Idioms of the world

LIKE FATHER LIKE SON

Крушата не пада по-далеч от дървото. (Krushata ne pada po-dalech ot darvoto.) (Bulgarian)
The pear doesn't fall far from the tree.
Æblet falder ikke langt fra stammen. (Danish)
The apple doesn't fall far from the trunk.
Der Apfel fällt nicht weit vom Stamm. (German)
The apple does not fall down far from the tree.
Deda naxe, mama naxe, shvili ise gamonaxe. (Georgian)
Like mother, like father is a child.
Rogoric eri, iseti beri. (Georgian)
Like nation, like monk.
Kata mana kata kyrh kata gio kai thygatera. (Greek)
Like mother, like father, like son and daughter.
Nem esik messze az alma a fájától. (Hungarian)
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Obuolys nuo obels netoli rieda. (Lithuanian)
The apple does not roll far from the apple tree.
Bhaz-zokk il-fergha. (Maltese)
As the trunk so the branch.
Niedaleko pada jabłko od jabłoni. (Polish)
The apple does not fall down far from the tree.
Filho de peixe sabe nadar. (Portuguese)
A fish's child knows how to swim.
Aschia nu sare departe de trunchi. (Romanian)
The chip is not jumping further than the trunk.
Каков поп, таков и приход. (Kakov pop takov i prihod.) (Russian)
What the priest is like, so is the church.
Aká matka, taka Katka. (Slovak)
Like mother like Kate.
Jabolko ne pade daleč od drevesa. (Slovenian)
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
De tal palo tal astilla. (Spanish)
From such stick comes such splinter.
Äpplet faller inte långt från trädet. (Swedish)
The apple does not fall far from the tree.
Armut dibine düşermiş. (Turkish)
The pear falls right onto its bottom.

YOU CANNOT MAKE A SILK PURSE OUT OF A SOW’S EAR

Al draagt een aap een gouden ring, het is en blijft een lelijk ding. (Dutch)
Even if the monkey wears a golden ring it remains an ugly thing.
On ne peut faire d'une buse un épervier. (French)
You can't turn a buzzard / a dolt into a sparrowhawk.
Fare le nozze coi fichi secchi. (Italian)
To do a wedding with dried figs.
I w Paryżu nie zrobią z owsa ryżu. (Polish)
Even in Paris they will not change oat for rice.
Рожденный ползать летать не может. (Rozhdennyj polzat letat ne mozhet.) (Russian)
If you’re born to crawl you can’t fly.
Opica zostane opicou, hoci by si na nu zlatú retaz povesil. (Slovak)
Monkey remains monkey even if you hang a golden kettle around its neck.

A SANDWICH SHORT OF A PICNIC

Šplouchá mu na maják. (Czech)
It's splashing on his lighthouse.
Ikke at være den skarpeste kniv i skuffen. (Danish)
Not to be the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Hij heeft een klap van de molen gehad. (Dutch)
He got a blow from the windmill.
Avoir une araigneé au plafond. (French)
To have a spider on the ceiling.
Ne pas avoir inventé le fil à couper le beurre. (French)
Not to have invented the wire to cut butter.
Nicht alle Tassen im Schrank haben. (German) 
Not to have all the cups in the cupboard.
Non avere tutti i venerdì. (Italian)
To be lacking some Fridays.
Jam ne visi namie. (Lithuanian)
He doesn't have everybody at home.
Tem macaquinhos no sotão. (Portuguese)
He has little monkeys in the attic.
Без царя в голове. (Bez tsarya v golove.) (Russian)
Not having a tsar inside his head.
Lud ko struja (Serbian)
As crazy as electricity
Zostat na ocot (Slovak)
To be left for vinegar
Más loco que un plumero (Spanish)
Crazier than a feather duster
Adamın tahtası eksik. (Turkish)
Some planks are missing from his roof.

THE POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK

Rugala se sova sjenici. (Croatian)
The owl mocked the tit.
C'est l'hôpital qui se moque de la Charité. (French)
The hospital mocks the Charity.
Eipe o gaidaros ton petino kefala. (Greek)
The donkey called the cockerel "dunderhead".
Ein Esel schimpft den anderen Langohr. (German)
A donkey calls the other a rabbit.
Il bue che dice cornuto all'asino. (Italian)
The ox calling the donkey "horned".
Râde hârb de oala sparta. (Romanian)
A broken part of the pot is laughing at the broken pot.
Курицу яйца не учат. (Russian)
Eggs don't teach a chicken
Zabudol vôl, že teľaťom bol. (Slovak)
The ox has forgotten that he had been a calf, too.
Le dijo la sarten al cazo. (Spanish)
As the pan told the pot.
Yavuz hırsız ev sahibini bastırır. (Turkish)
Bold burglar suppresses the landlord.

ONCE BITTEN, TWICE SHY

Brændt barn skyr ilden. (Danish)
A burned child shuns the fire.
Ein gebranntes Kind scheut das Feuer. (German)
A burned child shuns the fire.
Opoios kaei me to xilo, fusaei kai ti giaourti. (Greek)
Whoever gets burnt from the porridge, blows on the yogurt, too.
Cão picado por cobra, tem medo de linguiça. (Portuguese)
A dog that has been bitten by a snake fears sausages.
Пуганая ворона куста боится. (puganaya vorona kusta boitsya) (Russian)
A spooked crow is afraid of a bush.
Пуганная ворона собственной тени боится. (puganaya vorona sobstvennoj teni boitsya) (Russian)
A spooked crow is afraid of it's own shadow.
Cine s-a fript cu ciorba, suflã si-n iaurt. (Romanian)
The one who burnt his tongue with the soup is going to blow the yoghurt as well.
Ulciorul nu merge de doua ori la apa! (Romanian)
You cannot do the same trick twice.
Koho raz had uštipne, aj hlísty sa bojí. (Slovak)
Who has been bitten by a snake is afraid even of a worm.
El gato escaldado del agua fria huye. (Spanish)
The cat that has been scalded runs away from cold water.

TO CARRY COALS TO NEWCASTLE

Eulen nach Athen tragen (German)
Taking owls to Athens
Vizet hord a Dunába (Hungarian)
Taking water to the Danube
Vendere ghiaccio agli eschimesi (Italian)
Selling ice to the eskimos
A vinde castraveti grãdinarului (Romanian)
Selling cucumbers to the gardener
Yezdit v Tulu so svoim samovarom (Russian)
He’s going to Tula taking his own samovar
Echar agua al mar (Spanish)
To throw water into the sea
Llevar naranjas a Valencia (Spanish)
Taking oranges to Valencia
Tereciye tere satma. (Turkish)
Don't sell cress to the cress-seller.

TO BEAT ABOUT/AROUND THE BUSH

Kiertää kuin kissa kuumaa puuroa. (Finnish)
To pace around hot porridge like a cat.
Y aller par quatre chemins. (French)
To get there by four paths.
Å gå som katten rundt den varme grøten. (Norwegian)
To walk like a cat around hot porridge.
A umbla cu fofârlica. (Romanian)
Qalking with the lark.
Ходить вокруг да около. (Khoditj vokroog da okolo.) (Russian)
To walk round and about.
Chodit okolo horúcej kaše. (Slovak)
To walk around hot porridge.
Emborrachar la perdiz. (Spanish)
To get the partridge drunk.
Irse por la ramas. (Spanish)
Going along the branches.

TOO MANY COOKS SPOIL THE BROTH

Seul mui à vugulion a vez, e vez falloc'h gouarnet ar saout. (Breton, France)
The more cowherds there are, the worse the cows are looked after.
Puno baba, kilavo dijete. (Croatian)
Many midwives, child will be lazy.
Veel varkens maken de spoeling dun. (Dutch)
Many pigs make the slops sparse.
shvidi dzidzis xelshi bavshvi daikarga. (Georgian)
A child, looked after by seven nannies is lost.
Zu viele Köche verderben den Brei. (German) 
Too many cooks ruin the broth.
Opou laloun polla kokoria, argei na xhmerwsei. (Greek) 
Where there are too many roosters singing the dawn comes late.
Troppi galli a cantare non fa mai giorno. (Italian)
Too many cocks singing it is never going to dawn.
Tarp dviejų auklių vaikas be galvos. (Lithuanian)
Between two nannies a child leaves without his head.
Gdzie kucharek sześć, tam nie ma co jeść. (Polish)
Six cooks and nothing to eat.
У семи нянек дитя без глазу. (U semi nyanek dyetya byez glaza.) (Russian)
A child, looked after by seven nannies is without one eye.
Horozun çok olduğu yerde sabah geç olur. (Turkish)
Where there are too many roosters, dawn comes late.

DON’T CRY OVER SPILT MILK

Gviania titze kbena (Georgian)
To bite one's finger is late
Eso után köpönyeg (Hungarian)
Coat after rain
Nu plânge dupã laptele vãrsat (Romanian)
Do not cry over spilt milk
Kusat sebe lokti (Russian)
To bite one’s elbows
Po toci zvoniti je prepozno (Slovenian) 
It's too late to ring after the hail
Paid â chodi pais ar ôl piso (Welsh)
Don't lift a petticoat after peeing

BAD WORKMAN BLAMES HIS TOOLS

На крива ракета космосът й пречи. (Na kriva raketa kosmosat i prechi.) (Bulgarian)
An awry/bad rocket blames the space.
Wenn der Bauer nicht schwimmen kann, liegt es an der Badehose. (German)
If the farmer can't swim, it's due to his swimming trunks.
नाच ना जाने आँगन टेढा. (Naach na jaane anagan thedha.) (Hindi)
One who knows no dance claims that the stage is tilted.
Zlej baletnicy przeszkadza rabek u spódnicy. (Polish)
A poor dancer will be disturbed even by the hem of her skirt.
Plokhomoo tantsoroo i nogi meshayut. (Russian)
A bad dancer's legs get into his way.
El mal escribano le echa la culpa a la pluma. (Spanish)
The poor writer blames the pen.
El cojo le echa la culpa al empedrado. (Spanish)
The limping man blames the pavement.

DON’T COUNT YOUR CHICKENS BEFORE THEY’RE HATCHED

Ne spremaj ražanj dok je zec još u šumi (Croatian)
Do not prepare the skewer while the hare is still in the woods
Man skal ikke selge skinnet, før bjørnen er skutt (Danish)
One should not sell the fur before the bear has been shot
Älä nuolaise ennen kuin tipahtaa (Finnish)
Don't start licking it up before it drops on to the table
En nylje karhua, ennen kuin se on kaadettu (Finnish)
I don't skin a bear before it's been felled
Tsitsilebs shemodgomaze itvlian (Gerogian)
One should count chickens in autumn
Du sollst den Tag nicht vor dem Abend loben (German)
You shouldn't praise the day before the night.
Mi logariazeis khoris ton xenodokho (Greek)
Don't make counts without the innkeeper
Non dire gatto se non ce l'hai nel sacco (Italian)
Never say 'cat' if you have not got it in your sack
Nesakyk ,,op'', neperšokęs balos (Lithuanian)
Don't say hop, before jumping over the marsch
na neroden Petko kapa mu skroile (Macedonian)
they sewed a hat to Peter who is not born yet
Nie dziel skóry na niedźwiedziu (Polish)
Don't share the skin while it's still on the bear
tsiplyat po oseni schitayut (Russian)
one should count chicks in autumn
ne govori gop, poka ne pereskochish (pereprygnesh) (Russian)
Don't say hop until you jumped over
Nu da vrabia din mânã, pe cioara de pe gard (Romanian)
Do not give away the sparrow from your hand for the crow sitting on the fence
Nehovar hop kým nepreskocíš (Slovak)
Don´t say hop until you jump
Dereyi görmeden paçalari sivama (Turkish)
Do not roll up your trouser-legs before you see the stream

IT’S RAINING CATS AND DOGS

Kiša lije k'o iz kabla. (Bosnian) 
The rain is pouring like from cable.
Padají trakare. (Czech)
It's raining wheelbarrows.
Det regner skomagerdrenge. (Danish)
It's raining shoemakers' apprentices.
Het regent pijpenstelen. (Dutch)
It’s raining pipestems.
Il pleut comme une vache qui pisse. (French)
It’s raining like a pissing cow.
Il pleut des cordes/des hallebardes. (French)
It is raining ropes/halberds.
Kokispirulad tsvims. (Georgian)
It's raining like from a jug.
Es regnet Bindfäden. (German)
It is raining thread.
Es regnet Schusterbuben. (German)
It is raining young cobblers.
Βρέχει καρεκλοπόδαρα. (Brékhei kareklopódara.) (Greek)
It's raining chair legs.
Pila kaip iš kibiro. (Lithuanian)
It is pouring like from a bucket.
Está chovendo canivetes. (Portuguese)
It is raining pocket knives.
Plouã cu gãleata. (Romanian)
It’s raining with a bucket.
L'yot kak iz vedra. (Russian)
It is pouring like from a bucket.
Prší ako z krhly. (Slovak)
It´s raining like from a watering-can.
Estan lloviendo hasta maridos. (Spanish)
It's almost raining husbands.
Bardaktan boşanırcasına yağıyor. (Turkish)
It is raining as if it is pouring out of a cup.
Mae hi'n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn. (Welsh)
It's raining old ladies and walking sticks.

AS EASY AS FALLING OFF A LOG

Så let som at klø sig i nakken (Danish)
As easy as scratching the back of your neck
Facile come bere un bicchier d'acqua, facile come andare in bicicletta (Italian)
As easy as drinking a glass of water, as easy as cycling
Lengva, kaip dukart du (Lithuanian)
Easy as two times two
Usor ca buna ziua (Romanian)
As eassy as saying hello
Ežiku ponjatno (Russian)
Understandable to a hedgehog
Lahké ako facka (Slovak)
As easy as a slap
Enostavno kot pasulj (Slovenian)
As easy as bean stew
Tereyagindan kil ceker gibi (Turkish)
As if pulling a strand of hair from butter

AS THICK AS THIEVES

Kolos kai vraki (Greek)
Like buttocks and underwear
S‘entendre comme cul et chemise (French)
To get along like one’s buttocks and shirt
Uni comme les doigts de la main (French)
Tied like the fingers of a hand
Come culo e camicia (Italian)
Like butocks and shirt
Ser unha e carne (Portuguese)
To be fingernail and flesh
A fi prieteni la cataramã (Romanian)
To be very good friends
Vodoi ne razol'yosh (Russian)
You can't separate them with water
Hustý ako hmla (Slovak)
As thick as a fog
Ser como uña y carne (Spanish)
To be fingernail and flesh
Aralarindan su sizmaz (Turkish)
Not even water can pass between them

SOMETHING IS ROTTEN IN THE STATE OF DENMARK

Kauppaan on koira haudattuna. (Finnish)
There is a dog buried in the affair.
Les dés sont pipés. (French)
The dice are cheated.
Il y a anguille sous roche. (French)
There is an eel under the rock.
Hay un gato encerrado. (Spanish)
There’s a cat shut up.

BEGGARS CAN'T BE CHOOSERS

Faute de grives, on mange des merles. (French)
When there's lack of thrushes, one eats blackbirds.
In der Not frisst der Teufel fliegen. (German)
In times of need, the devil eats flies.

TO GIVE UP THE GHOST

rhoi'r ffidl yn y to (Welsh)
to put the fiddle in the roof

The original concept and examples featured on this page have been provided by Adam Jacot de Boinod

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