LOST IN TRANSLATIONS

The best idioms from around the world, ranked

Obsession
Language
Obsession
Language

The following were sourced from I’m Not Hanging Noodles On Your Ears and Other Intriguing Idioms From Around the World by Jag Bhalla (National Geographic Books, 2009).

25. Ear-nectar

Origin: Indian. Meaning: A sweet noise or sound.

24. Can’t stop being the owl.

Origin: Italian, French. Meaning: Can’t stop flirting.

23. The Bald One

Origin: Cuban. Meaning: The Grim Reaper.

22-To-not-put-clothes-on-one-s-teeth-

Origin: Japanese. Meaning: To tell it like it is.

21. “When dogs were tied with sausages…”

Origin: Uruguayan. Meaning: “A long time ago…”

20. To go to the pineapple.

Origin: Dominican. Meaning: To fight.

19. “Grow like an onion with your head in the ground.”

Origin: Yiddish: Meaning: “Go take a hike.”

18. To stand like a watered poodle.

Origin: German. Meaning: To be crestfallen.

17. Like a crocodile in a wallet factory.

Origin: Puerto Rican. Meaning: To be very nervous.

16. Like the backside of a vulture.

Origin: Finnish. Meaning: Ugly.

15. Like eyebrows on fire.

Origin: Chinese. Meaning: Very urgent.

14-To-BE-FULL-OF-SOUP-

Origin: French. Meaning: To be fat.

13. To buy oneself a monkey.

Origin: German. Meaning: To get drunk.

12. Cleaner than a frog’s armpit.

Origin: Spanish. Meaning: Flat broke.

11. To fart higher than your bottom.

Origin: French. Meaning: To be snooty or posh.

10. To vomit the sound of weakness.

Origin: Japanese. Meaning: To whine.

9. “Stop climbing on my head.”

Origin: Arabic. Meaning: “Stop annoying me.”

8-Wiggle-your-bucket-

Origin: Mexican. Meaning: Dance.

7. To look like the Mona Lisa after a spanking.

Origin: Czech. Meaning: To be poorly dressed.

6. To make the kittens.

Origin: Italian. Meaning: To throw up.

5. “May a pine tree grow out of your bottom.”

Origin: Portuguese. Meaning: “Go to hell.”

4-To-throw-a-chicken-at-oneself-

Origin: Chilean. Meaning: To run away.

3. To bang your butt on the ground.

Origin: French. Meaning: To die from laughter.

2. “I’m not hanging noodles on your ears.”

Origin: Russian. Meaning: “I’m not pulling your leg.”

1-To-live-in-the-butt-of-the-wolf-

Origin: Italian. Meaning: To live very far away.

We welcome your comments at ideas@qz.com.

home our picks popular latest obsessions search