122 Foreign Phrases That Become Total Nonsense When Translated To English

I hear you’ve been brushing up on your idioms. Well, have you tried to use Google translate on some of them? Quite bizarre, aren’t they? Here are some phrases that are absolutely bonkers when translated into English. From r/AskReddit

1. loopuleasa


“A man how it falls” – word for word in Romanian it means “A nice guy”

“Going to health” – “Making a run for it”

“A man in an ear” – “An insane man”

“A man with a chair at his head” – “A smart man” / “A wise man”

“Taken by the soul” – “Adopted”

“Man with a thick cheek” – “Jerk”

“Man with fear of God” – “Believer”

“Health!” – “Bless you!”

“Charity words” – “Bullshit”

“To stay in someone’s ribs” – “To annoy someone”

“Screaming at the sky” – “outrageous”

“You made it cabbage” – “You fucked up”

“My ass hurts” – “I don’t care”

“You’ve found the pot of shit” – “You’re in trouble now”

2. [deleted]

Filipino Tagalog:

Anak ng tokwa – child of a tofu – a way of insulting someone. That’s our censored version of son of a bitch.

Ay kabayo – oh, horse! – expressing surprise or startlement

Haba ng hair ng lola mo – your grandmother has long hair – it’s a way of expressing self-adulation. Honestly don’t know how or whyyyyy

BAHALA NA SI BATMAN – LEAVE IT ALL TO BATMAN – In da PI, Batman is equivalent to Fate or Jesus; our version of “Jesus take the wheel”

3. tooshaytooshay


“My penis broke” – Enough is enough

4. awkwardhug


I want to eat your liver – A term of endearment, generally to children, which means, “ahhh you are so cute!”

5. WedgieWhite


drop your pants to fart. It means to do something unnecessarily.

6. addc182


My favorite will always be, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too” which translates to: “You can’t have your wife drunk and a full bottle.”

7. KeijoKala


To be in resin = To have a crush on someone.

Do I need to twist it out of iron wire? = Do I need to spell it out for you?

It doesn’t help crying in the market = Deal with it. (Something of the sort, anyway.)

To be in a tuba. “Fuck, I’m so in a tuba”. = being intoxicated.

8. acherion


“I’ll change your lights” (“Tha sou alaxo ta fota”) – means I’ll beat the crap out of you.

“Your eyes fourteen” (“Ta matia sou dekatessera”) – means keep an eye out / watch out / be careful

“I’ll change your oil” (“Tha sou alaxo ta ladia”) – a crude way for a guy to proposition a girl

“Sit on your eggs” (“Katse sta avga sou”) – a way of saying “hold your horses” (ha!) or “stay where you are”

“You’ll eat wood” (“Tha fas ksilo”) – what a parent would say to a child if they’re going to get a smack / spank for doing something bad.

“I’m writing you on my old shoes” (“Sou grafo sta palia mou ta papoutsia”) – You are in my bad books

“I’ll make you laugh” (“Tha se gelaso”) – I don’t know (seriously, it means that)

“On the deaf man’s door, knock as much as you like” (“Sto koufo tin porta, oso theleis vronta”) – Ask as much as you like, I’m still going to ignore you

And one my dad used to say to me when I was young – “What are you waiting for? Bananas?” I never knew what aspect of bananas were time critical.

9. Gort_84

Northern Mexican:

Mexican Spanish – Literal translation – What it Means:

“Ando bien pedo” – “I’m very fart” – I’m really drunk

“Eso es puro pedo” – “That is pure fart” – That is not true

“Esta en casa de la chingada” – “It’s at the fucked woman house” – It is very far

“Ya te cargo el payaso” – The clown has already picked you up – You are doomed

“tengo Hueva” – I have roe – “I’m lazy/ I have laziness”

“Que Onda?” – “What wave?” – What’s up?

Que pedo? – What Fart? – What’s up?

“Dame un aventon” – Give me a push – Give me a ride to

“Me costo un huevo” – It cost me an egg – It was very difficult/ It was very expensive

“Se me fue el avion” – The airplane got away from me” – I forgot

“Eres bien codo” – You are very elbow – You are cheap

” Se esta haciendo una chaqueta” – “He is making himself a jacket”- He is masturbating.

Chaquetas mentales- Mental jackets/See above – Pipe dreams

10. Crackdave


“There is no cow on the ice as long as the ass/bottom is on land” = “Det är ingen ko på isen så länge rumpan är i land”, which means “there is no hurry”. I have always found that one very strange.

11. Superplaner

More Swedish:

“No danger on the roof” – It’s cool/don’t worry about it

“Burnt babies fear fire” – Learn from your mistakes

“No point crying over spilled milk” – What’s done is done, no point worrying.

“Tastes is like an ass – divided” – People are like different things

12. Philmriss


Translation – Meaning -Original Phrase

I think my pig whistles – an expression of being stunned, “I can’t believe it!” – Ich glaub’, mein Schwein pfeift!

No one can reach him the water – no one is his equal (in terms of merit, mostly) – Ihm reicht keiner das Wasser

There lays the hare in the pepper – that is the point / that’s the root of the issue – Da liegt der Hase im Pfeffer

To pass the spoon / To bite the grass – to die – Den Löffel abgeben/ in’s Gras beißen

That is jacket as trousers – it doesn’t matter, there’s no difference – Das ist Jacke wie Hose

With him is not good cherry eating! – He’s an insufferable person – Mit ihm ist nicht gut Kirschen essen!

Now leave the church in the village! – telling someone not to bring up far-fetched arguments, not to overstate things in general – Nun lass mal die Kirche im Dorf

It fits like ass on bucket – a perfect fit/”that is just perfect” (as in sb did something that is just icing on the cake) – Das passt wie Arsch auf Eimer

13. Slotos


“хватит лапшу на уши вешать” – “stop hanging spaghetti on them ears” / “stop spewing bullshit”.

14. doc_daneeka

Canadian French:

A very rude thing that one might say in Canadian French is ‘tabarnak de calisse d’ostie’, which literally translates as ‘tabernacle of the chalice of the host’. Yes, they find that every bit as funny in France as you probably do.

15. sickjedi


“It’s easy, with other mans dick, to hit on the nettles.” – It’s easy to brag with someone else’s success or It’s easy to to destroy someone else’s property.
“Old lady with the cakes went away” – You missed your chance.

16. kinow

Brazilian Portuguese:

“Shitting and walking” (Cagando e andando): I don’t give a shit about it, similar meaning to water off a duck’s back.

“Face” (Cara): dude

“Chilli sauce in other’s ass is refreshment” (Pimenta no cú dos outros é refresco): means something like, when something bad happens to another person it is satisfying for you (really evil no?).

“Cock in the ass” (Pau no cú): a pain in the back

“Aspirin ass” (Bunda de aspirina): an ass that is flat, white and has only a line in the middle, what is not very common in Brazil ;)

“Shrimp woman” (Mulher camarão): some ugly lady. We say she is a shrimp because we can eat like so. You chop off the head and eat (fuck) the rest.

17. shenpen


“Az isten bassza rá magára az eget, és az énekes koldus is verje magába azt holdkóros faszát!” – “May God fuck down the sky on you and also the singing beggar should jerk his lunatic dick in you!”

18. RedditName


“It will all come with the cold water” -> “No need to panic”

“He’s a wolf in a sheep’s skin” -> “A person causing trouble”

“It’s an unplowed field” -> “A market/opportunity that hasn’t been tapped”

“One wave is seldom single” -> “Troubles are never easy”

“They splash the skyr who own it” -> “Rich people gonna rich”

“A nation knows when three know” -> “A secret is out when you tell one person”

“There are many wonders in a cows head” -> “Well that was weird”

19. facedawg


On my eyes and head: I would do anything for you

You are popping my liver: You’re annoying

He will bury me: I hope you don’t die before me (because I love you and don’t want to see you die)

Vagina of your mother: Fuck you. You yell it out at someone like you would yell out “fuck you” in English

20. Gluggr


We’ve got a few nice ones.

You can blow me in the shoe – You can forget that.

It’s for pissing hair oil! – This is frustrating

Enough hey is down. – It’s enough.

I will show him where Bartli gets the apple juice – I will show him how it is.

That doesn’t go on a cow’s skin – He/she has done too much bad.

No goat can lick that away – ditto.

21. kilmore_trout


Neko wo kaburu (猫をかぶる) = lit. wearing a cat; when a woman feigns innocence

Mizu kusai (水くさい) = lit. stinky like water; “don’t be such a stranger”

Hanayori dango (花より団子)= lit. sweets over flowers; to prefer practical things to beautiful ones

22. elkresurgence


“When a man takes out a sword, he must at least cut a radish.”
-> When a man takes an initiative, he has an obligation to do something, however trivial, to show for it.

“A shrimp’s back is broken in a whale fight.”
-> An innocent, powerless third party ends up taking damage in a dispute between two powerful forces.

“Like blood in a bird’s foot”
-> Something extremely small and trivial in extent or amount

“Like eating cold porridge”
-> Something that takes very little effort to accomplish. A very easy task. (similar to “a piece of cake” in English)

“A small red pepper is spicier.”
-> A short, unassuming person can often be more tenacious and therefore harder to ignore. Incidentally, this proverb is sometimes involved in low-grade sexual wordplay because the word gochu (고추) can both mean red pepper and penis.

23. [deleted]


“What do I now have hanging on my bike?” – Wtf’s happening?

“That’s a flute from a cent” – That’s a piece of cake

“Little bean comes after his salary” – He gets what he deserves

“To sit with the baked pears” – To be in trouble

“Don’t tie the cat to the bacon” – Prevent provoking situations

“It comes for the baker” – It’ll get done

“To laugh as a farmer having a toothache” – Oddly specific way to specify fake, ungenuine laughing

“To be able to lose your egg” – To be able to express your feelings/problems

“To feel on the tooth” – To inspect something when suspicious

24. worldtea

Mandarin Chinese:

hug Buddha’s foot -> leave till the last moment

a bow’s reflection in a cup of water looks like a snake -> false alarm

playing guitar to a cow -> preach to deaf ears

phoenix feather and unicorn horn -> rare

drawing a snake with feet -> unnecessary addition

break the woks and sink the boats -> burning bridges behind us

kill the chicken for its egg -> short-sighted gain

25. WhereAreThePix

“Nice crocs” said nobody in any language ever.

26. [deleted]


‘Bread is good when warm’ – Get to what you have to do.

‘All parts of the cow are sold’ – There is something for everyone in the world.

‘Do not wake a sleeping dog.’ – Do not get yourself into unnecessary dangerous situations.

‘He can smell melons.’ – He has a large nose.

Any of you have phrases that get lost in translation? Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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Michael Koh

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