ella Frances SandersThe Illustrated Book of Sayings: Curious Expressions from Around the World. It is full of humorous and poignant idioms, proverbs, and adages from around the world that reflects the diversity of languages and cultures.

It made me go back to my childhood. There were certain sayings that just stuck with you, right? Something your grandma or your mom used to say repeatedly, which made no sense to you back then but was hilarious as hell. Now you realize those things are a part of your vocabulary now!

Photo Credit: animalia-life.club

I remember a few sayings in my mother tongue, Hindi, that were part of occasional bantering with friends. It was common to hear:

Saying (Hindi) एक् और एक् ग्यारह् हॊते है
Literal Translation One and one make eleven
Meaning Unity is strength


This was often used when we were teaming up for a game of basketball or cricket.

Photo Credit: Picjumbo

Another one that we used especially where a favor was traded for a favor:

Saying (Hindi) इस् हाथ् दे उस् हाथ् ले
Literal Translation Give from one hand, take from another
Meaning To make an even deal


So with these phrases racing in my mind and Ella’s incredible book in hand, I curated these curious sayings from around the world!

Saying (Romanian) Îl scoți din pepeni
Literal Translation To pull someone out of their watermelons
Meaning To drive someone crazy, a bit nuts.
Saying (Swedish) Att glida in på en räkmacka
Literal Translation To slide in on a shrimp sandwich
Meaning Used for somebody who didn’t have to work to get where they are.
Saying (Latvian) Pūst pīlītes.
Literal translation To blow little ducks.
Meaning To talk nonsense or to lie.
Saying (Polish) Z choinki się urwałaś?
Literal translation Did you fall from a Christmas tree?
Meaning You don’t know what you’re talking about, and everyone knows it.
Saying (French) Sauter du coq à l’âne.
Literal translation To jump from the cock to the donkey.
Meaning To keep changing topics without logic in a conversation.
Saying (Russian)  Галопом по Европам
Literal translation  Galloping across Europe.
Meaning To do something hastily, haphazardly.
Saying (Serbian) Nosom para oblake
Literal translation He’s ripping clouds with his nose
Meaning Used for somebody who is conceited and vain. Similar to nose sticking up in the air.
Saying (Portuguese) Quem não tem cão caça com gato
Literal translation He who doesn’t have a dog hunts with a cat.
Meaning You make the most of what you’ve got. Use whatever resources you have to get the job done.
Saying (Portuguese) Empurrar com a barriga
Literal translation To push something with your belly.
Meaning To keep postponing an important chore.

Over to you, folks! Share with us sayings or phrases in your local language and its meaning. We can’t wait to hear them!

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