European Nationality-Related Idioms

“In our modern time, it is necessary to have the European spirit”

Madame de Staël

Yes, we all know: “every road goes to Rome” and “it was not built in a day”. These proverbs can be heard all throughout Europe… But Europeans also have specific sayings and idioms related to other European nationalities which can be extremely funny. If French people propose you “to go make yourself see at the home of the Greeks, they are not inviting you to a nice trip in Greece…  When Spaniards “pretend to be Swedish“, they just pretend to be ignorant… When Romanians “steal the German’s pipe“, they just mean they are getting drunk… Dutch people are panicking heavily when they “get Spanish tension” and Slovenians “go to Rome” when they give birth! The following list of European nationality-related idioms is a first attempt to collect all together these traditional and often entertaining sayings. Do not hesitate to share yours!

Portugal

À grande e à francesa” 

Portuguese may not live extravagantly or “at big and at French” (“À grande e à francesa“) but they try to please everyone, even two opposing parties, or in other words to “please Greeks and Trojans” (“Agradar a gregos e troianos“). They sometimes “look Greek” (“ver-se grego“) when they can’t accomplish a task or stuggle with something – partly because they do not have “a galegos’ strength” (“Força de um galego“). They are particularly rich when they “speak well French” (“falar bem francês“) as long as they do not fancy things “for english to see” (“para inglês ver“) which means made only for appearances. They get confused when they “loose their latin” (“perder o latin“) and may sometimes “speak French as a Spanish cow” (“falar francês como uma vaca espanhola“). When something works properly, Portuguese say that it is as “right as a swiss clock” (“Certo que nem um relógio suiço“), but they are sure of something: “neither good wind nor good marriage come from Spain” (“De Espanha nem bom vento nem bom casement“)

France

À grande e à francesa
at big and at French
It designates a luxurious lifestyle.

Sair à francesa
Exit in a French mode
This expression means exit stealthily, quietly: Sneak a local.

Falar francês como uma vaca espanhola
Speak French as a Spanish cow
It means to speak a really bad French.

Spain

De Espanha nem bom vento nem bom casamento
Neither good wind nor good marriage come from Spain
Proverb that implies to be wary of Spain. Eastern winds (from the spanish border) are usually very dry and uncomfortable. The marriage part alludes to royal marriages with the spanish monarchy of which resulted the Iberian Union

United-Kingdom

Para inglês ver
for english to see
Something that is made only for appearances.

Switzerland

Certo que nem um relógio suiço
Right as swiss clock
Something that works properly.

Greece

Agradar a gregos e troianos
To please Greeks and Trojans
It means to please everyone, even people with very different characteristics; for example please two opposing parties.

Ver-se grego
Look Greek
It means to have difficulties accomplishing a task or struggling with something

Latin

perder o latin
Loose one’s latin
To become confuse

Spain

“Hacerse el sueco”

In Spain, do not “pretend to be a Swede” (“Hacerse el sueco“) because it means that you pretend not to understand or know anything about something. And you know how bad it is, to be Swedish! On the opposite, it would be most appreciated if you could “put a pike in Flanders” (“poner una pica en flandes“) as it means that you have achieved significant successes. Hopefully you would then be able to celebrate your success “drinking like a German” (“beber como un tudesco“) while making sure that your friends are not “jealous as a Turk” (“celoso como un turco“). Once your party is over, just try to “leave the French way” without saying goodbye (“despedirse a la francesa“). It is the height of politeness!

France

Despedirse a la francesa
“Goodbye in the French way”, “French farewell”
It means to leave without saying goodbye

Belgium

Poner una pica en flandes
To put a pike in Flanders
To bring off a real coup, achieve a signal success

Sweden

Hacerse el sueco
Pretend to be Swedish
Pretend not to understand, not to know about something.

Germany

Beber como un tudesco
To drink like a German
To dring a lot

Turkey

Celoso como un turco
Jealous as a Turk
To be really jealous

La cabeza de turco
Turkish head
Scapegoat

France – Belgium – Luxemburg – Switzerland

Aller se faire voir chez les 

How rude! If French people propose you “to go make yourself see at the home of the Greeks (“aller se faire voir chez les Grecs“), they are not inviting you for a nice trip to Greece. They just want you to fuck off… Ask yourself then maybe if you are not their “turkish head” (“tête de Turc“) or in other words, their scapegoat. Is it because you’ve been “drunk as a Pole” yesterday (“saoul comme un Polonais“)? Or because you have the “spanish illness” (“le mal espagnol“)? No one knows… But, if you are lucky to be “beautiful as a Greek” (“beau comme un Grec“), French people may eventually offer you some fun with an “English condom” (“capote anglaise“). They may even propose you to share impossible dreams or desires or in other words to “build castles in Spain” (“construire des chateaux en Espagne). In that case, your dreams with your French lover may be postponed “until the Greek Calends” (“renvoyer aux calendes grecques“) long after your lover would have “left English style” (“filer à l’anglaise“). You would then be alone, experiencing the famous hot and cold “Scottish shower” (“prendre une douche écossaise“). But just feel lucky : “Here’s something the Germans won’t get!” (C’est toujours ça que les allemands n’auront pas!“)

Spain

Construire des chateaux en espagne
Build castles in Spain
Build castles in the air/sky, that is to say to have impossible dreams/ambitions/desires

Le mal espagnol
Spanish influenza

United Kingdom

Parler anglais comme une vache espagnole
To speak English like a spanish cow
To speak really bad English

Filer à l’anglaise
To leave English style
To take French leave – To leave without saying goodbye

Prendre une douche écossaise
Take a Scottish shower
It is not a reference to how much rain falls on Scotland, but is a therapy where you would alternate showering with cold / hot water and refers to a rollercoaster-like situation.

Capote anglaise
English condom
A condom

Les Anglais débarquent
The English have arrived
To menstruate.

Germany

C’est toujours ça que les allemands n’auront pas!
Here’s something the Germans won’t get!
Expression when someone eats the last piece of food or the leftovers

Switzerland

Boire en Suisse
To drink in a Swiss way
To drink alone.

Poland

Saoul comme un Polonais
Drunk as a Pole
To be really drunk

Greece

Se faire voir chez les grecs
To go to make oneself see at the home of the Greeks
To be told to get lost – be told to go away – be told to make oneself scarce – be told to fuck off

Renvoyer aux calendes grecques
To put off until the Greek Calends
To put something off indefinitely

Beau comme un grec
Beautiful as a Greek
Handsome man

Turkey

Tête de turc
Turkish head
Scapegoat

Traiter quelqu’un de Turc à Maure
To treat someone from Turk to Maure
To treat someone with crualty and no pity

Latin

Perdre son latin
Loose one’s latin
To become confuse

United Kingdom – Ireland

Go Dutch

Don’t know what the Dutch did to the Brits, but English people don’t spare them in their expressions… Someone speaks nonsense? He just speaks “double Dutch“… Someone gives unwelcome advice? He is just a “Dutch Uncle“… Someone wants to share the bill at the restaurant? He just wants to “go Dutch“… Someone lacks confidence and needs an alcoholic drink to take away the nerves? He just have “Dutch courage“… A “Dutch Feast is known for the  host getting drunk before the guests… Spaniards are not particularly spared neither. Unauthorized working methods that benefit those who follow them are “Spanish practices“. If someone is being “walked Spanish“, she/he is physically forced to leave a place. And what about France? A “French letter” is simply a condom… A “French shower” is to spray oneself with deodorant instead of washing… One apologies in English for swearing with the simple “Pardon my French“. And one “takes French leave” when she/he leaves a party without saying “Goodbye”. Last, English people recommand you to “beware of Greeks bearing gifts” as an allusion to the story of the wooden horse of Troy… If you don’t understand why, it’s maybe because “it’s all Greek to you“…

United Kingdom

An Englishman’s home is his castle
This means that what happens in a person’s home or  private life is their business and should not be subject to outside interference.

For England
A person who talks for England, talks a lot- if you do something for England, you do it a lot or to the limit.

Netherlands

Double Dutch
Used when something is incomprehensible

Go Dutch
Go to a restaurant and share the bill

Dutch Courage
Have an alcoholic drink to give you confidence or take away the nerves

Dutch auction
If something is sold by setting a price, then reducing it until someone buys it, it is sold in a Dutch auction. It can also mean that something is changed until it is accepted by everyone.

Dutch treat
If something like a meal is a Dutch treat, then each person pays their own share of the bill.

Dutch Feast
A feast known for the host getting drunk before the guests.

Dutch Picnic 
A public picnic where the participants bring in their own food contrary to public picnics where the organizers are responsible to provide the food

Dutch wife
A Dutch wife is a long pillow or a hot water bottle.

Dutch uncle
A Dutch uncle is a person who gives unwelcome advice.

France

Pardon my French
An apology for swearing

To take French leave
To leave without saying “Goodbye”

A french shower
To spray oneself with deodorant instead of washing

A French kiss
To kiss with tongue

A french letter
A condom

Spain

Spanish practices
Unauthorized working methods that benefit those who follow them are Spanish practices.

Walk Spanish
If you walk someone Spanish, you physically force them to leave a place or discharge them.

Greece

It’s all Greek to me!
It is not understandable

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts
Don’t trust your enemies. An allusion to the story of the wooden horse of Troy, used by the Greeks to trick their way into the city.

Turkey

A young Turk
A young person eager for radical change to the established order

Cold Turkey
To get goosebumps or to try quitting a bad habit

Norway

Ta en spansk en

Nordics have really weird relationships… Look at Norway: their closest neighbor -Sweden- is obviously the center of all the attention. Norwegians particularly make fun of the “Party Swedes” (“Party svensker“), those Swedish young people who come to work in bars and restaurants in Norway, working hard and partying a lot. Norwegians invented for them “the swedish button” (“svenskeknappen“) a reset switch or “on/off” button, so simple that even proverbially stupid Swedes can use it. They should understand it easily. But if not, they may say in Norwegian that “it’s all Greek to them” (“Det er helt gresk for meg“). In that case, Norwegians may ask to “do the Spanish thing” (Ta en spansk en“), that is to say to do something improvised and not necessarily legal, strictly speaking, but “eeh, who cares, it’s the simple solution!” It would work, as long as they don’t get “angry like a Turk” (“Sint som en tyrk“)…

Sweden

Party svensker
Party Swede
Humorous expression, but with a negative connotation. The term appeared in 2008 on a wall of Oslo (“partysvensker; go home“). It refers to Swedish (young) people who come to work in bars and restaurants in Norway – they work hard and party a lot.

Svenskeknappen
Swedish button
A reset switch or “on/off” button. It designates a simple solution – so simple that even the proverbially stupid Swedes can use it. (In the Swede, Dane and Norwegian jokes, the Swede is always the stupid one.)

Spain

Ta en spansk en
Do the Spanish one/do the Spanish thing
It means doing something improvised and not necessarily legal, strictly speaking, but “eeh, who cares, it’s the simple solution”.

Greece

Det er helt gresk for meg!
It’s all Greek to me!
It’s not understandable.

Turkey

Sint som en tyrk
Angry like a Turk
It means very angry. This one has to do with Ottoman involvement in past wars. It’s not used much.

Sweden

Dansk skalle

Don’t tickle Swedes, or you’ll experience the “Danish skull” (“Dansk skalle“). A ‘headbutt’ if you prefer… It is for sure not particularly pleasant, especially during really cold “Russian winters” (“Ryssvinter“). I suggest you better “take a Turkish shower” with Swedes (“att ta en Turkdusch“), even if it is a bit disgusting : it means to shower in deodorant instead of taking an actual shower after working out. Or even better: try to hit on a nice-looking Swede and “take a French lunch” (“Ta en fransk lunch“). Don’t expect however nice appetizers or delicious meals, “French lunch” means here having sex during your lunch break… Do you follow Swedes or are they “talking sheer Greek” (“Han pratar rena rama grekiskan“)? If not, they’ll better “take the French leave” (“Göra en fransk exit“).

Denmark

Dansk skalle
Danish skull
Headbutt

France

Göra en fransk exit
To take French leave
To leave without saying “Goodbye”

Ta en fransk lunch
To take a French lunch
To have sex during lunch break

Poland

Polsk riksdag
Polish Parliament
It is an expression referring to the historical Polish parliaments (Sejm walny). It implies chaos and general disorder, and that no real decision can be reached during sessions.

Russia

Ryssvinter
Russian winter
Really cold winter

Greece

Han pratar rena rama grekiskan
He’s talking sheer Greek.
It means he’s talking jibberish.

Turkey

Att ta en Turkdusch
To take a Turkish shower
It means to shower in deodorant instead of taking an actual shower after working out.

 

Finland

Puhua siansaksaa

Most of Finnish nationality-related idioms are making fun of the others’ languages! Finns have the weirdest language in Europe but they are the ones joking the most at the others. It’s the pot calling the kettle black! Finns say for instance they “speak pig’s German” (“puhua siansaksaa“) when somebody is speaking something completly weird or in not understandable language! How rude! They say they “speak Norwegian” (“Puhua norjaa“) when they… puke! They “curse like a Turk” (“Kiroilee kuin Turkkilainen“) when someone is a real badmouth! They are “russian” (“Ryssiä“) when they totally fuck up! And it’s not over… Finns are “looking at in all swedish way” (“Katsoa khan ruotsiksi“) when they look at someone cross-eyed! They are “hungry like a wolf in Estonia” (“Nälkä kuin Viron sudella“) when they are really hungry… How kind!

Norway

Puhua norjaa
To speak Norwegian
To puke

Sweden

Katsoa ihan ruotsiksi 
To look at in all Swedish (way)
To look at someone cross-eyed. Perhaps originates from the times when Sweden still had left-handed traffic?

Estonia

Nälkä kuin Viron sudella
Hungry like a wolf in Estonia
Someone’s really hungry. In Finland werewolves were called vironsusi (Estonian wolf). In old stories werewolves were usually Estonians… they transformed usually during the weddings… who knows why. So, hungry like a werewolf

Germany

Puhua siansaksaa
To speak pig’s German
It means that somebody is speaking something completly weird or in not understandable language.

Russia

Ryssiä
To fuck up (really badly)
Derived from ‘ryssä’ which is a derogative term for a Russian, literally: to do (as) a Russki.

Turkey

Kiroilee kuin Turkkilainen
To curse like a Turk
Someone is a real badmouth. Perhaps goes back to 19th cent. and Ottoman wars?

Denmark

At leve på polsk”

Welcome in Denmark! In this beautiful country, you will be strongly requested neither to be “drunk as a Swede” (“Fuld som en svensker“) nor to be “as drunk as a Greenlander” (“Så stiv som en Grøndlænder“). Both of them have to reputation to be heavy drinkers… In Denmark, you will have the opportunity “to live in Polish” (“At leve på polsk“) that is to say to live in a cohabitation without being married. Your marital status will not matter to Danes, they will be indifferent, or in other words they will be “greek-catholic” to your situation (“græsk-katolsk“). Shopping in Denmark can bring you home a nice loaf of white bread called “french bread” (“Franskbrød“) or a useful wrench called “swedish key” (“Svensknøgle“). During your stay in Denmark, please avoid having the “Turkish faith” (“Tyrkertro“): Danes don’t appreciate people believing in something too strongly and stubbornly…

Sweden

Fuld som en svensker
Drunk as a swede
To be very drunk

Svensknøgle
Swedish key
A wrench.

Greenland

Så stiv som en Grøndlænder
As drunk as a Greenlandic person
Very drunk

France

Franskbrød
French bread
A loaf of white bread.

Poland

At leve på polsk
To live in Polish
Cohabitation without being married.

Greece

Jeg er græsk-katolsk
I’m greek-catholic
It means I’m indifferent.

Turkey

Tyrkertro
Turkish faith
To believe something strongly and stubbornly, referring to Muslim philosophical determinism.

 

Netherlands – Belgium

Geen geld, geen Zwitsers”

Dutch people have the reputation to be stingy. Don’t they say “No money, no Swiss” (“Geen geld, geen Zwitsers“) for “no goods without payment”? In the Netherlands, one would indeed panic heavily at the idea of having no money, or in other words, one would “get Spanish tension” (“Het Spaans benauwd krijgen“). Dutch people also have mixed feelings about France. They certainly think that one could live in France a pleasant and carefree life or “living like God in France” (“Leven als God in Frankrijk“) but on the opposite, they avoid “doing something with the French stroke” (“Iets met de Franse slag doen“) when something could be done in a careless, imprecise, shoddy way. What’s more, when “there is not a word of French in there” (“Daar is geen woord Frans bin“), Dutch people mean that something has been stated in a clear, concise, unambiguous manner. French people will appreciate… The same reproach goes to the Poles where “a Polish Parliament” (“Een Poolse landdag“) designates a pretty disorderly mess and the Spaniards when “something happen in a Spanish way” (“Er Spaans aan toe gaan“) means a loud and disorderly situation…

France

Leven als God in Frankrijk
Living like God in France
Living a pleasant, carefree life.

Iets met de Franse slag doen
Doing something with the French stroke
Doing something in a careless, imprecise, shoddy way.

Daar is geen woord Frans bij 
There’s not a word of French in there
Something has been stated in a clear, concise, unambiguous manner.

Op z’n Frans 
The French way
Fellatio.

Germany

In Keulen horen donderen
To hear thunder in Cologne
To be struck dumb by an unexpected tiding or piece of news

Spain

Het Spaans benauwd krijgen
To get Spanish tension
To panic heavily.

Er Spaans aan toe gaan 
Something happening in a Spanish way
A loud and disorderly situation.

United Kingdom – Ireland

Als Ieren en Britten op één land 
Like Irish and Brits in one country
Two enemies in a single place.

Switzerland

Geen geld, geen Zwitsers
No money, no Swiss
No goods without payment.

Poland

Een Poolse landdag 
A Polish country day
A disorderly mess.

Russia

Op z’n Russisch 
The Russian way
Intermammary sex.

Greece

Op z’n Grieks 
The Greek way
Anal sex.

Turkey

Roken als een Turk
Smoking like a Turk.
To smoke a lot.

Rijden als een turk.
Driving like a Turk 
Having a terrible (dangerous) driving style.

Hij is aan de Turken overgeleverd
He is at the mercy of the Turks
He gets mistreated.

Eruit zien als een Turk
To look like a Turk
To look dirty

Germany – Luxemburg

Hinter schwedischen Gardinen

‘Hey Buddy!’ or shall I say in German “Hey, Old Swede” (“Na, Alter Schwede“) you wanna come to Germany? You are more than welcome, just expect there to “live as God in France” (“Wie Gott in Frankreich“). At the beginning, you might not understand a word of German and be totally lost – and you may say then that “these are just bohemian villages to you” (“Das sind böhmisches Dörfer für mich“) but you will slowly get used to it. You might not believe it, or in other words it will “seam Spanish to you” (“Das kommt mir Spanisch for“), but German people are really gentle. As long as you don’t “turk something” (“etwas türken“), that is to say falsify or counterfeit something. If so, you might go to jail, or in other words, be put “behind swedish curtains” (“hinter schwedischen Gardinen“). You would then feel in serious troubles and cry out “then Holland is now in need” (“Dann ist Holland jetzt in Not“). What a disaster! Germans will maybe approve and say that “now Poland is open” (“Dann ist Polen offen“) and you might not be able anymore to leave without saying Goodbye, or put another way, “make a Polish exit” (“einen polnischen Abgang machen“).

Spain

Das kommt mir Spanisch vor
This seems Spanish to me
It is not understandable.

France

Wie Gott in Frankreich
Like a God in France
To live very well.

Ein Pariser
A Parisian
A condom

Sweden

Alter Schwede!
Old Swede!
Old friend! – Old chap – Hey Buddy!

Hinter schwedischen Gardinen
Behind Swedish curtains
Behind bars – in jail – under lock and key

The Netherlands

Dann ist Holland in not!
Then Holland is in need
Then we are in serious trouble – This is a case of emergency.

Switzerland

Durchlöchert wie ein Schweizer Käse
It has holes like a Swiss cheese
It has many holes

Czech Republic

Das sind böhmisches Dörfer für mich
These are just bohemian villages for me
It is not understandable.

Poland

Dann ist Polen offen
Then Poland is open
This is a huge disaster.

Polnische Wirtschaft
Polish economy
It refers to something poorly planned and/or run

Einen polnischen Abgang machen
To make a Polish exit
To exit without saying goodbye, i.e. from a party

Greece

Eulen nach Athen tragen
To bring owls to Athens
To do something that is not needed

Turkey

Etwas türken
To Turk something
To counterfeit – To falsify

Austria

Moch mi net krawutisch

Austrians do speak German. So they share most of the German nationality-related idioms. But they also have some other own idioms that are quite funny. When an Austrian is very angry and furious, she/he might say “don’t make me croatian” (“moch mi net krawutisch“). So, you are warned! What’s more, whenever Austrians want to emphasize that something’s not alright, like corruption or violence and that they all should know better, they just cry out “We’re not on the Balkan!” (“Wir sind ja nicht am Balkan!“) 

Croatia

Moch mi net krawutisch
Don’t make me croatian
Don’t make me angry

Wir sind ja nicht am Balkan!
We’re not on the Balkan!
Used when someone wants to emphasize that something’s not alright, like corruption or violence and that we all should know better.

Spain

Das kommt mir Spanisch vor
This seems Spanish to me
It is not understandable.

France

Wie Gott in Frankreich
Like a God in France
To live very well.

Ein Pariser
A Parisian
A condom

Sweden

Alter Schwede!
Old Swede!
Old friend! – Old chap – Hey Buddy!

Hinter schwedischen Gardinen
Behind Swedish curtains
Behind bars – in jail – under lock and key

The Netherlands

Dann ist Holland in not!
Then Holland is in need
Then we are in serious trouble – This is a case of emergency.

Switzerland

Durchlöchert wie ein Schweizer Käse
It has holes like a Swiss cheese
It has many holes

Czech Republic

Das sind böhmisches Dörfer für mich
These are just bohemian villages for me
It is not understandable.

Poland

Dann ist Polen offen
Then Poland is open
This is a huge disaster.

Polnische Wirtschaft
Polish economy
It refers to something poorly planned and/or run

Einen polnischen Abgang machen
To make a Polish exit
To exit without saying goodbye, i.e. from a party

Greece

Eulen nach Athen tragen
To bring owls to Athens
To do something that is not needed

Turkey

Etwas türken
To Turk something
To counterfeit – To falsify

Italy

Fare il portoghese

Public transportation in Italy is what it is… As you probably know, trains and buses are not always “punctual like a swiss watch” (“puntuali come un orologio svizzero“). But this is not a reason not to pay. So please refrain from free-riding while traveling, or in other word do not “do the Portuguese” (“fare il portoghese“). If you get catch, you may have to pay a fine, as “there is always a judge in Berlin” (“C’è un giudice a Berlino“) which means that eventually justice is always found. Those Germans! They are always told to be conscientious. Don’t we say indeed in Italian that “she/he is German” (“E’ tedesca!“) is a synonymous for “she/he is meticulous”? Turks do not share the same reputation: if you smoke a lot in Italy, you may hear that you “smoke like Turks” (“fumare come turchi“).

Germany

E’ tedesca!
She’s/he’s German
When someone is talking about somone really meticulous

C’è un giudice a Berlino 
There’s a judge in Berlin
It means that eventually justice is always found, usually related to lengthy trials that seems like will not end well.

Switzerland

Essere puntuali come un orologio svizzero
To be punctual like a swiss watch
To be very punctual.

United-Kingdom

Andarsene all’inglese
To leave English style
To leave without saying “Goodbye”

Portugal

Fare il portoghese
Do the Portuguese
It means to not pay for a service you are supposed to pay. You know where this expression comes from? A portuguese king (Joao V) sent a very rich ambassador to the Pope. The ambassador organized a reception in his embassy and some italians attempted to join the party by claiming they were portuguese!

Turkey

Fumare come turchi
To smoke like Turks
To smoke a lot.

Czech Republic – Slovakia

Kde domov můj?

Once in a Hungarion year” (“Jednou za uherský rok“) that is to say, not really often, Czechs or Slovaks “drink like a Dane” (“Pít jako Dán“). Winter is over, they have then the impression of “living like God in France” (“Má se jako pánbůh ve Frankreichu“). Because, we have to admit, in winter, Czechs and Slovaks feel like “its cold like in a Russian tank” (“Je tu zima jak v ruským tank“). They don’t understand why, or better said, they think “it’s a Spanish village to them” (“Je to pro mne španĕlská vesnice“), but a poor and miserable economy is called by them a “Turkish economy” (“Turecké hospodaření“). And speaking about Turks, Czechs and Slovaks don’t say that one “out-Herod Herod” or is “more Catholic than the Pope”, but they simply state that “wannabe-Turk is worse than being Turk” (“Poturčenec horší Turka“). Czechs and Slovaks always say “goodbye” at the end of a party, but when they don’t, they “leave English style” (“zmizet po anglicku“).

United Kingdom

Zmizet po anglicku
To leave English style
To leave without saying “Goodbye”

France

Má se jako pánbůh ve Frankreichu
He lives like a God in France
He lives very well.

Spain

Je to pro mne španĕlská vesnice 
It’s a Spanish village to me
It is not understandable.

Denmark

Pít jako Dán
To drink like a Dane
It means simply to drink a lot, which supposedly stems from the way Danish soldiers behaved in Bohemia after defecting in the Thirty Years’ War.

Hungary

Jednou za uherský rok
Once in a Hungarian year
Not very often, once in a blue moon.

Motá se jak Maďar v kukuřici 
He is spinning like Hungarian in maize
No idea where is it from.

Russia

Je tu zima jak v ruským tanku 
It’s cold like in Russian tank
It’s very cold

Turkey

Turecké hospodaření 
Turkish economy
Miserable, poor economy, wasteful, silly etc.

Poturčenec horší Turka 
Wannabe-Turk is worse than Turk
To out-Herod Herod

Poland

Czeski film

Poles have a very long list of nationality-related idioms, starting with the Czechs. Whenever Poles have no idea of what the situation is about, whenever it makes no sense, Poles just say they are in a “Czech movie” (“Czeski film“)! A typo in a text or a spelling mistake is for them a “Czech mistake” (“czeski błąd“)! Why not? German and Swiss people have the reputation of being precise and accurate: Poles say in their respect “German precision” (“niemiecka precyzja“) and “to work as in a Swiss watch” (“chodzić jak w szwajcarskim zegarku“). Because they are told to be energetic and passionate, Spaniards gave Poles the expression of “spanish temperament” (“hiszpański temperament“) whenever someone is sexy and randy. English people are supposed to be phlegmatic, Poles say then “English phlegm” (“Angielska flegma“). And French people, with their reputation of being delicate, inspired the expression “French puppy” (“francuski piesek“) whenever someone is trendy, but at the same time very picky and easily offended. An “italian strike” (“strajk włoski“)  in Poland is whenever someone do her/his job, but extremely slow… Being “naked as a Turkish Saint” (“goły jak święty turecki“) means to be left without money! Last, Poles “pretend to be Greek” (“udawać Greka“) when they pretend not to know about something… or play dumb…

Poland

Mądry Polak po szkodzie
A Pole is wise only after a dammage
Instead of avoiding trouble, Poles learn from their mistakes, (it’s easy to be wise after the event)

Czech Republic

Czeski film
Czech movie
Something incomprehensible – Whenever one have no idea what the situation is about, is lost – when it makes no sense.

Czeski błąd
a Czech mistake
A typing mistake in which two letters or numbers are reversed eg. “worng” instead of “wrong” or “37” instead of “73”.

German

Niemiecka precyzja
German precision
To be really precise, accurate

Pruski dryl
Prussian drill
Harsh discipline

Sweden

Stół/bufet szwedzki
Swedish table/buffet
Way of dining, where instead of being given the meal, there’s a big table with everything and you take what you want

United Kingdom

Wyjść po angielsku
To leave English style
To leave without saying “Goodbye”.

Angielska flegma
English phlegm
To be very calm in every situation, to keep a cool head

France

Francuski piesek 
French dog/puppy
Someone who is very delicate and raised in expensive place, visiting only trendy places, eating just healthy food etc… – someone who is very picky and gets offended easily

Francuski pocałunek
French kiss
French kiss

Franca/francuska choroba
French sickness
Syphilis

Francuski
French
Oral sex

Italy

Strajk włoski
Italian strike
To strike when you do your job, but extremely slow

Spain

Hiszpański temperament 
Spanish temperament
To be sexy,energetic, passionate, randy…

Hiszpański
Spanish
Sex with tits

Switzerland

Jak w szwajcarskim zegarku
Like a swiss watch
To be punctual, allways on time.

Hungary

Polak, Węgier- dwa bratanki, i do szabli, i do szklanki
Pole and Hungarian- two nephews, to the battle and to the glass
The Polish and the Hungarians are like brothers

Russia

Musi to na Rusi [a w Polsce jak kto chce]
“You have to” in Russia/Ruthenia [and in Poland as you please]
Don’t tell me “you have to”, it only works in Russia

Ruski miesiąc
Russian month
To wait forever

Ruski rok
Russian year
A very long period of time

Raz na ruski rok
Once in a Russian year
Very rarely

Zaiwanić
To Ivan something out (comes from Ivan = Russian)
To steal something

Złapał Kozak Tatarzyna, a Tatarzyn za łeb trzyma
Cosac caught Tatar, but Tatar is strangling (keeping) him by his head
Two sides are fighting, there’s balance, but none can let go or he will lose

Ukraine

Przecież to nie Ukraina
But it’s not Ukraine here
There’s a law here.

Pan Bóg i z Ukrainy słyszy
God will hear even from Ukraine
God will hear even from a far

Greece

Udawać Greka 
To pretend to be a Greek
To pretend not to know. It comes from Socrates who put himself in a position of a person that doesn’t know in his philosophical debates.

Turkey

Goły jak święty turecki
Naked as a Turkish Saint
To be with no money

Siedzieć jak na tureckim kazaniu
To sit as on a Turkish lecture
To listen but not to understand anything (because Poles couldn’t understand Turkish)

Siedzieć po turecku
To sit in Turkish style
To sit cross-legged

Zawojowany Turek
Turk conquest
To never stop conquering, or making conflicts without reason

Estonia

Läbi nagu Läti raha

In Estonia, everything is “all right and in order, like in Norway” (“Korras nagu Norras“). Estonian particularly enjoy the famous “German precision” (“Saksa täpsus“) where everything is done with great effort and craft. And whenever they are tired of their efforts, they say they are as “tired as Latvian money” (“Läbi nagu Läti raha“). Now funnily enough, the introduction of the euro will maybe change the use of this expression… On another note, whenever something is really sharp, some Estonians will say that it is as “sharp as a finnish knife” (“Terav nagu some puss“). Whenever someone is being sent to jail in Estonian, one will say she/he is sent “behind swedish curtains” (“Rootsi kardinate taga“). Last but not least, whenever something is written “like a Greek ‘e’” (“(Nagu) Kreeka ‘e’“) it means that one is confronted to a really bad handwriting.

Norway

Korras nagu Norras
Everything all right/in order, like in Norway
It implies that everything is perfectly fine or in order. (It also rhymes nicely).

Sweden

Rootsi kardinate taga 
Behind Swedish curtains 
To be in jail.

Finland

Terav nagu soome puss
Sharp as finnish puukko knife
Something that is really-really sharp. Used by older generation.

Latvia

Läbi nagu Läti raha 
Tired/Over like the latvian money
It expresses of being tired after lot of physical activity. (Did you know by the way that “LV” on Latvian numberplates is jokingly referred to mean “Lisavarvas”, which means “extra toe”. Latvians supposedly have 6 toes on each foot).

Germany

Saksa täpsus 
German precision
To plan/do etc. something with great effort and craft.

Greece

(Nagu) Kreeka “e” 
(Like) a Greek “e”.
Mostly used to describe individual letters that are written with bad handwriting.

Latvia

Help needed 

Well, I didn’t find any Latvian sayings on another European nationality. If you are Latvian or speak Latvian, I would be very grateful if you could send me some examples to complete this list ! Please contact me here

Lithuania

Ramus kaip belgas

Lithuania: a land of many contrasts! On one hand, the “German tidiness” (“Vokiška tvarka“) means that everything is extremely tidy and sorted to the last detail. On the other hand, the “Russian tidiness” (“Rusiška tvarka“) is for Lithuanians when everything is a complete mess… On one hand, the “German punctuality” (“Vokiškas punktualumas“) is to be precisely on time. On the other hand, the “French punctuality” (“Prancūziškas punktualumaks“) is to be always late… Lithuanians have also been well-inspired by their neighbors: one can be “slow as an Estonian” (“Lėtas kaip estas“), one can “drink like a Russian” (“Geria kaip ruses“), one can have the “Polish honor” (“Lenkiškas honors“) and it can be in Lithuania as “cold as in Finland” (“Šalta kaip Suomijoj“). But maybe the most interesting Lithuanian idiom is the one claiming that one can be “calm as a Belgian” (“Ramus kaip belgas“). It is said to originate from the horse breeds from Ardennes mountains which were used to plow the fields while being very slow…

Estonia

Lėtas kaip estas 
Slow as an Estonian
To be very slow.

Finland

Šalta kaip Suomijoj 
Cold as in Finland
To be very cold

Russia

Geria kaip rusas 
To drink like a Russian
To be heavy drinking.

Rusiška siela 
Russian soul
Openness and kindness.

Rusiška tvarka 
Russian tidiness
A complete mess.

Poland

Lenkiškas honoras
Polish honour
Self value‘s are overrated.

Germany

Vokiška tvarka
German tidiness
everything is extremely tidy and sorted to the last detail.

Vokiškas punktualumas 
German punctuality
Always precisely on time.

France

Prancūziškas punktualumaks
French punctuality
Always late.

Belgium

Ramus kaip belgas 
Calm as a Belgian
Belgian‘s are supposably calm people. One of the explanations is that it came from one of the horse breeds of Ardennes mountains. These breeds were used to plow the fields but they were very slow.

Belarus

Испанский стыд

In Belarus, one feel the “Spanish shame” (“Испанский стыд”) whenever she/he experiences the very uncomfortable sympathetic feeling of watching someone else embarrassing her/himself. This feeling is often intensified when the person embarrassing her/himself is not aware of how embarrassing her/his behavior is. In this case it is more like one is feeling the embarrassment on her/her behalf. A famous proverb synonymous of being in deep trouble is to be “in trouble, like the Swede at Poltava” (“пропал, как швед по Полтавой”). French people may know this situation, as another proverb also says “to have flown over Paris like a sheet of plywood” (“пролететь, как фанера над Парижем”). Last, in Belarus as in other country, it is considered as “leaving English-style” (“уйти по-английски”) to exit without saying “Goodbye”…

Spain

Испанский стыд
The Spanish shame
The very uncomfortable sympathetic feeling experienced while you watch someone else embarrassing themselves. This feeling is often intensified when the person embarrassing themself is not aware of how embarrassing their behavior is. In this case it is more like you are feeling the embarrassment on their behalf.

France

пролететь, как фанера над Парижем
To have flown over Paris like a sheet of plywood
To have failed at something.

United Kingdom

уйти по-английски
To leave, English-style
To leave without saying “Goodbye”

Sweden

пропал, как швед по Полтавой
In trouble, like the Swede at Poltava
A literary expression, in deep trouble.

Ukraine

шведська сім’я

Ukrainians have a funny way to name what the others call a ‘ménage à trois‘. In Ukraine, it is simply called a “Swedish family” (“шведська сім’я”). It’s just a family with two husbands and one wife or two wives and one husband, living in one home… Ukrainians also call a buffet a “Swedish table” (“шведський стіл”). When they want to express that one is not the person she/she pretends to be, Ukrainians say that “She/He is as X as I’m Spanish pilot” (“він такий X, як я іспанський льотчик”). They also go on “Italian strike” (“проводити італійський страйк”) when employees do no more than the minimum required by the rules of their contract. Last, in Ukrainian, a “Muscovite” (“москаль”) sometimes refers to a bad person, often (but not always) a person that expresses the traits typically associated with the stereotypes associated to Russians.

Spain

він такий X, як я іспанський льотчик
He is as X as I’m Spanish pilot
He is not X.

Italy

проводити італійський страйк
Italian strike
To do the job, but extremely slow

Sweden

шведський стіл
Swedish table
A buffet.

шведська сім’я
Swedish family
Three people of both sexes (one man and two women or two men and one woman) living together in one house – ménage à trois

Russia

москаль
Muscovite
A bad person, sometimes (but not always) a person that expresses the traits typically associated with stereotype Russian or stereotype maloros. Used more in the west part.

Romania – Moldova

A fura luleaua neamțului

How kind! Romanians say “you’re a Turk” (“Ești turc“) to people who cannot understand very simple ideas. The interrogative form “are you Turkish?” (“Ești turc?“) is also used in a way that would mean ‘are you that stupid?’. But Turks, do not worry! Romanians also say “are you Moldavian?” (“Ești moldovean?“) for people being extremely backwards, rural and poor, with no perception of the outside world… They also think that driving dangerously is “driving like a Belgian” (“conduci ca un belgian“) and smoking a lot is “smoking like a Turk” (“A fuma ca un turc“). Romanians think that something can be “beautiful as the Russian language” (“frumos ca limba russ“) as Russian is considered a difficult language to learn or understand. To split a bill equally between people is called in Romania “to split the German way” (“a împărți nemțește“) as well as to get drunk is poetically referred to as “to steal the German’s pipe” (“a fura luleaua neamțului“). Last, sitting in the lotus position is also called in Romania as “to sit in the Turkish way” (“A sta turcește“).

Germany

A împărți nemțește 
To split [a bill] the German way
To split a bill equally between people.

A fura luleaua neamțului 
To steal the German’s pipe
To get drunk.

Belgium

Conduci ca un belgian
To drive like a Belgian
To drive dangerously.

United Kingdom

A șterge-o englezește 
To run like an English man
To leave without saying “Goodbye”

Russia

Frumos ca limba rusa
Beautiful as the Russian language
Russian is considered a difficult language to learn or understand. The Russians have also had a major role in Romanian history.

Moldova

Ești moldovean?
You’re a Moldavian?
Based on the stereotype of both Romanian Moldavian and Moldavian as being extremely backwards, rural and poor characters, with no perception of the outside world.

Greece

Rahat cu perje, bucate grecești 
Shit and plums, Greek dish
You’re talking bullshit/this is bullshit.

Turkey

Ești turc?
Are you Turkish?
Are you that stupid?

Ești turc.
You’re a Turk
Someone who cannot understand very simple ideas.

A fuma ca un turc 
To smoke like a Turk
To smoke a lot

A sta turcește 
To sit in the Turkish way
To sit in the lotus position

Cum e turcul si pistolul
In the way the Turk is, his gun may be the same
It can describe a poor quality job made by a negligent man. A more appropriate corespondent in English may be “such carpenters, such chips”

Doar nu dau turcii
We are not under assault by the Turks
There is no hurry.

Hungary

Vígan dudál a Portugál

In Hungary, there is ‘nothing to worry about’ when Hungarians say “the Portugal honks happily” (“vígan dudál a Portugál“). Unless you feel very bad and find yourself “in a Czech state” (“csehül érzi magát“) or “fear the shout of the Boeotians (Greeks)” that is to say fear stupid peoples’ opinions, you are entitled to a nice and funny stay in Hungary. Hungarians may sometimes feel themselves in very bad situations, or put another way, in “Balkan situations” (“balkáni állapotok“) maybe because everything seems upside down, mixed up, or in other words “tótágast” (where tót is the nickname for Slovak people, and tótágas can literally mean handstand). But they are clever enough to find simple solutions to their problems, or to find, as they say “Russian solutions” (“orosz módszer“). Apropos Russians, Hungarians also like to say that “there are as many, as the Russians” (“Annyian vannak, mint az oroszok“) whenever they enter very crowded places. Last, there are two different expressions in Hungary whenever someone leave a place without saying “Goodbye”: they either “leave English style” (“angolosan távozik”) or they “leave like St. Paul left the oláhs (Romanians)” (“otthagy valakit mint Szent Pál az oláhokat“).

Portugal

Vígan dudál a Portugál
The Portugal honks happily
There is nothing to worry about.

United Kingdom

Angolosan távozik
To leave like an English
To leave unnoticed, without saying goodbye.

Czech Republic

Csehül van/csehül érzi magát
Someone is in Czech condition/feeling Czech
To be in a bad condition(health/financial) – To feel not very well

Slovakia

Tótágast áll
Something is tótágas (where tót is the nickname for Slovak people, and tótágas can literally mean handstand)
It’s upside down or mixed up

Romania

Otthagy valakit mint Szent Pál az oláhokat
To leave soemone like St. Paul leaved the oláhs (oláh is the nickname for Romanians)
To leave someone unexpectedly

Russia

Orosz módszer
Russian solution
A simple solution

Annyian vannak, mint az oroszok
There are as many, as the Russians
There is a really huge crowd.

hiszi/látta/tudja a Tatár!
The Tatars belive/saw/knew it!
No one belived/saw/knew it!

Croatia-Serbia

Balkáni állapotok
Balkan situations
Very bad situations

Albania

Be van rúgva, mint az albán szamár
Drunk like an Albanian donkey
To be very drunk

Greece

Félek a Boiotiaiak üvöltésétől
To fear the shout of the Boeotians (Greeks)
To fear stupid peoples’ opinions

Turkey

Török átok
Turk curse
Bad neighbours

Elkapni a turk
Catch a Turk
To be left with an unexpected problem that is likely to keep you involved for long.

Slovenia

Iti v Rim

Slovenians “go to Rome” (“iti v Rim“) when they give birth! How cute! But they “see Venice” (“videti Benetke“) when they are badly beaten or when they don’t get what they expect. We must admit: Italy and Slovenia have a long history in common… The same may apply to Austria and the Habsburg Empire: as life is supposed to be very expensive in Vienna, Slovenians sometimes say “one who wants to go to Vienna has to leave her/his stomach outside” (“Kdor hoče iti na Dunaj, mora pustiti trebuh zunaj“)! And whenever Slovenians don’t want to talk any longer about a sensitive topic, they just end up saying “and peaceful Bosnia” (“pa/in mirna Bosna“). In Slovenia, you will be requested not “to act like a French” (“Delati se Francoza“), it means you are pretending not to understand something. And do not “run away in a French way” (“oditi/popihati jo po francosko“). It is rather unpolite to leave without saying “Goodbye”. If you are “tired like a Turkish flag” (“Biti izmučen/zbit kot turška fana“), Slovenians may also advise you not to “smoke like a Turk” (“kaditi kot Turek“)…

France

Oditi/popihati jo po francosko
To leave/run away in a French way
To leave/run away without saying “Goodbye” or without being noticed.

Delati se Francoza/narediti se Francoza
To pretend to be a Frenchman
To pretend not to understand/know/notice something.

Spain

Biti španska vas
To be a Spanish village
To be totally unknown to somebody.

Italy

Iti v Rim
To go to Rome
To give birth.

Videti Benetke
To see Venice
To be badly beaten – To not get what one expects.

Austria

Kdor hoče iti na Dunaj, mora pustiti trebuh zunaj
One who wants to go to Vienna has to leave his/her stomach outside
Life in Vienna is very expensive.

Bosnia-Herzegovina

Kapa/in mirna Bosna
And peaceful Bosnia
Expression used to express that we won’t talk about it any longer.

Turkey

Kaditi kot Turek
To smoke like a Turk
To smoke heavily.

Biti izmučen/zbit kot turška fana
To be tired like a Turkish flag
To be very tired.

Biti bizantinec
To be a Byzantine
To be a bootlicker, be a servile and smooth person.

Croatia – Serbia – Bosnia-Herzegovina

Prolaziš pored (nečega) kao pored turskog groblja

Croats, Serbs and Bosnians have a quite funny expression: whenever they pass up by something without noticing it at all, they say they are “walking by (something) like it is a Turkish cemetery” (“Prolaziš pored (nečega) kao pored turskog groblja“). Croats, Serbs and Bosnians uses this expression for instance when a friend walks by someone in the street without noticing her/him. Useful expression! In Croatia and Serbia, when something is “like it is German made” (“Kao da ga je Nemac pravio“), one can be sure it is of a very great quality. On the contrary, it is rather not recommended to be “in debt like Greece” (“Dužan kao Grčka“). Interestingly, this expression is an old saying and dates back to the 19th century when Greece has defaulted on its external sovereign debt obligations at least five times. Croats, Serbs and Bosnians also have their version of the expression which means ‘to pretend to be stupid, ignorant or uniformed’, but by them, it is to “pretend to be English“(“Praviti se Englez“).

Spain

Geria kaip rusas Španjolsko selo
It’s a spanish village
To understand nothing.

United Kingdom

Praviti se Englez 
To pretend to be English
To pretend to be stupid, ignorant or uninformed.

Germany

Kao da ga je Nemac pravio
It is like a German made it
Something is of very great quality.

Greece

Dužan kao Grčka 
In debt like Greece.
This is an old saying, not a new one. I think it comes from the 19th century when Greece announced a default or something.

Turkey

Prolaziš pored (nečega) kao pored turskog groblja 
Walking by (something) like it is Turkish cemetery
It means passing up by something and not noticing it at all, not caring at all. Usually used when a friend walks by you on the street and doesn’t notice you at all. Or when you are offended that a friend passed over your house, but didn’t come to visit. It may come from the period when Serbia was under Otoman empire.

Pušiti ko Turčin
To smoke like a Turk
To smoke heavily

Albania

“Sikur të ndjek gjermani”

When you’re doing something very fast or in a hurry in Albania, it is “as if a German is after you” (“sikur të ndjek gjermani“) – which, we guess, is not something necessarily enjoyable! As it’s very unlikely that Germans will be after you nowadays, you might need to “climb up here and see Instabul” (“hip këtu, shiko Stambollin“) to say that something is not possible or is not going to happen. As for the French, Albanians say “I bought it like the Frenchman bought the chicken” (“e bleva sa frëngu pulën“) for something that has an exorbitant price – anyone who has been on Les Grands Boulevards in Paris knows why… All is a bit pretentious, as Albanians also use “as if you come from Paris” (“sikur ke ardhur/zbritur nga Parisi“) when someone is pretending to be very delicate and elegant.

Bulgaria

Не се отказвай като власите накрай Дунава

One of the Bulgarian most interesting but sometimes pejorative saying is “Don’t quit like the Wallachians at the shores of the Danube” (“Не се отказвай като власите накрай Дунава”). It means to quit doing something when the end of the task is in sight, or the advice to not fall in despair because something is difficult when the end is obviously near. It also usually means that the tough part is over and it would be a shame to not finish what you started. Another historical Bulgarian saying is “Are you waiting for the Germans?” (“да дойдат германците ли?”) whenever someone is being sluggish, or just in panic. Bulgarians also say a “Turkish job” (“Турска работа”) when something is done sloppily and they can “sit turkish” (“седене по турски”) when they sit on the ground with legs crossed. Last, on a Bulgarian buffet, or in other word on a “Swedish table” (“шведска маса”), one can eat nice “russian salad” (“руска салата”).

Sweden

шведска маса (shvedska masa)  
Swedish table
A buffet.

Germany

да дойдат германците ли?
Are you waiting for the Germans?
When someone is being sluggish, or when she/he just in panic and freezes.

France

френска любов (frenska ljubov)
French love
Oral sex.

Russia

руска салата (ruska salata)
Russian salad
A kind of salad.

Romania

[Не се отказвай/Отказа се] като власите накрай Дунава
[Don’t quit like/He quit like] the Wallachians at the shores of the Danube
It means to quit doing something when the end of the task is in sight.

Turkey

Турска работа (turska rabota)
A Turkish job
To do something sloppily.

седене по турски (sedene po turski)
To sit turkish
To sit on the ground with legs crossed – To sit in the lotus position.

Greece

εγγλέζος στα ραντεβού

Greece and Turkey have in commun a long-standing and tumultuous relationshipThis is maybe why many Greek sayings refer tothe Turks. Greeks are for instance strongly requested not to “smoke like a Turk” (“Καπνίζει σαν τούρκος“) as it is extremely bad for their health. They should avoid “making someone a Turk” (“με εκανε Τουρκο“) as it is a synonymous for making someone angry. When someone says “You want to hear some turkish now?” (“Θες ν’ ακούσεις κάνα τούρκικο τώρα“), it actually means “do you want me to swear?” But the same apply to the French people. If a Greek “tells some French” (“του είπε μερικά γαλλικά“), it does not mean she/he speaks well French, but simply that she/he is… swearing. On the contrary, “the appointment of an Englishman” (“εγγλέζος στα ραντεβού“) in Greece means be a stickler for punctuality, be very punctual, always on time. A “German number” (“Γερμανικό νούμερο“) in Greece is an expression used in the army meaning the ‘graveyard shift’. And an “Albanian tourist” (“Αλβανός τουρίστας“) is simply something that does not exist…

France

του είπε μερικά γαλλικά
To tell some French
To swear.

το έστριψε αλά γαλλικά
To take French leave
To leave without saying “Goodbye”

το γαλλικό φιλί
A French kiss
A kiss with tongue

το γαλλικό κλειδί
A French key
A wrench

United Kingdom

Εγγλέζος στο ραντεβού του
The appointment of an Englishman
To be a stickler for punctuality, be very punctual, always on time.

Germany

Γερμανικό νούμερο
German number
Expression in the army meaning the graveyard shift.

Albania

Αλβανός τουρίστας
Albanian tourist
It means something nonexistant.

Turkey

Καπνίζει σαν τούρκος
To smoke like a Turk
To smoke a lot.

εγινε Τουρκος / με εκανε Τουρκο.
To become a Turk / To make someone a Turk
To become angry – It makes me angry

βάστα Τούρκο να γεμίσω
Hold on! Turks filled up
Something cheap and not working that is made in Turkey.

Θες ν’ ακούσεις κάνα τούρκικο τώρα
You want to hear a couple turkish now?
You want me to swear?

Turkey

“Fransız kaldım”

Very few expressions found from Turkey on other nationalities. The funniest one may be “to stay like a Frenchman” (“Fransız kaldım“). It is a bit pejorative and means not to understand something. For example, as two people are talking, a third one joins them belatedly and they keep talking. The third one does not understand anything and says “Ben Fransız kaldım” (I stayed like a Frenchman). Turks also have the expression “to make French in appearance” (“Görünüşte fransızlaştırmak“) which means to look good only in appearance, to be a bit superficial. turks also have the expression “to the Greek Calends (“Balık kavağa çıkınca“) to designate something which is impossible or unlikely to occur. Last, they sometimes advise you “not to speak Greek” (“Yunanca konuşan yok!“) as it sometimes means to swear…

France

Fransız kaldım
To stay like a Frenchman
Not to understand something. For example, as two people are talking, a third one joins them belatedly and they keep talking. The third one does not understand anything and says “Ben Fransız kaldım” (I stayed like a Frenchman).

Görünüşte fransızlaştırmak
To make french in appearance
To look good only in appearance – superficial

Greece

Balık kavağa çıkınca
To the Greek Calends
Something is impossible or unlikely to occur.

Yunanca konuşan yok!
Do not speak Greek!
Do not swear!

If you liked this article, you may also like European Tongue Twisters, Palindromes, Longest Words and Untranslatable words.

Close Menu