Tag Archives: sayings in many languages

Multilingual Idioms, Sayings and Colloquialisms Illustrated

Idioms, Sayings and Colloquialisms in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese…

Here is an extensive list of illustrated idioms, sayings and colloquialisms and its equivalents in other languages. Please note that I have often added the word by word translation in parentheses just after the idiom/saying/colloquialism version in other languages so that the reader can get a picture of its deep, symbolic or allegorical meaning. If you want to contribute with other languages, make amendments or comments about nuances, you are very welcome.

This post will be  periodically updated with new multilingual idioms, sayings, colloquialisms and awesome illustrations!

Idioms

They are truly ubiquitous in almost any language, but if we translate them literally, idioms often lose their meaning. That’s why adaptation is part and parcel of the translation process. An idiom is a group of words or a set expression that have a figurative meaning, and not a literal one. Maybe it looks like a tough nut to crack, or what you are reading is Greek to you but, believe me, it’s not rocket science. 🙂

Like two peas in a pod in many languages

multilingual idioms illustrated

Like two peas in a pod  in other languages:

Like two peas in a pod in Spanish: Como dos gotas de agua (like two water droplets).
Like two peas in a pod in French: Comme deux gouttes d’eau (like two water droplets).
Like two peas in a pod in German: Sich gleichen wie ein ei dem anderen (they are so similar as one egg to another)

Like two peas in a pod in Italian: Come due gocce d’acqua (literally, like two water droplets).
Like two peas in a pod in Portuguese: Como duas gotas de água (literally, like two water droplets).
Like two peas in a pod in Finnish: Finnish: kuin kaksi marjaa (literally, Like two berries).
Like two peas in a pod in Romanian:  ca două picături de apă (literally, like two water droplets).
Like two peas in a pod in Swedish: vara lika som bär.
Like two peas in a pod in Catalan: com dues gotes d’aigua (literally, like two water droplets) pastats (pasted)
Like two peas in a pod in Waloon: rishonner come deus gotes d’ aiwe (literally,  like two water droplets).

It’s not rocket science in many languages

It's not rocket science

It’s not rocket science  in other languages::

It’s not rocket science in Spanish: no hay que ser una lumbrera / genio.
It’s not rocket science in French: ce n’est pas sorcier. (literally, this is not witchcraft)
It’s not rocket science in Italian: non è niente di trascendentale.
It’s not rocket science in German: Das ist nicht so kompliziert (literally, that is not so complicated); Das ist keine Hexerei (literally, this is not witchcraft); Das ist keine Diplomarbeit! (this is not a Diploma Thesis)
It’s not rocket science in  Portuguese: não é um bicho de sete cabeças (literally,  it’s not a seven-headed creature)

A tough nut to crack in many languages

Un hueso duro de roes

A tough nit to crack  in other languages:

The detainee is a hard nut to crack. He hasn’t confessed anything during the interrogation.

A hard nut to crack (fig. problem, person) in Spanish: un hueso duro de roer (a hard bone to  gnaw).
A hard nut to crack (fig. problem, person) in French: Dur à cuire (hard to cook)
This is a hard nut to crack in German: Das ist ein dicker  (That’s a fat one)/ harter Brocken (hard chunks).
A hard nut to crack (fig. problem, person) in Italian:  un osso duro (a hard bone ).
This is a hard nut to crack  in Portuguese: um osso duro de roer (a hard bone to  gnaw).
A hard nut to crack (fig. problem, person) in Mandarin Chinese: 难以攻克的困难 (Difficult to overcome)
A hard nut to crack (fig. problem, person) in  Danish: en hård nød at knække (a hard need to crack)
A hard nut to crack (fig. problem, person) in Catalan: un os dur de rossegar (a hard bone to  gnaw).

(to) clutch at straws in many languagesto clutch at straws

Alternative form: grasp at straws

A drowning man will clutch at straws.

(to) clutch at straws  in other languages:

(to) clutch at straws in Spanish: Agarrarse a un clavo ardiendo (to clutch at a burning nail).
(to) clutch at straws in French: Se raccrocher aux branches (to cling to the branches).
(to) clutch at straws in German: Nach Strohhalmen greifen (to clutch at straws) also Sich an einen Strohhalm klammern (clutch at straws).
(to) clutch at straws in Italian: Crearsi delle illusioni (to make up hopes)
Similar to “A drowning man will clutch at straws” in Portuguese: quem não tem cão, caça com gato (Who does not have dog, hunts with a cat).
(to) clutch at straws in Catalan: Agafar-se a la taula de salvació
(clutching at a salvation board).
(to) clutch at straws in Basque: iltze goriari heldu (to the nail polished).

(to) hit the nail on the head in many languages

dar en el clavo en inglés

(to) hit the nail on the head  in other languages:

(to) hit the nail on the head in Chinese:
Mandarin: 一針見血 (zh), 一针见血 (zh) (yīzhēnjiànxiě) (draw blood on the first prick)
(to) hit the nail on the head in Catalan: Justa la fusta (just to the whip); clavar-la (to nail it).
(to) hit the nail on the head in Czech: uhodit hřebíček na hlavičku, udeřit hřebíček na hlavičku (to hit the cloves on the head,  to hit the nail on the head).
(to) hit the nail on the head in Danish: ramme hovedet på sømmet (to  hit the head on the seam).
(to) hit the nail on the head in Dutch: de spijker op de kop slaan (to hit the nail on the head).
(to) hit the nail on the head in Finnish: osua naulan kantaan (to hit the nail on the head).
(to) hit the nail on the head in French: faire mouche (literally, to do the fly).
(to) hit the nail on the head in German: den Nagel auf den Kopf treffen ((to hit the nail on the head).
(to) hit the nail on the head in Hungarian: fején találja a szöget (hu)
(to) hit the nail on the head in Icelandic: hitta naglann á höfuðið, eiga kollgátuna, hitta í mark, koma orðum að kjarna máls, tilgreina kjarna máls
(to) hit the nail on the head in Italian: colpire nel segno (to hit the mark).
(to) hit the nail on the head in Lithuanian: durti kaip pirštu į akį (prick as finger in the eye)
(to) hit the nail on the head in Polish: trafić w sedno (to hit the nail)
(to) hit the nail on the head in Portuguese: acertar em cheio (literally, to fully hit).
(to) hit the nail on the head in Russian: попа́сть не в бровь а в глаз (popástʹ ne v brovʹ a v glaz) (hit not the brow but the eye), попа́сть в то́чку (popástʹ v tóčku) (hit the spot)
(to) hit the nail on the head in Spanish: dar en el blanco (to hit the bullseye), dar en el clavo (to hit the nail); clavarlo (to nail it)
(to) hit the nail on the head in Swedish: slå huvudet på spiken (to turn your head on the nail).
(to) hit the nail on the head in Basquebete-betean asmatu (fully invented)erdiz erdi asmatu (half invented)

Old wine in new bottles in other languages

Old wine in different bottles

Alternative forms and equivalents: Old wine in a new bottle; the same old same old; the same old stuff; another day, another dollar; same shite different night.

It is a reference to the parable of Jesus of New Wine into Old Wineskins, Matthew 9:14–17, Mark 2:21–22, and Luke 5:33–39.

They hoped that the new president would not be old wine in a new bottle, but that he would fulfil the aspirations of the working class.

Old wine in new bottles  in other languages::

Old wine in new bottles in Spanish: El mismo perro con diferente collar (the same dog with different collar).
Old wine in new bottles in French: Bonnet blanc, blanc bonnet (white bonnet, bonnet white).
Old wine in new bottles in GermanNeuer Wein in alten Flaschen. 
Old wine in new bottles in Italian: (Translation needed)
Old wine in new bottles in Portuguese: (Translation needed)
Old wine in new bottles in Persianرایه ایده ای کهنه در لباسی نو‎ (An old idea in a new dress).
Old wine in new bottles in Finnish: Vanhaa viiniä uudessa pulloss (old wine in a new pulloss)
Old wine in new bottles in Catalan: de moliner mudaràs i de lladre no t’escaparàs (you will change to miller and won’t escape from thief).

memes para traductores

(to) Split hairs in many languages

She always has to split hairs, doesn’t she?

(to) split hairs  in other languages::

(to) split hairs in Spanish: buscar tres pies al gato (literally, try to find three feet  in the cat); rizar el rizo (literally, to curl the curl)
(to) split hairs in French: chercher midi à quatorze heures. (lterally, look for noon to fourteen o’clock).
(to) split hairs in German: haarspalterei (literally, hair splitting).
(to) split hairs in Italian: spaccare il capello in quattro (literally, split the hair into four) , cercare il pelo nell’uovo (literally, look for the hair in the egg).
(to) split hairs in Portuguese: discutir detalhezinhos, fazer distinções miúdas (literally, discuss small details, make small distinctions).
(to) split hairs in Finnish: hiusten halkominen (literally, hair splitting).
(to) split hairs in Catalan: buscar tres peus al gat (literally, try to find three feet  in the cat).
(to) split hairs in Basque: izurra izurtu (literally,  to plunge the pestle).

(like) water off a duck’s back in many languages

like water off a duck's back

Listen to me: just ignore these slanders, like water off a duck’s back.

Like water off a duck’s back  in other languages::

Like water off a duck’s back in Spanish: como quien oye llover
Like water off a duck’s back in French: comme l’eau sur le dos d’un canard
Like water off a duck’s back in German:  alles an ihm ab
Like water off a duck’s back in Italian:  è come parlare al muro
Like water off a duck’s back in Portuguese: entrar por um ouvido e sair pelo outro
Like water off a duck’s back in Catalan: com si sentís ploure
Like water off a duck’s back in Polish:  jak po kaczce
Like water off a duck’s back in  Czech: jedním uchem tam, druhým ven
Like water off a duck’s back in Russian: как с гу́ся вода́
Like water off a duck’s back in  Swedish: som vatten på en gås

(to) lose one’s train of thought in many languages

to lose one's train of thought

Sorry… what was I saying? I lost my train of thought.

(to) lose one’s train of thought  in other languages:

(to) lose one’s train of thought in Spanish:  irse el santo al cielo; perder el hilo
(to) lose one’s train of thought in French: Perdre le fil de sa pensée
(to) lose one’s train of thought in German: den Faden verlieren;
aus dem Konzept geraten
(to) lose one’s train of thought in Italian: perdere  perduto ilfilo del discorso.
(to) lose one’s train of thought in Portuguese: perder a linha de pensamento / raciocínio
(to) lose one’s train of thought in Catalan: anar-se’n el sant al cel.
(to) lose one’s train of thought in Basque: ahaztu, ahantzi; adia/arreta galdu

Gift of tongues in many languages

idioms

 

Alternative form: gift for languages

Mary’s got a gift for languages / gift of tongues. She can speak English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch and Corsican.

Gift of tongues  in other languages:

Gift for languages in Spanish: don de lenguas.
Gift for languages in French: don de langues.
Gift for languages in German: Sprachbegabung.
Gift for languages in Italian: dono delle lingue.
Gift for languages in Portuguese: dom das línguas.
Gift for languages in Catalan: do de llengües.

It’s a small world!  in many languages

El mundo es un pañuelo

You know my cousin!? Well, it’s a small world, isn’t it?

It’s a small world  in other languages:

It’s a small world in Finnish: maailma on pieni
It’s a small world in French: le monde est petit (fr)
It’s a small world in German: die ganze Welt ist ein Dorf, wie klein die Welt doch ist, unsere Welt ist ja so klein
It’s a small world in Hungarian: kicsi a világ
It’s a small world in Italian: il mondo è piccolo, com’è piccolo il mondo, come è piccolo il mondo
It’s a small world in Japanese: 世間は広い様で狭い (せけんはひろいようでせまい, seken wa hiroi yō de semai), 世界は狭い (せかいはせまい, sekai wa semai), 世間は狭い (せけんはせまい, seken wa semai)
It’s a small world in Polish: jaki ten świat mały
It’s a small world in Russian: мир те́сен (mir tésen)
It’s a small world in Spanish: el mundo es un pañuelo
It’s a small world in Swedish: världen är liten
It’s a small world in Catalan: el món és un mocador (ca)

business idioms

A cock-and-bull story in many languages

Idioms, sayings and colloquialisms illustrated

un cuento chino

He gave us some cock-and-bull story about having to be in a meeting.

A cock-and-bull story  in other languages:

Cock-and-bull story in Spanish: un cuento chino (literally, a Chinese story)
Cock-and-bull story in French: une histoire à dormir debout (literally, a story to sleep standing up)
Cock-and-bull story in German: Lügengeschichte (literally, pack of lies)
Cock-and-bull story in Italian: frottola (literally,  fib)
Cock-and-bull story in Portuguese: história para boi dormir (literally, a story to sleep ox)
Cock-and-bull story in Catalan: un sopar de duro (literally, a 5 cents coin story)
Cock-and-bull story in Basque: (col.gezur (huts) (literally, lie)

It’s all Greek to me in many languages

Greek

I don’t understand a bloody word. It’s all Greek to me!

Alternative form in English: It’s double Dutch.

Here is a list of expressions meaning the same in many languages. Chinese seems to be the number one choice when it comes to define an unintelligible language or handwriting.  Greek, Hebrew, Arabic and Turkish are coming behind… I have pinpointed those languages that appear in some other language’s expressions with an arrow (►). The Serbian and Croatian cases strike me as the most funny, they literally mean: “These are to me a Spanish village” and “These are to me the Spanish countryside”.

It’s all Greek to me in Albanian: Mos fol kinezce. ( Do not speak Chinese).
It’s all Greek to me in Afrikaans: Dis Grieks vir my. ( It’s Greek to me).
► It’s all Greek to me in Arabic: .يتحدث باللغة الصينية ; .يحكي كرشوني ; بتتكلم بالهندي؟ (Speaking in Chinese/ Syriac / Are you speaking Hindi?)
It’s all Greek to me in Asturian: Suename chinu, Ta’n chinu. (It sounds like Chinese to me. This is in Chinese).
It’s all Greek to me in Basque: ulertezin, ulergaitz, ezin ulertuzko; txinera
It’s all Greek to me in Bulgarian: Все едно ми говориш на патагонски. (It’s like you’re talking in Patagonian.)
It’s all Greek to me in Cantonese: 呢啲係咪鬼畫符呀 ? / 呢啲係唔鬼畫符呀 ?(Is this ghost’s script?)
It’s all Greek to me in Catalan: Això està en xinès. (This is Chinese)
It’s all Greek to me in Cebuano: Nilatin; Inintsik. (Latin, Chinese)
It’s all Greek to me in Croatian: To su za mene španska sela. (These are to me the Spanish countryside)
It’s all Greek to me in Czech: To je pro mě španělská vesnice (This is a Spanish village to me)
It’s all Greek to me in Danish: Det rene volapyk. (This is pure gibberish)
It’s all Greek to me in Dutch: Dat is Chinees voor mij; Ik snap er geen jota van. (That is Chinese to me; I don’t understand one iota of it)
It’s all Greek to me in Esperanto: Tio estas Volapukaĵo. (That’s a Volapük thing).
It’s all Greek to me in Estonian: See on mulle hiina keel. (This is Chinese to me).
It’s all Greek to me in Filipino: Parang Intsik (It looks like Chinese).
It’s all Greek to me in Finnish: Täyttä hepreaa. Kuulostaa siansaksalta. (It’s all Hebrew; Sounds like gibberish).
►It’s all Greek to me in French: C’est du chinois; C’est de l’hébreu. (It’s Chinese/Hebrew)
It’s all Greek to me in German: Das kommt mir spanisch vor (That sounds like Spanish to me); Spreche ich chinesisch? ( Am I speaking Chinese?); Fachchinesisch (specialty Chinese(= technical jargon)); Kauderwelsch; Böhmische Dörfer; Polnisch rückwärts (Polish reversed).
►►It’s all Greek to me in Greek: Αυτά μου φαίνονται αλαμπουρνέζικα. (These seem to me gobbledygook).
It’s all Greek to me in Greek Cypriot: Εν τούρτζικα που μιλάς (Are you speaking Turkish?)
It’s all Greek to me in Hebrew: זה סינית בשבילי (It’s Chinese to me!).
It’s all Greek to me in Hungarian: Ez nekem kínai. (It’s Chinese to me).
It’s all Greek to me in Icelandic: Hrognamál (Fish-egg language)
It’s all Greek to me in Indonesioan: Bahasa planet ((Other)-planet language)
It’s all Greek to me in Italian: Questo per me è arabo/aramaico/ostrogoto / (This is Arabic/Aramaic/Ostrogoth to me)
It’s all Greek to me in Japanese: ちんぷんかんぷん (“Ching chong”)
It’s all Greek to me in Latin: Graecum est; nōn legitur (This is Greek; it can’t be read)
It’s all Greek to me in Latvian: Tā man ir ķīniešu ābece (This is Chinese alphabet book to me)
It’s all Greek to me in Lithuanian: Tai man kaip kinų kalba (This is Chinese alphabet book to me)
It’s all Greek to me in Macedonian: За мене тоа е шпанско село. (It is for me a Spanish village).
►►It’s all Greek to me in Mandarin: 火星文 (Martian language); 看起來像天書。/看起来像天书。(looks like hieroglyphics); 這是鬼畫符嗎?/这是鬼画符吗?(Is this written in ghost’s script? > poor, incomprehensible handwriting); 聽起來像鳥語。/ 听起来像鸟语。(Sounds like the birds)

Me suena a chino en otros idiomas
It’s all Greek to me in Norwegian: Det er helt gresk for meg. (It’s complete Greek to me)
It’s all Greek to me in Persian: انگار ژاپنی حرف می زنه (It’s as if he/she’s speaking Japanese); مگه ترکی حرف میزنم؟ (Am I speaking Turkish)
It’s all Greek to me in Polish: To dla mnie chińszczyzna. (It is Chinese, to me); Siedzieć jak na tureckim kazaniu (Sit as in a Turkish sermon); Czeski film (Czech movie)
It’s all Greek to me in Portuguese: Isto para mim é chinês / grego (This is Chinese / Greek to me)
It’s all Greek to me in Romanian: Parcă e chineză. (It’s like Chinese)
It’s all Greek to me in Russian: Это для меня китайская грамота (That’s Chinese writing to me).
It’s all Greek to me in Serbian: То су за мене шпанска села (These are to me a Spanish village); К’о да кинески причаш. (Like speaking in Chinese).
►It’s all Greek to me in Spanish: Está en chino/arameo. (This is in Chinese/Aramaic); Me suena a chino/arameo. (It sounds like Chinese/Aramaic to me); No entiendo ni jota (I don’t understand one iota of it).
It’s all Greek to me in Swedish: Det är rena grekiskan. (It’s all Greek).
►It’s all Greek to me in Turkish: Konuya Fransız kaldım. (I am French to the topic); Anladıysam Arap olayım. (If I could understand, I’d be an Arab.)
It’s all Greek to me in Ukranian: Це для мене китайська грамота. (That’s Chinese writing to me)

No great shakes in many languages

como para tirar cohetes

The actors are not great shakes.

No great shakes  in other languages:

No great shakes in Spanish: (no ser como) para tirar cohetes.
No great shakes in French: ça casse pas des briques.
No great shakes in German: nicht gerade vom Hocker hauen.
No great shakes in Italian: non è che brilli.

Let bygones be bygones in many languages

pelillos a la mar

They decided to let bygones be bygones for the sake of coexistence.

Let bygones be bygones  in other languages:

Let bygones be bygones in Spanish: Pelillos a la mar; el pasado, pasado está.
Let bygones be bygones in French: Passons l’éponge.
Let bygones be bygones in German: die Vergangenheit ruhen lassen; die Vergangenheit Vergangenheit sein lassen.
Let bygones be bygones in Italian:  Mettiamoci una pietra sopra
Let bygones be bygones in Portuguese: águas passadas não movem moinhos.
Let bygones be bygones in Dutch: geen oude koeien uit de sloot halen, zand erover!
Let bygones be bygones in Catalan: Fer creu i ratlla.
Let bygones be bygones in Irish: An rud atá thart bíodh sé thart.

(to) get goosebumps in many languages

Idioms, sayings and colloquialisms illustrated

get goose bumps

His speech was awesome! I got goosebumps when he said the last lines.

(to) get goosebumps  in other languages:

(to) get goosebumps in Spanish: poner(se) la piel de gallina.
(to) get goosebumps in French: avoir la chair de poule.
(to) get goosebumps in German: Ich bekam eine Gänsehaut. (I got goosebumps).
(to) get goosebumps in Italian: venire la pelle d’oca.
(to) get goosebumps in Portuguese: arrepiar-se.
(to) get goosebumps in Catalan: posar la pell de gallina.
(to) get goosebumps in Basque: oilo-ipurdi.

(to) go up in smoke in many languages

tQuedar en aguas de borraja

Without a scholarship, his dreams of becoming a doctor would go up in smoke.

(to) go up in smoke  in other languages:

(to) go up in smoke in Spanish: quedar en aguas de borrajas; esfumarse.
(to) go up in smoke in French: partir en fumée.
(to) go up in smoke in German:  sich in Rauch auflösen
(to) go up in smoke in Italianandare in fumo.
(to) go up in smoke in Portuguese: ser mal sucedido;  ser abandonado; fracassar; falhar.
(to) go up in smoke in Catalan: fer-se fonedís; esfumar-se.
(to) go up in smoke in Basque: desagertu, ezkutatu

(to) be the talk of the town in many languages

ser la comidilla

How did you not hear about  her new boyfriend? It’s the talk of the town!

(to be) the talk of the town  in other languages:

(to) be the talk of the town in Spanish: ser la comidilla; estar en boca de todos.
(to) be the talk of the town in French: tout le monde en parle.
(to) be the talk of the town in German:  Stadtgespräch.
(to) be the talk of the town in Italian: sulla bocca di tutti.
(to) be the talk of the town in Catalan: tothom en va ple.
(to) be the talk of the town in Basque: herrian zurrumurruak dabiltza.

english sayings in Spanish dichos ingleses en español proverbios refranes

(to) tar with the same brush in many languages

meter en el mismo saco

It is not fair to tar all politicians with the same brush.

(to) tar with the same brush  in other languages:

(to) tar with the same brush in Spanish: meter en el mismo saco.
(to) tar with the same brush in French: mettre dans le même sac.
(to) tar with the same brush in German: über einen Kamm scheren.
(to) tar with the same brush in Italian: fare di tutta l’erba un fascio.
(to) tar with the same brush in Portuguesemeter no mesmo saco.
(to) tar with the same brush in Catalan: posar en el mateix sac.
(to) tar with the same brush in Irish (Gaelic): caitheamh leo uilig mar aon aicme amháin.
(to) tar with the same brush in Basque: zaku berean sartu.

A storm in a teacup / A tempest in a teapot in many languages

a storm in a teacup

It seemed to me an unimportant detail, but it set off a tempest in a teapot during the debate.

A tempest in a teapot  / A storm in a teacup in other languages:

A tempest in a teapot in Spanish: Una tormenta en un vaso de agua.
A tempest in a teapot in French: tempête dans un verre d’eau
A tempest in a teapot in German: Sturm im Wasserglas
A tempest in a teapot in Italian: tempesta in un bicchiere d’acqua
A tempest in a teapot in Portuguese: tempestade em copo d’água
A tempest in a teapot in Romanianfurtună-n pahar de apă.
A tempest in a teapot in  Russian: бу́ря в стака́не воды́
A tempest in a teapot in Chinese (Mandarin):  小題大做 (zh), 小题大做
A tempest in a teapot in Catalan: una tempesta en un vas d’aigua.
A tempest in a teapot in Danish: storm i et glas vand c (storm in a glass of water)
A tempest in a teapot in Icelandic: veður út af engu, ys og þys út af engu

(to) rack one’s brains in many languages

 

devanarse los sesos en inglés

Alternative forms: (to) wrack on’es brain. (to) rack one’s brain. = Struggle to remember something.

He’s been racking his brains all day, but he can’t remember her telephone number.

(to) rack one’s brain in other languages:

(to) rack one’s brains in Spanish: devanarse los sesos.
(to) rack one’s brains in French: se creuser le cervelle / la tête.
(to) rack one’s brains in German: sich den Kopf zerbrechen.
(to) rack one’s brains in Italianscervellarearrovellarsi
(to) rack one’s brains in Portuguese: quebrar a cabeça.
(to) rack one’s brains in Mandarin Chinese絞盡腦汁 (zh)绞尽脑汁
(to) rack one’s brains in Basque: garnak urtu.
(to) rack one’s brains in Catalan: escarrassar-s’hi.
(to) rack one’s brains Finnish: miettiä päänsä puhki.
(to) rack one’s brains Icelandic: brjóta heilann.
(to) rack one’s brains Japanese: 脳漿を絞る.

A chicken and egg situation / a catch 22 in many languages


A chicken and egg situation / a catch 22 in other languages:

A chicken and egg situation (or a catch 22) in Spanish: Un pez que se muerde la cola
A chicken and egg situation (or a catch 22) in French: serpent qui se mord la queue.

idiomes, dictons et expressions familières
A chicken and egg situation (or a catch 22) in German: Zwickmühle (de) f, Dilemma (de) n, Teufelskreis (de) du, Sackgasse (de) f, ausweglose Situation f
A chicken and egg situation (or a catch 22) in Italian: non c’è via d’uscita. (There’s no way out).

A chicken and egg situation (or a catch 22) in Portuguese: Se ficar o bicho pega, se correr o bicho come  (‘if you run the bug takes (catches), if you stay the bug eats’.)
A chicken and egg situation (or a catch 22) in German: eine Zwickmühle.
A chicken and egg situation (or a catch 22) in Catalan. un peix que es mossega la cua.
 la pescadilla que se muerde la cola
It’s a chicken and egg question: if he stays, there’ll be  trouble for sure, but if he leaves, they will be mad at him.

(to) have a finger in every pie in many languages

en misa y repicando

Meaning: to be involved in many -often too many- things or activities.

Alternative form:  (to) have one’s fingers in many  pies; I cannot be in York and London at the same time

George, you can’t have a finger in every pie. It’s too stressful.

(to) have a finger in every pie in other languages:

(to) have a finger in every pie in Spanish: a misa y repicando (go to Mass and chime) ; estar en todos los fregaos; estar en todos los saraos.
(to) have a finger in every pie in French: être mêlé à tout ; on ne peut pas être à la fois au four et au moulin (one can’t watch over the oven and at the mill at the same time)
(to) have a finger in every pie in German: man kann nicht auf zwei Hochzeiten (zugleich/gleichzeitig) tanzen (one can’t dance in two weddings at the same time); seine Finger überall drin haben; überall seine Hand / Hände im Spiel haben
(to) have a finger in every pie in Italian: avere le mani in pasta dappertutto. (to have the hands in every pasta); Non si può cantare e portar la croce (one can’t sing and carry the cross).
(to) have a finger in every pie in Portuguese: Quem toca o carrilhão não vai na procissão (He who plays the chime doesn’t participate in the procession)
(to) have a finger in every pie in Catalan: No es pot ésser al plat i a les tallades.
(to) have a finger in every pie in Basque: Jenteek nahi lükee ekia ta argizagia junta ditean. (people wish that the Sun and the Moon would merge)
(to) have a finger in every pie in Galician: no se puede repicar e ir en la procesión. (You can’t go to Mass and chime)
(to) have a finger in every pie in Russian: На двух свадьбах сразу не танцуют (one can’t dance in two weddings at the same time).

A monkey on your back in many languages

idioms in Spanish and French

Now that they have finally closed the business, the mortgage is a real monkey on their back.

Alternative form: Chinaman on one’s back .

A monkey on your bag in other languages:

A monkey on your back in Spanish: un peso sobre las espaldas.
A monkey on your back in French: un fardeau sur les épaules.
A monkey on your back in German: ein ernsthaftes Problem.
A monkey on your back in Italian:  fardello sulle spalle .
A monkey on your back in Portuguese: carregar um fardo pesado aos ombros.
A monkey on your back in Catalan: un pes sobre les espatlles.

A bundle of nerves in other languages

un saco de nervios

A bundle of nerves in other languages:

A bundle of nerves in Spanish: un manojo de nervios (a bunch of nerves).
A bundle of nerves in French: un paquet de nerfs (a packetof nerves).
A bundle of nerves in German: ein Bündel Nerven (a bunch of nerves).
A bundle of nerves in Italian: un fascio di nervi (a beam of nerves).
A bundle of nerves in Portuguese: uma pilha de nervos  (a stack of nerves).
A bundle of nerves in Mandarin Chinese: 紧张不安的人 (a nervous person).
A bundle of nerves in Russian: клубок нервов (a tangle of nerves).
A bundle of nerves in Basque: Buru gabeko oiloak bezala gabiltza (We’re like unpainted chickens).
A bundle of nerves in Catalan: un sac de nervis (a bag of nerves).
A bundle of nerves in Gaelic Irish: bheith an-neirbhíseach

A bundle of nerves in

Amid much fanfare in many languages

a bombo y platillo

Amid much fanfare, the new bridge was finally opened on 5 June 2018.

Amid much fanfare in other languages:

Amid much fanfare in Spanish: a bombo y platillo (with bass drums and cymbal); con pompa (with pageantry).
Amid much fanfare in French: en fanfarre (in fanfare)
Amid much fanfare in German: die Werbetrommel für etw rühren   (to stir the drum of sth)
Amid much fanfare in Italian: con molta enfasi.
Amid much fanfare in Portuguese: com pompa e circunstância (with pageantry and circumstances)
Amid much fanfare in Catalan: (a so de) bombo i platerets (to the sound of bass drums and cymbals)
Amid much fanfare in Basque: zalaparta handiz (with great bustle)

As happy as a clam in many languages 

Alternative forms: as happy as a clam at high water; as happy as at high tide; as happy as a dog with two tails;as happy as a lark; as happy as the day is long; as happy as a pig in muck…

As happy as a clam (at high water) in other languages:

As happy as a clam in Spanish: feliz como una perdiz (happy as a partridge)
As happy as a clam in French: heureux comme un poisson dans l’eau (happy as a fish in the water).
As happy as a clam in German: glücklich und froh (wie der Mops im Haferstroh) ~ (happy and happy (like the pug in oat straw).
As happy as a clam in Italian: va in brodo di giuggiole (to swim in jujube soup).
As happy as a clam in Portuguese: feliz como um passarinho (happy as a bird);  feliz como um molusco. (happy as a mollusk)

As happy as a clam in Russian: доволен, как слон (satisfied as an elephant)
As happy as a clam in Catalan: Més content que un gínjol (happier than a jujube).
As happy as a clam in Finnish onnellinen kuin koiranpentu (happy as a puppy).
As happy as a clam in Scottish Gaelic: cho sona ri bròg (so happy with a shoe); cho sona ri caimeanach an t-sruth (as happy as the giant of the stream); cho sona ri luch ann an lofa (as happy as a mouse in a loaf).
feliz como una perdiz en inglés y francés

Knowledge is no burden in many languages

El saber no ocupa lugar en inglés y francés

Alternative form: One can never know too much.

Knowledge is no burden in other languages:

Knowledge is no burden in Spanish: El saber no ocupa lugar (Knowledge does not take up space)
Knowledge is no burden in French:  On ne sait jamais trop (One never knows too much).
Knowledge is no burden in German: Wissen nimmt keinen Platz ein (Knowledge does not take up space).
Knowledge is no burden in Italian: Il sapere non è mai troppo (One never knows too much)..
Knowledge is no burden in Portuguese: O saber não ocupa lugar (Knowledge does not take up space).
Knowledge is no burden in Basque: Akiteak ez dauka kalterik; jakiteak ez dau ogirik jaten (Knowledge does not eat any bread).
Knowledge is no burden in Catalan: El saber no ocupa lloc (Knowledge does not take up space).
Knowledge is no burden in Galician: O saber non ocupa lugar
Knowledge is no burden in Greek: Όσο ζει κανένας, τόσο μαθαίνει.

The icing on the cake in many languages

la guinda del pastel

Alternative forms: cherry on the cake; cherry on top.

The icing of the cake in in other languages:

The icing on the cake in Spanish: la guinda del pastel (literally, the cherry on the cake)
The icing on the cake in French:  la cerise sur le gâteau  (literally,  the cherry on the cake)
The icing on the cake in German: das Sahnehäubchen auf dem Kuchen  (literally,  the cherry on the cake)
The icing on the cake in Italian: la ciliegina sulla torta  (literally, the cherry on the cake)
The icing on the cake in Portuguese:  a cereja do bolo (literally,  the cherry on the cake)
The icing on the cake in Swedish: grädde på moset (literally,  the cream on the mash)
The icing on the cake in Hungarian: hab a tortán (literally, whipped cream on the cake)
The icing on the cake in Finnish: sokerina pohjalla (literally,  sugar at the bottom)
The icing of the cake in Catalan: la cirereta del pastís (literally,  the little cherry on the cake)

Sayings

A saying is any concisely written or spoken sentence or expression which conveys a piece of advice or folk wisdom about life or experience.

A leopard can’t change its spots in many languages

la cabra tira al monte

A leopard can’t change its spots in other languages:

A leopard can’t change its spots in Spanish: La cabra tira al monte (literally,  the goat tends to go head for the hills); Genio y figuta hasta la sepultura (literally,  Genius and ace until the grave).
A leopard can’t change its spots in French:  Le loup apprivoicé rêve toujours de la forêt (literally,  the tame wolf always dreams of the forest); chassez le naturel, il revient au galop (drive out the natural, it returns at full gallop).
A leopard can’t change its spots in BasqueHaitzean jaioak haitzera nahi (literally,  Who was born among hills, tends to go to the hills).
A leopard can’t change its spots in Catalan: Cabra avesada a saltar, fa de mal desvesar (literally,  A goat used to jump is difficult to unveil).
A leopard can’t change its spots in Czech: starého psa novým kouskům nenaučíš, zvyk je železná košile (literally,  an old dog does not learn new things, customs are an iron shirt).
A leopard can’t change its spots in Finnish: jäljistään jäniskin tunnetaan (literally, a hare is known by its tracks).
A leopard can’t change its spots in German: Niemand kann aus seiner Haut heraus (literally,  Nobody can get out of their skin)
A leopard can’t change its spots in Greek: ο λύκος κι αν εγέρασε κι άσπρισε το μαλλί του, μήτε τη γνώμη άλλαξε, μήτε την κεφαλή του (o lýkos ki an egérase ki ásprise to mallí tou, míte ti gnómi állaxe, míte tin kefalí tou, literally “Even though the wolf got old and his hair became white, he changed neither his opinion nor his head”)
A leopard can’t change its spots in Hungarian: kutyából nem lesz szalonna (hu) (literally , out of a dog there will be no lard)
A leopard can’t change its spots in Irish: briseann an dúchas trí shúile an chait, is treise dúchas ná oiliúint (literally,  The city breaks through the eyes of the cat, the pride of indigenousness)
A leopard can’t change its spots in Italian: il lupo perde il pelo ma non il vizio ( literally,  the wolf can lose its fur but not its bad habits)
A leopard can’t change its spots in Russian: Russian: волк ка́ждый год линя́ет, а всё сер быва́ет  (volk káždyj god linjájet, a vsjó ser byvájet (literally,  each year the wolf molts its fur, but it continues to be grey), ско́лько во́лка ни корми́, он всё в лес смо́трит (skólʹko vólka ni kormí, on vsjó v les smótrit, literally (literally,  however good you feed the wolf, it still looks onto the forest), горба́того моги́ла испра́вит (ru) (gorbátovo mogíla isprávit), (only the grave can straighten the hunchback”), чёрного кобеля́ не отмо́ешь добела́ (čórnovo kobeljá ne otmóješʹ dobelá, (you can’t wash a black dog to make it white), зарека́лась лиса́ кур не ворова́ть (zarekálasʹ lisá kur ne vorovátʹ, (the fox promised not to steal chickens).
A leopard can’t change its spots in Scottish Gaelic: an car a bha san t-seana mhaide ‘s duilich a thoirt às (literally, the twist which is in the old stick is difficult to take out).
A leopard can’t change its spots in Serbo-Croatian: vuk dlaku mijenja, ali ćud nikada (literally, , a wolf sheds his coat, but never his temper).
A leopard can’t change its spots in Yiddish: אַ חזיר בלײַבט אַ חזיר‎ (a khazer blaybt a khazer, l(iterally, a pig remains a pig)

 

A watched pot never boils in many languages

QUien espera desespera en inglés

Alternative forms: a watched kettle never boils; watched toast never burns.

A watched pot never boils in other languages:

A watched pot never boils in Spanish: Quien espera, desespera (He who waits, despairs)
A watched pot never boils in French: Tout vient à point a qui sait attendre (Everything comes at the right time to those who wait); Qui attend s’ennuie (He who waits, gets upset).
A watched pot never boils in German: Hoffen und Harren macht manchen zum Narren (hoping and waiting is foolish); Wer viel hofft, täuscht sich oft (He who waits for a long time, often makes mistakes).
A watched pot never boils in Greek: πόλλ᾿ ἐλπίδες ψεύδουσι βροτοὺς (Hopes very often deceive mortals).
A watched pot never boils in Italian: ‘La pentola troppo sorvegliata non bolle mai’ from Geonese dialect:  ‘A pugnatta aggueita a no bogge mai.’ (The overmolded pan never boils); Chi di speranza vive disperato muore (He who lives hoping, dies hopeless).
A watched pot never boils in Portuguese: Panela vigiada não ferve (Watched panela does not boil); Quem espera, desespera (He who waits, despairs).
Romanian: Timpul trece mai încet pentru cine aşteaptă (Time is slower for those who are waiting)
A watched pot never boils in Russian: Ждать да догонять — нет хуже (There is nothing worse than wait to catch somebody).
A watched pot never boils in Catalan: qui s’espera, desespera (He who waits, despairs)
A watched pot never boils in Basque: Begira dagoenari, denbora luze (time seems longer to those who wait).
A watched pot never boils in Galician: El que espera desespera (He who waits, despairs).
A watched pot never boils in Irish: ní fiú feitheamh le fiuchadh (not even wait for it to boil)

 

typical Spanish idioms translated into English

Alternative form: (to) get blood from a stone; It’s like Squeezing water from a stone.

(to) get blood out of a stone in other languages:

(to) get blood out of a stone in Spanish: Pedirle peras al olmo (to ask for pears to an elm tree).
(to) get blood out of a stone in French: c’est comme se heurter à un mur (It’s like bumping into a wall).
(to) get blood out of a stone in German : verlorene Liebesmüh  (Love’s Labour’s Lost).
(to) get blood out of a stone in Italian:  come picchiare un cavallo morto (It’s like flogging a dead horse)
(to) get blood out of a stone in  Portuguese: tirar nabos da púcara (to throw prickly turnips).
(to) get blood out of a stone in Catalan : D’on no n’hi ha, no en raja  (It doesn’t flow from where there’s nothing).
(to) get blood out of a stone in Irish: is doiligh olann a bhaint de ghabhar (it’s hard to get wool off a goat).

The early bird catches the worm in many languages

quien madruga Dios le ayuda

The early bird catches the worm in other languages:

The early bird catches the worm in Spanish: a quien madruga, Dios le ayuda (God help those who get up early).
The early bird catches the worm in French: l’avenir appartient a ceux qui se lèvent tôt (the future belong to those who get up early)
The early bird catches the worm in German: Morgenstunde hat Gold im Munde (the morning has gold in its mouth).
The early bird catches the worm in Italian: Chi si aiuta Dio l’aiuta. Also ‘Il mattino ha l’oro in boccaat’ (the morning has gold in its mouth).
The early bird catches the worm in Portuguese: Deus ajuda quem muito madruga (God helps the ones who get up early)
The early bird catches the worm in Greek: Θες πλούτη και τιμή, μην κοιμάσαι την αυγή.
The early bird catches the worm in Catalan: Qui matina, fa farina (He who wakes up early makes flour);la feina matinal per tot el dia val (the early work is worth for the rest of the day)
The early bird catches the worm in Norwegian: den som kommer først til mølla, får først malt (The first to come is the first served)
The early bird catches the worm in Swedish: först till kvarn får först mala (The first to come is the first served)

God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb in many languages

Dios aprieta pero no ahoga

What can be cured must be endured in many languages

What can’t be cured must be endured (English) ~ Al mal tiempo, buena cara (Spanish)

What can’t be cured must be endured in other languages:

çWhat can’t be cured must be endured in Spanish: Al mal tiempo, buena cara (Against bad weather, good face).
What can’t be cured must be endured in Arabic: دواء الدهر الصبر عليه (The remedy for bad weather is patience).
What can’t be cured must be endured in French: Il faut faire contre mauvaise fortune bon cœur (Against misfortune, strong heart).
What can’t be cured must be endured in German: Man muss gute Miene zum bösen Spiel machen (You have to put a brave face to the bad game).
What can’t be cured must be endured in Italian: Bisogna far buon viso a cattivo gioco (You have to make the best of a bad game).
What can’t be cured must be endured in Russian: Делать хорошую мину при плохой игре (put a brave face to the bad game).
What can’t be cured must be endured in Basque: Ekeetan, irria ezpainetan (against life’s adversities, a smile on your lips).
What can’t be cured must be endured in Catalan: Al mal temps, bona cara (Against bad weather, good face).
What can’t be cured must be endured in Galician: A mal tempo, boa cara

A man is known by the company he keeps in many languages

Disclaimer > Don’t try this at home… In fact, don’t try this anywhere at all.

idioms in many languages

A man is known by the company he keeps in other languages: see picture.

(to) carry coals to Newcastle in many languages

(to) carry coals to Newcastle in other languages:

(to) carry coals to Newcastle in Spanish: Llevar leña al monte (to take wood to the mountain).
(to) carry coals to Newcastle in French: Porter de l’eau à la rivière  (to carry water to the river)
(to) carry coals to Newcastle in German: Eulen nach Athen tragen (Carrying owls to Athens).
(to) carry coals to Newcastle in Italian: portare acqua al mare (to carry water to the sea).
(to) carry coals to Newcastle in Irish Gaelic: bheith ag tabhairt cloch go Conamara (to give stones to Conamara); bheith ag cuimilt saille ar thóin na muice méithe (to take fat off the mice’s asses).
(to) carry coals to Newcastle in Polish: niepotrzebnie się trudzić wozić drzewo do lasu (there’s no point in carrying a tree to the wood).
(to) carry coals to Newcastle in Portuguese: lançar água no mar (to throw water to the sea) ensinar o padre nosso ao vigário (to teach the Lord’s Player to a vicar).

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth in

A chicken and egg situation / a catch 22 in many languages

 

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth in other languages:

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth in  Latin: Noli equi dentes inspicere donati (D’ont look at the dentition of a gift horse).

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth in Spanish: A caballo regalado no le mires el dentado (D’ont look at the dentition of a gift horse).
Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth in  German : Einem geschenkten Gaul sieht man nicht ins Maul.
Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth in Italian : A caval donato non si guarda in bocca
Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth in Polish: Darowanemu koniowi nie zagląda się w zęby (D’ont look at the dentition of a gift horse).
Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth in Portuguese: A cavalo dado, não se olha o dente. (don’t look at the dentition of a gift horse).
Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth in Serbo-Croatian: Ajándék lónak ne nézd a fogát (don’t look at the dentition of a gift horse).
Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth in Greek: Του χάριζαν ένα γάιδαρο κι αυτός τον κοίταζε στα δόντια.(D’ont look at the teeth of a gift horse).
Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth in Basque: Dohainik edan behar duenak, hitz gutti (Free drink, few words).

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth in Catalan: A caball regalat, no li miris el dentat

 

God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb in many languages

sayings illustrated

God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb in other languages:

God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb in Latin: Deus probat, sed non suffocat (God puts you to the test, but doesn’t smother you)
God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb in Spanish: Dios aprieta pero no ahora (God puts pressure on you, but doesn’t smother you).
God tempers the wind to the shornlamb in French: Dieu ne veut pas la mort du pécheur (God does not wish the death of a fisherman).
God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb in German: Gott lässt uns wohl sinken, aber nicht ertrinken (God let us sink, but not drown)
God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb in Italian: Dio non manda se non quel che si può portare (God doesn’t give more than it can take away).
God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb in Portuguese: Deus escreve certo por linhas tortas (God writes straight with crooked lines).
God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb in Basque: Munara eroaten dau Jaungoikoak, baina muna bera eztau botaten (God takes you up to a hill, but doesn’t let you fall down).

 

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket in many languages

no pongas todos los huevos en la misma cesta

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket in other languages:

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket in Spanish: No pongas todos los huevos en la misma cesta.(Don’t put all your eggs in one basket).
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket in French: Il ne faut pas mettre tous les oeufs dans le même panier (Don’t put all your eggs in one basket).
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket in German: Setze nicht alles auf eine Karte (Don’t bet everything on one card).
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket in Italian: non puntare tutto su una sola carta (Don’t bet everything on one card).
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket in Portuguese: não ponhas todos os ovos no mesmo cesto (Don’t put all your eggs in one basket).
Don’t put all your eggs in Mandarin Chinese: 孤注一掷;在一棵树上吊死 (to depend on a single person or strategy).

Monkey see, monkey do in many languages

culo veo culo deseo en inglés

Monkey see, monkey do in other languages:

Monkey see, monkey do in Spanish: ¿Dónde va Vicente? Donde va  la gente. (Where is Vincent going? To the same place where people is going)
Monkey see, monkey do in French: Tout ce que je fais, mon âne le refait (My donkey mimics everything I do); À la presse vont les fous (The madmen go to the press).
Monkey see, monkey do in German: Das Schaf folgt der Herde (The sheep follows the flock)
Monkey see, monkey do in  Greek: Ό,τι κάνει ο αρκουδιάρης, το κάνει και η μαϊμού του (what the lion tamer does, his monkey does too.)
Monkey see, monkey do in Italian: La gente fa come le pecore: dove va una vanno tutte People do as sheeps: where one goes, all the other go)
Monkey see, monkey do in  Portuguese: Maria vai com as outras (Mary goes with the others).

In every country dogs bite

polyglot sayings

 

Don’t bite off more than you can chew in many languages

el que mucho abarca poco aprieta en inglés
Don’t bite off more than you can chew (EN) ~ El que mucho abarca poco aprieta (SP)

Don’t bite off more than you can chew in other languages:

Don’t bite off more than you can chew in Spanish: Quien mucho abarca, poco aprieta.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew in French: Qui trop embrasse, mal étreint.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew in German: Wer zu viel fasst, lässt viel fallen
Don’t bite off more than you can chew in Italian: Chi troppo vuole nulla stringe.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew in Portuguese: Quem muito abarca pouco abraça.

There is no accounting for tastes in many languages

sobre gustos no hay nada escrito en inglés

There is no accounting for tastes in other languages:

There is no accounting for tastes in Spanish: Sobre gustos no hay nada escrito.
There is no accounting for tastes in French: Des goûts et des couleurs il n’en faut point parler.
There is no accounting for tastes in German: Über (den) Geschmack lässt sich nicht streiten.
There is no accounting for tastes in Italian: Ognuno ha i suoi gusti.
There is no accounting for tastes in Portuguese: Gostos não se discutem.

Old wine in new bottles in many languages

Old wine in different bottles

Alternative form: Old wine in new bottles.

Old wine in new bottles in other languages:

Old wine in new bottles in Spanish: El mismo perro con distinto collar (the same dog with different collar).
Old wine in new bottles in French: Bonnet blanc, blanc bonnet (White bonnet, bonnet white).
Old wine in new bottles in German: alter Wein in neuen Schläuchen (de) (old wine in new wineskins);  dasselbe in grün (literally “the same thing in green”).

The squeaky wheel gets the grease  in many languages

el que no llora no mama

Akternative form: The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease in other languages:

The squeaky wheel gets the grease in Spanish: el que no llora, no mama (He who doesn’t cry, isn’t breastfed).
The squeaky wheel gets the grease in French: Le rouspéteurs obtiennent toujours satisfaction (Grumblers always get satisfaction).
The squeaky wheel gets the grease in German: Ein Rädchen, das nicht quietscht, wird (auch) nicht geschmiert (a cog that does not squeak is not (even) lubrivated).
The squeaky wheel gets the grease in Portuguese: quem não chora, não mama  (He who doesn’t cry, isn’t breastfed).

Variety is the spice of life in many languages

Variety is the spice of life in other languages:

Variety is the spice of life in Latin: Varietas delectat (Variety is appealing)
Variety is the spice of life in Spanish: En la variedad está el gusto (The taste is in variety).
Variety is the spice of life in French: La variété est le sel de la vie (Variety is the salt of life); il faut de tout pour faire un monde (you need all kinds of things to make a world); La variété ravive les plaisirs Variety revives pleasure)
Variety is the spice of life in German: Abwechslung ist die Würze des Lebens (Variety is the spice of life); In der Abwechslung liegt das Vergnügen (pleasure is in variety).
Variety is the spice of life in Italian: la varietà dà sapore alla vita (Variety flavours life); Il mondo è bello perché è vario (The world is beautiful because it is diverse).
Variety is the spice of life in Portuguese: A variedade deleita (variety delights).
Variety is the spice of life in Finnish: vaihtelu virkistää (varierty is the spice).

Every cloud has a silver lining in many languages

Every cloud has a silver lining in other languages:

Every cloud has a silver lining in Spanish: No hay mal que por bien no venga (there is not a bad thing that does not come for a good one).
Every cloud has a silver lining in French: À quelque chose malheur est bon (to any thing bad luck is good).
Every cloud has a silver lining in German: kein Unglück ist so groß, es hat sein Glück im Schoß (No misfortune is so great; it comes with luck in the lap).
Every cloud has a silver lining in Italian: non tutto il male vien per nuocere (Not all evil comes to harm).
Every cloud has a silver lining in Portuguese: há males que vêm para o bem (there are bad things that come for the best).
Every cloud has a silver lining in Mandarin Chinese: 瘦死的駱駝比馬大, 瘦死的骆驼比马大 (The dead camel is worse than the horse).
Every cloud has a silver lining in Russian: нет ху́да без добра́ (There is no evil without good).
Every cloud has a silver lining in Basque: gaitz asko, onerako (many diseases, for good)
Every cloud has a silver lining in Scottish Gaelic:  tha a’ ghrian air cùlaibh gach sgothan (The sun is behind each boat).

Every dog has its day in many languages

Cada perro tiene su día en inglés

Every dog has its day in other languages:

Every dog has its day in Spanish: cada perro tiene su día (every dog has its day).
Every dog has its day in French: À chacun son heure de gloire (To each his glory hour).
Every dog has its day in Finnish: paistaa se päivä risukasaankin (literally “the day will shine to a pile of brushwood, too”).
Every dog has its day in German: ein blindes Huhn findet auch einmal Korn (even a blind hen sometimes finds a grain of corn).
Every dog has its day in Italian: ognuno ha il suo momento di gloria (everyone has his moment of glory).
Every dog has its day in Portuguese: um dia é da caça, outro do caçador (one day hunted, the next day hunter)

If my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle in many languagesSi mi abuela tuviera ruedas, sería una bicicleta en inglés

Alternative forms: if my uncle had tits, he’d be my aunt; if my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a streetcar; if my grandmother had balls, she’d be my granddad; if my sister had balls, she’d be my brother; if I had wheels, I’d be a wagon

If my aunt had balls, he’d be my uncle in other languages:

If my aunt had balls, he’d be my uncle in Spanish: Si mi abuela tuviera ruedas, sería una bicicleta (If my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a bicycle)
If my aunt had balls, he’d be my uncle in French: avec des si on mettrait Paris en boutelle (as if we put Paris in a bottle);  si ma tante en avait, on l’appellerait mon oncle  (if my aunt had any, she would be called my uncle).
If my aunt had balls, he’d be my uncle in German:  wenn das Wörtchen “wenn” nicht wär, wär mein Vater Millionär (if it weren’t for the little word “if”, my father would be a millionaire); hätte der Hund nicht geschissen, hätte er den Hasen gefangen (if the dog hadn’t shit, he would’ve caught the hare).
If my aunt had balls, he’d be my uncle in  Italian: con i se e con i ma la storia non si fa (with if(s) and  but(s) the story is not made)
If my aunt had balls, he’d be my uncle in
If my aunt had balls, he’d be my uncle in  Esperantose la ĉielo falus al tero, birdokapto estus facila afero (If the sky dropped to earth, bird skills would be an easy thing)

If you want something done right, do it yourself in many languages

Alternative forms: if you want a thing done well, do it yourself; if you want a thing done right, do it yourself; if you want it done right, do it yourself

If you want a thing done right, do it yourself in other languages:

if you want a thing done right, do it yourself in Spanish: Si quieres algo bien hecho, hazlo tu mismo (if you want something done right, do it yourself).
if you want a thing done right, do it yourself in French:  On n’est jamais mieux servi que pas soi-même (One is never better served than by oneself)
if you want a thing done right, do it yourself in
if you want a thing done right, do it yourself in Finnish: kun itse tekee, tietää mitä saa (when you do it, you know what you get)
if you want a thing done right, do it yourself in GermanSelbst ist der Mann (himself is the man)
if you want a thing done right, do it yourself Italian: se vuoi una cosa fatta bene fattela da solo  (if you want something done right, do it alone).
if you want a thing done right, do it yourself in Portuguese: O olho do dono é que engorda o gado (The eye of the master fattens the cattle)
if you want a thing done right, do it yourself in Catalan: Si vols estar ben servit, fes-te tu mateix el llit (if you want to have a good service, make the bed yourself)

No pain, no gain in many languages


on n'a rien sans peine

No pain, no gain in other languages:

No pain, no gain in Chinese (Mandarin): 不入虎穴,焉得虎子  (if you don’t enterthe tiger’s den, you don’t get a tiger).
No pain, no gain in Czech: bez práce nejsou koláče (cs) (There are no pies without work).
No pain, no gain in Danish: hvo intet vover, intet vinder (he who dares nothing wins nothing).
No pain, no gain in French: qui ne risque rien n’a rien (who risks nothing, gains nothing), qui ne tente rien n’a rien (who risks nothing, gains nothing), on n’a rien sans rien
No pain, no gain in German: von nichts kommt nichts (nothing comes from nothing), wer nicht wagt, der nicht gewinnt (who doesn’t risk, doesn’t win), Schmerz vergeht, die Ehre bleibt (pain goes away, honour stays), Schmerz vergeht, der Stolz bleibt (pain goes away, pride stays).
No pain, no gain in Korean: 불입호혈 부득호자 (buriphohyeol budeukhoja) (if you don’t enter the tiger’s den, how will you get the tiger’s cub?).
No pain, no gain in Portuguese: sem dor, sem ganho (no pain, no gain), quem não arrisca não petisca (who does not risk does not snack/eat)
No pain, no gain in Spanish:  El que algo quiere, algo le cuesta (He who wants something, must make some effort).
No pain, no gain in

It never rains but it pours in many languages

It never rains but it pours  in other languages:

It never rains but it pours  in Chinese (Mandarin): 屋漏偏逢連夜雨 (zh), 屋漏偏逢连夜雨 (zh) (wū lòu piān féng liányè yǔ, literally “when the roof is leaking, that’s when you’ll get several continuous nights of rain”), 禍不單行 (zh), 祸不单行 (zh) (huòbùdānxíng, literally “disasters do not come alone”)
It never rains but it pours  in Dutch: een ongeluk komt zelden alleen (literally “a misfortune seldom comes alone”), een ongeluk komt nooit alleen (literally “a misfortune never comes alone”)
It never rains but it pours  in German: ein Unglück kommt selten allein (literally “a misfortune seldom comes alone”)
It never rains but it pours  in Italian: i guai non vengono mai da soli (literally “misfortunes never come alone”)
It never rains but it pours  in Japanese:  踏んだり蹴ったり (ふんだりけったり, fundari-kettari, literally “we often tread on and we often bump off”), 泣きっ面に蜂 (なきっつらにはち, nakittsura ni hachi, literally “a wasp on a tearful face”), 弱り目に祟り目 (よわりめにたたりめ, yowari me ni tatari me, literally “in times of weakness, evil eyes”), 降れば土砂降り (ふればどしゃぶり, fureba doshaburi, literally “if it rains, it pours”).
It never rains but it pours  in Portuguese: Portuguese: um mal nunca vem só, uma desgraça nunca vem sozinha, uma desgraça nunca vem só (literally “a misfortune never comes alone”).
It never rains but it pours  in Russian: Russian: пришла́ беда́ — отворя́й воро́та(prišlá bedá — otvorjáj voróta, literally “when the trouble comes, open the gate”), беда́ одна́ не хо́дит (bedá odná ne xódit, literally “trouble does not come alone”).
It never rains but it pours  in Scottish Gaelic: nuair a thig air duine, thig air uile (literally “when it befalls one, it befalls all”).
It never rains but it pours  in Spanish: las desgracias nunca vienen solas (literally “misfortunes never come alone”)

Jack of all trades, master of none in many languages 

aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada

Jack of all trades master of none in other languages:

Jack of all trades master of none in Czech: devatero řemesel, desátá bída
Jack of all trades master of none in Dutch: twaalf stielen, dertien ongelukken
Jack of all trades master of none in Finnish: jokapaikanhöylä, jokapaikan höylä
Jack of all trades master of none in French: bon à tout, propre à rien (Good at everything, good at nothing)
Jack of all trades master of none in Japanese: Japanese: 器用貧乏 (きようびんぼう, kiyōbinbō)
Jack of all trades master of none in Spanish: aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada (“apprentice of everything, teacher of nothing”)

Too many cooks spoil the broth in many languages

Too many cooks spoil the broth  in other languages:

Too many cooks spoil the broth  in Danish: for mange kokke fordærver maden.
Too many cooks spoil the broth  in Dutch: veel koks bederven de brij, veel koks verzouten de brij
Too many cooks spoil the broth  in Finnish: mitä useampi kokki, sitä huonompi soppa
Too many cooks spoil the broth  in French: Trop de cuisiners grâtent la sauce.
Too many cooks spoil the broth  in German: German: (zu) viele Köche verderben den Brei
Too many cooks spoil the broth  in Polish: gdzie kucharek sześć, tam nie ma co jeść (pl)
Too many cooks spoil the broth  in Portuguese: quem não ajuda não atrapalha, muita cera queima a igreja, a cera sobeja queima a igreja
Too many cooks spoil the broth  in Spanish: muchas manos en un plato causan arrebato
Too many cooks spoil the broth  in Swedish: ju fler kockar, desto sämre soppa

All that glitters is not gold in many languages

sayings dichos

All that glitters is not gold  in other languages:

All that glitters is not gold in Latin: nōn omne quod nitet aurum est.
All that glitters is not gold in Czech: není všechno zlato co se třpytí.
All that glitters is not gold in Danish: det er ikke alt guld som glimrer.
All that glitters is not gold in French: tout ce qui brille n’est pas or .
All that glitters is not gold in German: es ist nicht alles Gold, was glänzt.
All that glitters is not gold in Greek: ό,τι λάμπει δεν είναι χρυσός.
All that glitters is not gold in Hungarian: nem mind arany, ami fénylik.
All that glitters is not gold in Icelandic: ekki er allt gull sem glóir.
All that glitters is not gold in Russian: не всё то зо́лото, что блести́т.
All that glitters is not gold in Slovene: ni vse zlato, kar se sveti.
All that glitters is not gold in Spanish: no es oro todo lo que reluce.

Once in a blue moon in many languages

Muy de vez en cuando en inglés y francés

Once in a blue moon  in other languages:

Once in a blue moon in Spanish: Muy de vez en cuando (literally very occasionally); cada muerte de obispo (literally, every  time a bishop dies)
Once in a blue moon in French: Tous les trente-six du mois (literally , on every thirty-sixth day of the month)
Once in a blue moon in German: alle Jubeljahre (literally, all Jubilee years)
Once in a blue moon in Italian:  a ogni moerte di Papa (literally, on every death of a Pope)
Once in a blue moon in  Polish: raz na ruski rok   (literally, once in a Russian year)
Once in a blue moon in Portuguese: de vez em nunca (hardñy ever)
Once in a blue moon in Finnish: todella harvoin (very rarely)
Once in a blue moon in Scottish Gaelic: uair san ràith (literally, hour in the season)

Rome wasn’t built in a day in many languages

Rome wasn’t built in a day  in other languages:

Rome wasn’t built in a day in Latin: Roma non uno die aedificata est
Rome wasn’t built in a day in Spanish: Roma no se contruyó en un día
Rome wasn’t built in a day in French: Rome ne s’est pas faite en un jour.
Rome wasn’t built in a day in German: Rom ist auch nicht an einem Tag erbaut worden. Also: Gut Ding will Weile haben
Rome wasn’t built in a day in ItalianRoma non fu fatta in un giorno
Rome wasn’t built in a day in Portuguese: Roma não se fez em um dia

You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar in many languagessayings illustrated

Se atrapan más moscas con miel que con hiel

You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar  in other languages:

You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar in Spanish: Se atrapan más moscas con miel que con hiel (literally, You can catch more flies with honey than with gall)
You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar in French: on n’attrape pas des mouches avec du vinaigre (literally, One can’t catch flyes with vinegar)
You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar in German: Mit einem Löffel Honig fängt man mehr Fliegen (literally, With a spoonful of honey you catch more flies).
You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar in Italian: si pigliano più mosche in una gocciola di miele che in un barile d’acete (literally, more flies are caught in a drop of honey than in a barrel of vinegar)

Colloquialisms

Colloquialisms are informal words, phrases, or even slang that people use in a conversational style.

(to) sleep it off in many languages

to sleep it off

to sleep it off

(to) sleep it off  in other languages:

(to) sleep it off in Spanish: dormir la mona (literally,  to put the monkey to sleep).
(to) sleep it off in French : cuver son vin (literally,  to boil one’s wine)
(to) sleep it off in German: Rausch ausschlafen (literally,  to sleep off the noise).
(to) sleep it off in Italian: smaltire la sbornia (literally,  to get rid of the hangover)
(to) sleep it off in Portuguese: curar a bebedeira (literally, to heal the drunkenness)

(to) be as mad as a hornet in many languages

 

estar cabreado en inglés y francés

Alternative forms: angry as a bull, angry as a bear,  (to) hit the ceiling, (to) see red…

(to) be as mad as a hornet  in other languages:

(to) be as mad as a hornet in Spanish: estar muy cabreado (to be pissed off); estar hasta las narices (literally,  to be up to the nose).
(to) be as mad as a hornet in French: être furieux comme pas deux (to be furious as not two); sortir de ses gonds (literally,  to get out of one’s hinges).
(to) be as mad as a hornet in German: fuchsteufelswild (literally,  hopping mad).
(to) be as mad as a hornet in Italian: sconvolto (upset); ne ho le palle piene (literally,  my balls are full, vulgar)
(to) be as mad as a hornet in Portuguese: estar zangado (literally,  to be upset) estar de saco cheio (literally,  to have the sack full).

(to) skip school in many languages

skip school

(to) skip school in other languages:

(to) skip school / ditch school  / play hooky / skive off in Spanish: (see picture)
(to) skip school / ditch school  / play hooky / skive off in French: faire l’école buissonnière (truancy); sécher les cours  (to skip classes); faire le mur (to do the wall).
(to) skip school / ditch school  / play hooky / skive off in German: Schule schwänzen (to skip school); schwänzen (literally, tails), blaumachen (literally, leaflets)
(to) skip school / ditch school  / play hooky / skive off in Italian: marinare la scuola(to skip school); bigiare.
(to) skip school / ditch school  / play hooky / skive off in Portuguese: fazer gazeta (literally, to make a gazette); matar aula (to kill classroom), cabular aula, cabular (to chant) (Brazil)
(to) skip school / ditch school  / play hooky / skive off in  Dutchspijbelen (truancy)
(to) skip school / ditch school  / play hooky / skive off in Catalan: fer campana (literally, to do the bell)
(to) skip school / ditch school  / play hooky / skive off in Norwegian: skulke (to avoid)
(to) skip school / ditch school  / play hooky / skive off in Thai: โดด (th) (dòot)
(to) skip school / ditch school  / play hooky / skive off in Turkish: Turkish: asmak (to hang), kaçmak (to escape), kaytarmak (to slack), kırmak (to break)

 

(to) snog in many languages

morrearse

Alternative forms:  (to) smooch; (to) make out (AmE); (to) pash (Australia)

(to) snog  in other languages:

(to) snog in Spanish: morrearse (literally, to snout)
(to) snog in French: rouler une pelle  (literally, to roll a shovel)
(to) snog in Chinese (Mandarin): 舌吻  (pronounciation:  shéwěn)
(to) snog in German: knutschen
(to) snog in Portuguese: beijar-se en la boca

Mixed bag in many languages

Alternative forms: catch-all, ragbag, mixed bad, hodgepodge,  hotchpotch (BrE)

Mixed bag in other languages:

Mixed bag in Spanish: cajón de sastre (literally, tailor’s drawer)
Mixed bag in French: fourre-tout (literally, catchall), un mélange (literally, mixture, blend), fatras (mess), pot-pourri
Mixed bag in German: Durcheinander , Mischmasch (literally, Confusion, mishmash)
Mixed bag in Italian: guazzabuglio (literally, jumble),  calderone (literally, cauldron), pot-pourri
Mixed bag in Portuguese: manta de retalhos (literally, patchwork)
Mixed bag in Catalan: poti-poti , pot-pourri
Mixed bag in Russian: Russian: вся́кая вся́чина (vsjákaja vsjáčina) (literally, all sorts of things), мешани́на (ru) (mešanína) (literally, jumble)
Mixed bag in Scots: pran
Mixed bag in Welsh: cybolfa

Nerd in many languages

colloquialisms illustrated

Empollón en inglés

Nerd is a very international and widespread slang word and it is used in many languages. However, some languages have their own word(s) to label an intellectually outstanding but introverted individual.

Nerd  in other languages:

Nerd in Spanish: empollón
Nerd in French: boutonneux / boutonneuse
Nerd in Danish: nørd
Nerd in Esperanto: nerdo
Nerd in Estonian: tuupur
Nerd in Finnish:  nörtti
Nerd in Greek: σπασίκλας (el) m (spasíklas), φυτό (el) (fytó)
Nerd in Icelandic: nörd
Nerd in Italian: secchione
Nerd in Malay: nerda
Nerd in Portuguese: nerd (pt) (Brazil), CDF (pt) (Brazil), totó (pt) m, f (Portugal, colloquial)
Nerd in Russian: зану́да бо́тан , нерд (slang), бота́ник (ru) m (botánik)

 

Dirty old man in many languagesvieux cochon en anglais et espagnol

Dirty old man  in other languages:

Dirty old man in Spanish: viejo verde (literally, green old man).
Dirty old man in French: Vieux cochon (literally, old pig).
Dirty old man in German:  alter Lustmolch (literally,  old pig)
Dirty old man in Portuguese: velho sujo (literally, dirty old man)
Dirty old man in Italian: vecchio porco (literally, old pig)

No way in hell in many languages

Not a way in hell

No way in other languages:

Not a chance / No way in hell in Spanish: ¡Ni de coña! (literally, Not even as a joke)
Not a chance / No way in hell in French: Même pas en rêve (literally, not even in dreams!)
Not a chance / No way in hell in German: ch besteht nicht die geringste Chance (literally, There is not the slightest chance)
Not a chance / No way in hell in Italian: Non esiste al mondo (che…) (literally, There is no such thing in the world…)
Not a chance / No way in hell in Portuguese: De jeito nenhum ( no way!)

(to) pig out in many languages

to pig out in Spanish

(to) pig out in other languages:

(to) pig out in Spanish: ponerse las botas (literally, to put on one’s shoes), comer hasta rebentar (literally, to eat until one bursts), comer como un cerdo (literally, to eat like a pig)
(to) pig out in French: s’empiffrer (literally, to stuff oneself)
(to) pig out in Catalan: endrapar, (literally,devour, to soak up)
(to) pig out in German: sich vollstopfen  (literally, to stuff oneself)
(to) pig out in Italian: abbuffarsi (literally, totuck in)
(to) pig out in Russian: жрать (literally, to eat)

(to) blow someone off in many languages

tomar por el pito del sereno en inglés

(to) blow someone off  in other languages:

(to) blow someone off  in Spanish: Pasar de alguien (literally, to ignore someone); tomar por el pito del sereno (literally, to treat as the  whistle of the watchman).
(to) blow someone off  in French: Mettre / Foutre un vent à quelqu’un (literally, to throw a wind to someone).
(to) blow someone off  in German: auslassen (literally, (to) skip).
(to) blow someone off  in Italian: mettere in disparte (literally, (to) put aside), snobbare (literally, (to) snub)
(to) blow someone off  in Portuguese: ignorar (literally, (to) ignore)

Wet blanket in many languages

Wet blanket  in other languages:

Wet blanket in Spanish: aguafiestas (literally,  parties waterer).
Wet blanket in French: rabat-joie (literally, joy killer).
Wet blanket in Italian: guastafeste (literally,  mood breaker).
Wet blanket in German: Spielverderber, Spaßbremse (literally,  spoil-sports, fun brake).
Wet blanket in Basque: hondatzaile (literally, destroyer).
Wet blanket in Catalan. Aixafaguitarres (literally, Guitars chrusher); esgarriacries (a person who hampers projects, hinders people from having conversations, games…)
Wet blanket in Czech : suchar (?)
Wet blanket in Danish: lyseslukker (spoil-sport).

What the fuck in many languages

Cool! in many languages 

Cool in European Spanish

Cool in Danish: Danish: ok, fint 👍
Cool in Finnish: Finnish: okei, ookoo 👍
Cool in French: Cool 👍
Cool in German: akzeptabel 👍
Cool in Italian: accettabile 👍
Cool in Polish: fajny 👍
Cool in Portuguese: aceitável 👍
Cool in Russian: в поря́дке (v porjádke), норма́льный (normálʹnyj), ничего́ (ničevó)
Serbian and Croatian: kul 👍
Cool in Spanish: Guay 👍 (Spain); chévere (Caribbean Islands, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Venezuela); choro (Chile); 👍 mostro (Peru) 👍; lindo (Argentina) 👍; padre (Mexico) 👍