Idioms of the world

LIKE FATHER LIKE SON

kakov pop takov i prihod (Russian)

like priest like church
Æblet falder ikke langt fra stammen (Danish)
the apple doesn't fall far from the trunk
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
de tal palo tal astilla (Spanish)
from such stick comes such splinter
Aká matka, taka Katka (Slovak)
Like mother like Kate
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
Krushata ne pada po-dalech ot darvoto (Bulgarian)
The pear doesn't fall far from the tree
äpplet faller inte långt från trädet (Swedish)
the apple does not fall far from the tree
Bhaz-zokk il-fergha (Maltese)
As the trunk so the branch

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

Rozhdennyj polzat letat ne mozhet (Russian)

if you’re born to crawl you can’t fly
on ne peut faire d'une buse un épervier (French)
you can't turn a buzzard / a dolt into a sparrowhawk
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
fare le nozze coi fichi secchi (Italian)
to do a wedding with dried figs
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

DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER

l'abito non fa il monaco (Italian)

clothes do not make the monk
quem vê caras não vê corações (Portuguese)
he who sees faces doesn't see hearts
odijelo ne cini covjeka (Croatian)
a suit doesn't make a man
het zijn niet allen koks die lange messen dragen (Dutch)
it's not only cooks that carry long knives
nu haina il face pe om (Romanian)
clothes do not make the man
Nesúd knihu podla obalu (Slovak)
Don´t judge a book by its cover
nie sądź po pozorach (Polish)
do not judge by appearances
l'habit ne fait pas le moine (French)
The clothes don't make a monk
No es oro todo lo que reluce (Spanish)
Not everything that glitters is gold

A SANDWICH SHORT OF A PICNIC

Šplouchá mu na maják (Czech)

it's splashing on his lighthouse
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
non avere tutti i venerdì (Italian)
to be lacking some Fridays
tem macaquinhos no sotão (Portuguese)
he has little monkeys in the attic
lud ko struja (Serbian)
crazy as electricity
más loco que un plumero (Spanish)
crazier than a feather duster
ikke at være den skarpeste kniv i skuffen (Danish)
not to be the sharpest knife in the drawer
Zostat na ocot (Slovak)
to be left for vinegar
nicht alle Tassen im Schrank haben (German) 
not to have all the cups in the cupboard
Jam ne visi namie (Lithuanian)
He doesn't have everybody at home

THE POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK

c'est l'hôpital qui se moque de la Charité (French)
it's the hospital that mocks Charity
rugala se sova sjenici (Croatian)
the owl mocked the tit
il bue che dice cornuto all'asino (Italian)
the ox saying 'horned' to the donkey
ein Esel schimpft den anderen Langohr (German)
a donkey gets cross with a rabbit
Râde hârb de oală spartă (Romanian)
A fragment is laughing at a broken pot
Le dijo la sarten al cazo (Spanish)
As the pan told the pot 

ONCE BITTEN, TWICE SHY

el gato escaldado del agua fria huye (Spanish)
the cat that has been scalded runs away from cold water
brændt barn skyr ilden (Danish)
a burned child is shy of fire
puganaya vorona kusta (telezhnogo skripa/sobstvennoj teni) boitsya (Russian)
a spooked crow is afraid of a bush (a carriage squeak/it's own shadow)
cão picado por cobra, tem medo de linguiça (Portuguese)
a dog that has been bitten by a snake fears sausages
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
Koho raz had uštipne, aj hlísty sa bojí. (Slovak)
Who has been bitten by a snake is afraid even of a worm
Ulciorul nu merge de doua ori la apa! (Romanian)
You cannot do the same trick twice
opios kai me to hilo, fisaei ke to giaourti (Greek) 
if somebody has been burnt with the porridge, he blows even the yoghurt

TO CARRY COALS TO NEWCASTLE

Eulen nach Athen tragen (German)
taking owls to Athens
yezdit v Tulu so svoim samovarom (Russian)
he’s going to Tula taking his own samovar
vendere ghiaccio agli eschimesi (Italian)
selling ice to the eskimos
echar agua al mar (Spanish)
to throw water into the sea
es como llevar naranjas a Valencia (Spanish)
is like taking oranges to Valencia
vizet hord a Dunába (Hungarian)
taking water to the Danube
a vinde castraveti grãdinarului (Romanian)
selling cucumbers to the gardener

TO BEAT ABOUT THE BUSH

y aller par quatre chemins (French)
to get there by four paths
kiertää kuin kissa kuumaa puuroa (Finnish)
to pace around hot porridge like a cat
Å gå som katten rundt den varme grøten (Norwegian)
to walk like a cat around hot porridge
emborrachar la perdiz (Spanish)
to get the partridge drunk
a umbla cu fofârlica (Romanian)
walking with the lark
Chodit okolo horúcej kaše. (Slovak)
to beat about the bush

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
troppi galli a cantare non fa mai giorno (Italian)
too many cocks singing it is never going to dawn
u pyati nyanek dyetya byez glaza, u cemerykh - byez golovy (Russian)
A child, looked after by five nannies is without one eye, looked after by seven nannies – without a head
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 many cocks are yelling, the morning is being late to come

DON’T CRY OVER SPILT MILK

paid â chodi pais ar ôl piso (Welsh)
don't lift a petticoat after peeing
kusat sebe lokti (Russian)
to bite one’s elbows
eso után köpönyeg (Hungarian)
coat after rain
nu plânge dupã laptele vãrsat (Romanian)
do not cry over spilt milk
gviania titze kbena (Gerogian)
to bite one's finger is late
Po toči zvoniti je prepozno (Slovenian) 
it's too late to ring after the hail

BAD WORKMAN BLAMES HIS TOOLS

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
zlej baletnicy przeszkadza rabek u spódnicy (Polish)
a poor dancer will be disturbed even by the hem of her skirt
gdzie kucharek sześć, tam nie ma co jeść (Polish)
six cooks and nothing to eat
Na kriva raketa Kosmosat i prechi (Bulgarian)
An awry/bad rocket blames the space

DON’T COUNT YOUR CHICKENS BEFORE THEY’RE HATCHED

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
na neroden Petko kapa mu skroile (Macedonian)
they sewed a hat to Peter who is not born yet
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
en nylje karhua, ennen kuin se on kaadettu (Finnish)
I don't skin a bear before it's been felled
non dire gatto se non ce l'hai nel sacco (Italian)
never say 'cat' if you have not got it in your sack
dereyi görmeden paçalari sivama (Turkish)
do not roll up your trouser-legs before you see the stream
nehovar hop kým nepreskocíš (Slovak)
don´t say hop until you jump
tsitsilebs shemodgomaze itvlian (Gerogian)
One should count chickens in Autumn

IT’S RAINING CATS AND DOGS

padají trakare (Czech)
it's raining wheelbarrows
det regner skomagerdrenge (Danish)
it's raining shoemakers' apprentices
het regent pijpenstelen (Dutch)
it’s raining pipestems
brékhei kareklopódara (Greek)
it's raining chair legs
il pleut comme vache qui pisse (French)
it’s raining like a pissing cow
es regnet Schusterbuben (German)
it is raining young cobblers
estan lloviendo hasta maridos (Spanish)
it's even raining husbands
plouã cu gãleata (Romanian)
it’s raining heavily
prší ako z krhly (Slovak)
it´s raining like from a watering-can
kokispirulad tsvims (Georgian)
It's raining like from a jug
Il pleut des cordes/des hallebardes (French)
It is raining strings/halberds
Kiša lije k'o iz kabla (Bosnian) 
The rains pouring as from cable
Pila kaip iš kibiro (Lithuanian)
It is pouring like from a bucket

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
ežiku ponjatno (Russian)
understandable to a hedgehog
tereyagindan kil ceker gibi (Turkish)
as if pulling a strand of hair from butter
Lahké ako facka (Slovak)
as easy as a slap
Lengva, kaip dukart du (Lithuanian)
Easy as two times two
Enostavno kot pasulj (Slovenian)
as easy as bean stew

AS THICK AS THIEVES

aralarindan su sizmaz (Turkish)
not even water can pass between them
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
ser como uña y carne (Spanish)
to be fingernail and flesh
a fi prieteni la cataramã (Romanian)
to be very good friends
Hustý ako hmla (Slovak)
as thick as a fog
Come culo e camicia (Italian)
Like butocks and shirt

SOMETHING IS ROTTEN IN THE STATE OF DENMARK

hay un gato encerrado (Spanish)
there’s a cat shut up
les dés sont pipés (French)
the dice are cheated
il y a anguille sous roche (French)
there is an eel under the rock
iskat' igolku v stoge sena (Russian)
there is a needle in the haystack

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

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