Foreign Expressions
A Random Collection



What you see below is a random collection of foreign expressions and phrases. These idioms and expressions from other languages and cultures show how universal some ideas are, and how people of the world have more things in common than we tend to realize!

Some of the foreign expressions you see on this list are grouped together as they represent the same topic. Others are stand alone expressions.

At this time, these expressions are not arranged in any specific order. However, as we accumulate more phrases, they will be listed in different categories by language.

Do you know some expressions and idioms, foreign OR English, that you think we should add to our website? Please let us know.



The random list of foreign expressions begins here

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The more languages you know, the more human you are. Czech.
However many languages you know, that much more of a human you are. Armenian.

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Gulls on land, storm at the sea. Portuguese.
Seabird by solid ground, storm coming ahead. Venezuelan.

When things are not in their proper place, there may be trouble somewhere.

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Flatter the sea, but stand on earth when you do so. Greek.

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Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are! Assyrian, Persian, Spanish, Turkish, etc.

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A lie has no legs. English.
In lies, one has short legs. Croatian.
Lies have short legs. Czech, German.
Lies have short feet (or memory). Armenian.

A lie cannot get too far; the truth will come out.

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The carpenter’s door is loose. Arabic.
The cobbler’s children go barefoot. English.

About those who take care of other people’s problems but neglect their own family.

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From a thorn a rose emerges and from a rose a thorn. Greek.

Children don’t necessarily take after their parents.

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A pear will fall to its root. Turkish.
A splinter doesn’t jump far from a log. Serbian.
The pear falls exactly underneath the pear tree. Albanian.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. English, Greek, Slovak.

Children take after their parents.

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A woman and the sea are the same in anger. Greek.

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If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. English.
If they had planted “if,” a tree would have grown in its place. Persian.
If the word if wasn’t there, my father would be a millionaire. German.
If children’s prayers were answered, there wouldn’t be a single teacher alive. Persian.

Various plays with the word “if”.

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When you pick up the stick, the robber dog knows. Armenian.
When you pick up the stick, the stealing cat gets alert. Persian.
When they shouted, “Pumpkin thief,” he touched his shoulder to check. Indian.

Guilty people are always on guard, looking over their shoulder.

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Avoid those who constantly praise you. Swahili.
He who knows to praise sure knows to slander. Albanian.
Do not believe that a person who lies for you will not also lie to you. Arabic.
One who tells you about someone else’s business will tell someone else about yours. Swahili.

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The day you decide to leave your house naked is the day you run into your in-laws. Swahili.

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Out of sight, out of mind. English.
Out of the eye, out of the heart. Dutch.
Absence makes the heart forget. Parts of Africa.
He who leaves the eye will leave the heart. Persian.
Eyes that don’t see each other, forget about each other. Greek.

If people don’t see you, they’ll forget you.

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A doctor’s mistake is God’s writing. Greek.

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You look prettier when you’re quiet. Spanish.
Don’t speak if you can’t improve on the silence. Spanish.
If talk is made of silver, then silence is made of gold. Arabic.

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Lentils are still in the market, and the Brahmin is beating his wife for not cooking them properly. Indian.

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The sun won’t stay behind the cloud. Armenian.
The sun shines even when it is cloudy. Albanian.

There’s always hope.

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Taking rye to Kerman. Persian.
Carrying water to the sea. Dutch.
Carrying owls to Athens. German.
Carrying coal to Newcastle. English.
Taking water to the Danube. Hungarian.
Crossing the stream to get water. Danish.

About doing something that is a waste of time.

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The pot calling the kettle black. English.
The donkey called the rooster bigheaded. Greek.
The ragged says to the naked: Why don’t you get dressed? Portuguese.

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He even has bird’s milk. Greek.
For some, cows die; for others, bulls give birth. Portuguese.

A wealthy, or lucky, person can have anything.

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Walls have ears; doors have eyes. Thai.
Walls have mice; mice have ears. Persian.
Birds listen to day-words, and rats listen to night-words. Korean.

Be careful. Someone might be listening!

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In the land of mad people, there are insane rituals. Nepalese.

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He who is bitten by a snake fears a lizard. Parts of Africa.
Whoever gets burnt by hot milk blows on the cool yogurt. Greek, Turkish.
A person once bitten by a snake will be scared by an old rope. Parts of Africa.
One who’s been bitten by a snake is afraid of a black-and-white rope. Persian.
He who has scalded himself on milk weeps when he sees a cow. Spanish.

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Don’t open a wall of your house. Thai.
Don’t air your dirty laundry in public. English.
Washing one’s dirty laundry must be done as a family. French.
Home affairs are not talked about on the public square. Parts of Africa.

Don’t talk about private matters in public.

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Half-filled pots splash more. Indian.
Noisy is the can that contains nothing. Filipino.
Hollow barrels sound the loudest. Dutch, Slovak.
Empty vessels make the most noise. Danish, English.

A loud person does not necessarily know more than others and is not necessarily more correct than others.

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Don’t look for noon at two o’clock. French.

Don’t complicate the issue.

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A good day is apparent in the morning. Swahili.
A good year is apparent from the spring. Persian.

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A good word will bring out the rat from the hole. Maltese.
He pulls a snake out of the nest with his tongue. Persian.
With a soft tongue, you can pull a snake out of its nest. Armenian.

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The illiterate person is like an uncarved piece of wood. Greek.
The more you strike the steel, the more beautiful it becomes. Albanian.

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No answer is also an answer. German.
He who is quiet agrees. Dutch, Spanish.
Silence is the sign of agreement. Persian.

Taking someone’s silence as a sign of agreement.

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Those who’ve lost dreaming are lost.
The more you know, the less you need.
Keep your eyes on the sun, and you will not see the shadows.
We are all visitors to this time, to this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love. And then we return home.
Aboriginal Australian

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It’s no use crying over spilled milk. English.
Thinking first is an asset; regret later is useless. Indonesian.
Don’t say the first thing that comes to your mind. Parts of Africa.
If you speak the word, it shall own you. If you don’t, you shall own it. Arabic.

About the need for thinking before doing or saying something.

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Better is a wise enemy than an insane friend! Greek.
A good enemy is better than a bad friend! Jewish/Yiddish.
A wise enemy is better than an unwise friend! Azerbaijani.

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How come you are going barefoot on the thorns? Greek.

Why are you getting into this difficulty unprepared?

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A large-pot without cover does not hold water. Haitian.

People who talk too much can’t keep a secret.

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One idiot throws a stone in the well, and it takes a hundred wise men to (try to) get it out. Armenian, Persian.

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Cast the iron whilst it is hot. Dutch.
Strike while the iron is hot. English.
Make hay while the sun shines. English.
Bake the bread while the oven is hot. Persian.
One should do the blacksmithing while the iron is hot. Dutch.

Do it while the opportunity is still there.

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I wasn’t born yesterday. English.
I haven’t swum here on the roux soup. German.
I haven’t come from behind the mountains. Persian.

I am not stupid!

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One hand has no sound. Persian.
One hand will not clap. Armenian.
One hand washes the other, and both wash the face. Greek.
Two hands make a sound. What does one hand have? Turkish.

Reference to the effectiveness of cooperation among people, to do good or evil.

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To catch fish in each hand. Thai.
He who hunts two rats catches none. Parts of Africa.
Don’t pick up two watermelons with one hand. Persian.
If you run after two hares, you’ll catch none. Vietnamese.
One who drinks water with one hand remains thirsty. Swahili.

Don’t do too many things at the same time.

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For fleeing enemies, a silver bridge. Spanish.
For the enemy that leaves, build a golden bridge. Greek.

If your enemies are trying to end hostilities, try to compromise.

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“What will I eat with?” is better than “What will I eat?” Swahili.

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Be a smart man, like drooping rice. Indonesian.
However much fruit a tree bears, it humbles its head that much more. Armenian.

The more wisdom one acquires, the more humble they become.

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The mouse couldn’t fit through the hole, and then it tied a broom to its tail. Armenian, Persian.

Refers to people who take on more responsibilities than they can handle.

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When the father’s generation eats salt, the child’s generation thirsts for water. Vietnamese.

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It’s not a shame to ask. It’s a shame not to know. Persian.
Shameful is not the one who doesn’t know, but the one who doesn’t ask. Azerbaijani.
He who asks is a fool for five minutes. But he who does not ask remains a fool forever. Chinese.

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Your future does not depend on the lines of your hands because people who do not have hands also have a future. Indian.

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Fishing behind the net. Dutch.
Coat after the rain. Hungarian.
Finding the dog in the jar. Dutch.
The old lady with cakes has already passed by. Croatian.
Clothes after the New Year are good for the top of the minaret. Persian.

A reference to being too late to do something.

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From children and drunks will you hear the truth. Danish.
From a child and a crazy person you learn the truth. Greek.

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He who cannot dance will say the drum is bad. Parts of Africa.

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It’s a transition, said the fox who was skinned. Norwegian.

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The love from a child is as long as a stick; the love from a mother is as long as a road. Indonesian.

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Water finds the pothole. Persian.
The kettle rolled down and found the lid. Greek.

People with similar characteristics find each other.

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Don’t stretch your legs beyond your quilt. Persian.
Stretch your legs as far as your quilt allows. Arabic.
While the blanket is short, learn to curl up to fit. Filipino.
You stretch you legs according to your blanket size. Romanian.

Know your limits and adapt to the situation.

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Time goes and does not come back. Chinese, Haitian.

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A house not seen by the sun is seen by the doctor. Greek.
In a house where the sun gets in, the doctor doesn’t. Portuguese.

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Monday morning quarterback. English.
After a battle, everyone is a general. Czech.
Graves are filled with after-the-fact wisdom. Italian.

It’s easy to say why something went wrong after it has happened.

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A friend in need is a friend indeed. English.
When in need, you shall know a friend. Czech.
In time of need, a thousand friends shrink to a few grams. German.
In times of trouble, when you need help, you will see your real friends. Filipino.

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Buying a pig in a poke. English.
You don’t buy a cat in a bag. Haitian.
Buying a cat in a bag. Dutch, German.
Buying a water buffalo in the marsh. Thai.

A reference to risky purchases.

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Amongst calves a handicapped cow is wise. Indian.
Where there are no sheep, they call goats Abdur Rahim Chelebi. Turkish.
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king! Dutch, English, Greek, Italian, parts of Africa, Persian, etc.

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Don’t look where you fell, but where you slipped.
The Earth moves at different speeds for different people.
If the bush is on fire, the antelope will not fear the hunter’s bullet.
You don’t need a light to see someone you know intimately at night.
If you try to cleanse others, you will waste away in the process, like soap.
What an old man will see sitting, a child cannot see standing on a mountain! Parts of Africa.

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Son of old age won’t know his father. Greek.

It’s not good to have children when you’re old.

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He who eats the pastry is not crazy. Crazy is the one who gave it to him. Bulgarian.

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He who leans against a good tree gets good shade. Venezuelan.
If you lean on a good tree, you will be protected by a good shadow. Spanish.

You can trust a good friend.

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The night is a good counselor. Portuguese.
The night brings advice. Take advice of your pillow. French.

Sleep on it. Think about it. Don’t rush.

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Near the dry, the damp will burn. Turkish.
Bugs infesting the wheat get ground along with it. Indian.
Once the fire starts burning, the damp and the dry will burn together. Persian.

Be careful who you choose to be your friends.

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It’s all Greek to me. English.
This is Chinese to me. Hungarian.
I only understand “train station.” German.

I don’t understand any of this.

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Keeping up with the Joneses. English.
If you see that your neighbor has shaved his beard, you’d do best to start lathering yours. Spanish.

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If a toad jumps around in the daytime, it is either chasing something, or something is chasing it. Parts of Africa.

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An absent person has his excuse. Arabic.
Gone to the judge alone, and is back happy. Persian.

There are two sides to every story.

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Fallen from the elephant’s nose. Armenian, Persian.

Said about a person who acts like a snob.

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Follow the custom or flee the country. Danish.
The countries you visit, the customs you find. Italian.
One must howl with the wolves one is among. Danish.
If you don’t want to be found out, take the appearance of the people around you. Persian.
If one goes to a land where they cut off ears, one should cut off one’s ears and offer them. Nigerian.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

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For those who can read, a dot is a letter. Portuguese.

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The patient who made his doctor his heir will never get better. Greek.

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Even monkeys may fall from trees. Japanese, Korean.

Even experts make mistakes.

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Paradise without people is not worth living in. Arabic.

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He who buys what he does not need will eventually have to sell what he needs. Croatian.

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He who thinks does not marry; he who marries does not think. Portuguese.

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When an old man sees a snake and refuses to run, he is prepared to die. Parts of Africa.

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Fear the goat from the front, the horse from the rear, and man from all sides. Assyrian.

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Old age does not come alone. Greek.

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A word before is better than two after. Portuguese.
A fight in the beginning is better than peace in the end. Persian.

Go over the details before you agree to something.

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The devil knows more from being old than from being the devil. Spanish.

About the importance of age.

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Where there are no eagles, I am one, said the grasshopper. Indonesian.

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She tells the sun, “Don’t rise. I’ve come out!” Armenian, Persian.

She’s so beautiful!

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The dead do not know the value of white sheets. Haitian.

Funerals are for those still living.

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When the cat is missing, the mice dance. Italian.
When the cat is not home, the mice dance on the table. Dutch.
The mountains are high, and the emperor is far away. Chinese.
When the boss is out, there’s a holiday at the shop. Portuguese.

About abusing the opportunity in the absence of authority.

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High trees catch lots of wind. Dutch.
The tallest blade of grass is the first to be cut. Assyrian.
The nail that sticks out gets hammered down. Japanese.
The head of the rooster that crows out of time will be cut off. Turkish.

Important persons, or those who stand out from the rest, are in more danger than others.

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One will take someone to the spring and bring them back thirsty. Armenian, Persian.

A very cunning person.

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Only mountains never meet. French.
Mountain won’t meet mountain, but man will meet man. Turkish.
A mountain won’t catch up to a mountain, but a person will catch up to a person. Persian.

Be nice to people on your way up because you might meet them on your way down.

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When pigs fly. English.
If the crow turns white. Filipino.
When hell freezes over. English.
If you see behind your ear. Persian.
When willows bear grapes. Croatian.
When chickens will have teeth. French.
When sabots begin to flower. Bulgarian.
Human out of a mullah, almond out of an oak tree. Azerbaijani.

A reference to something that will never happen.

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One swallow doesn’t make a spring. Czech.
Spring will not come with one flower. Armenian.
One cuckoo bird does not bring the spring. Greek.
With a single flower, there won’t be spring. Persian.
One swallow does not a summer make. English, Norwegian, Slovak.

One needs more than one indication to draw conclusions.

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The blacksmith’s mare walks without horseshoes. Czech.
In a blacksmith’s house, all knives are wooden. Spanish.

About those who take care of other people’s problems but neglect their own family.

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The shroud has no pockets. Turkish.
The last shirt has no pockets. German.
The safe does not follow the hearse. Haitian.

You can’t take material possessions with you when you die.

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If marriage were a good thing, it wouldn’t need witnesses. Portuguese.

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If you enter the Turkish bath, you will sweat! Turkish.
If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. English.
If you work in the slaughterhouse, you’ll get blood on you. Haitian.

If you can’t handle the stress, then don’t take on a tough job.

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Coming back with Hunain’s shoes. Arabic.
Coming back with arms longer than legs. Persian.

Coming back without success.

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Habit is the body’s skin. Swahili.
The belly dancer dies, and her waist is still moving. Arabic.
First leaves the soul of a person and then his quirks. Greek.
The trumpet player dies, and his finger is still playing. Arabic.

Habits are difficult to break.

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At a deaf man’s door, get in through the window. Greek.
At a deaf man’s door, knock as much as you can. Greek.

Some people ignore any advice or guidance. Use any means to get through to them.

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Where they pluck turkeys, chickens don’t laugh. Haitian.

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Out of the frying pan into the fire. English.
Came out of the pothole, fell into the well. Persian.
Out from the tiger’s mouth, into the crocodile’s mouth. Indonesian.

You may get out of one problem but then find yourself facing a bigger problem.

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A deceased person, much prayed for, goes straight to hell. Portuguese.

Evil men have big funerals.

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I’m dead and buried in the countryside. Hungarian.

I’m busy. Don’t disturb me.

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I have an aunt who plays the guitar. Spanish.
What is the connection with Alexander’s mustache? Armenian.
What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? English.
I’m coming from town, and you are talking about the peak of Salamina Island. Greek.
What does fire in Rameshwar have to do with firefighting in Someshwar? Indian.

About lack of communication or when the problem and solution don’t match.

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The grass is greener on the other side. Danish, English, French.
The neighbor’s pan smells better then the pan at home. Maltese.
The jasmine flowers in the backyard don’t have any fragrance. Indian.

People are never satisfied with what they have.

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He who laughs last laughs the loudest. English.
He who laughs last laughs best. English, Dutch.
Don’t skin the bear before it’s been shot. Danish.
They count the chickens at the end of autumn. Persian.
Don’t sell the hide until you’ve shot the bear. Norwegian.
Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. English, Danish.
Don’t sell the bear’s skin before you’ve killed it. French, Spanish.

Don’t act as if you have something until you really do.

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Out of the rain and into the eaves. German.
Fell from the sky, got stuck in a date palm. Indian.

You may get out of one problem but then find yourself facing a bigger problem.

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He is two spoons in all liquids. Hungarian.

He sticks his nose in everything.

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It’s darkest under the lamp stand. Korean.
Men are blind in their own case. Vietnamese.
The camel does not see her own hump. Greek.
No one sees his own hunchback. Jewish/Yiddish
The darkest place is under the candlestick. Czech.
It’s easier to see the straw in someone else than the beam in oneself. Spanish.

We see other people’s faults but fail to see our own.

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I’m speaking to you, but listen, oh neighbor. Arabic.
Door, I’m speaking to you. Wall, you listen. Persian.
I speak to you, my daughter, and let you hear, my daughter-in-law. Arabic.

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A corpse isn’t asked about the choice of shroud. Swahili.

A person in trouble doesn’t get to choose the kind of help they are offered.

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God loves the thief but loves the master of the house more. Greek.
Once for the thief, twice for the thief, three, and it’s his bad day. Greek.

The thief will be caught eventually.

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Don’t trouble trouble till trouble troubles you. Vietnamese.

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Measure seven times; cut once. Armenian.
Measure a hundred times; cut once. Maltese.
Someone cut before they measured! Persian.
Turn the tongue seven times before you speak. French.

Think thoroughly before you act.

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Don’t speak of the noose in the hanged man’s house. Spanish.

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She will put both of his feet into one shoe. Greek.

On discipline.

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In trying to put make-up around the eye, they blinded it. Arabic.
They tried to fix the eyebrow and ended up blinding the eye, too. Armenian, Persian.

Instead of fixing the problem, they made it worse.

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Do a good thing, and throw it in the sea. Arabic.
A drop of water shall be returned with a burst of spring. Chinese.
Do good things, and forget them. Do bad things, and remember them. Maltese.
Do a good thing and throw it in the river. God will reward you in the desert. Persian.

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He’s eating the brush. Hungarian.

He’s dealing with the consequences of his bad decisions.

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If a blind man says that he will throw a stone at you, he probably has his foot on one. Parts of Africa.

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One is nineteen, the other is one less than twenty. Hungarian.

Both of them are troublemakers.

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Don’t insult the crocodile until after you cross the water. Parts of Africa.

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Beware of the anger of a patient man. Irish.

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In one ear and out the other. English.
In through the left ear, out through the right ear. Thai.
Hears it from this ear, throws it out through the other. Armenian.

Said about those who won’t listen to good advice.

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Coming words will be beautiful if gone words were beautiful. Korean.

What you say is what you will hear.

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When your seven years are over, you go for good. Haitian.

When your time (life) is done you must go.

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Cattle in faraway lands have long horns. Irish.
The back of the neighbor’s bride is red. Armenian.
The neighbor’s hen is a goose to a neighbor. Persian.

People are never satisfied with what they have.

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A face only a mother could love. English.
A beetle saw her children on the wall, and she said “They look like a string of pearls.” Arabic.

A mother loves her children no matter what they look like.

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Give me bread, and call me stupid. Spanish.

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We were many, and grandma gave birth! Venezuelan.

Things were bad, and now they are even worse.

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The dogs are barking, the caravan is moving on. Indonesian.
The dog barks, the caravan passes by. Azerbaijani, Portuguese.
If the cock crows on the dung heap, the weather may change or it may stay the way it is. German.

Great achievements can’t be prevented by insignificant people.

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It is coming out of my elbow. Hungarian.

It’s happening very often.

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The guilty one runs unchased. Bulgarian.

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It’s a good thing that the roads in Kerry go out of Kerry. Irish.

If you live in Kerry, you’re glad that there’s a way out.

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The saint who works no miracles isn’t glorified! Greek.

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Eat the spicy chili sauce only from one cup. Thai.

Stay faithful to your wife!

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Better a sparrow in the hand than a pigeon on the roof. Czech, German.
Better to have one bird in your hand than ten in the sky (or on the roof). Danish, Dutch, Norwegian.

Don’t risk losing what you have for things that you’re hoping to have.

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A woman who cries, a man who swears to God, and a horse that sweats, are all impostors. Italian.

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A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. English.
An egg today is better than a chicken tomorrow. Italian.
A slap in the face now is better than promised candy later. Persian.

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Heaven is under the mother’s foot. Indonesian, Persian.

If you respect your mother, you’ll go to heaven, that’s how high a mother’s place is.

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Better to live with the devil than with a mean woman. Greek.

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A dog with a bone in his mouth has no friends. Haitian.

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Hatred is as blind as love. Vietnamese.

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If your wife wants to throw you off the roof, make sure the roof is as low as possible. Spanish.

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Cheap things are expensive. Spanish.

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A large house hides large matters. Swahili.

Where there are lots of people, there will be lots of things going on.

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A big blanket encourages sleeping in the morning. Parts of Africa.

Luxury encourages idleness.

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When you follow the old man, the dog will not bite. Thai.
Where there are elders, the house does not burn. Haitian.

Listen to the advice of the elders.

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A man who does not lie shall never marry. Parts of Africa.

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Someone else’s rice cake always looks bigger. Korean.
The sound of drums sounds nicely from far away. Turkish.

People are never satisfied with what they have.

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Five fingers are brothers, not equals. Persian.

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Three monks have no water to drink. Chinese.
Many midwives, and child will be lazy. Croatian.
Two midwives, and the baby’s head will be crooked. Persian.

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When eating a fruit, think of the person who planted the tree. Vietnamese.

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Clothes put on while running come off while running. Parts of Africa.

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If you want to see a rainbow, you must first sit through the rain. Hungarian.

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No nuts when one has teeth, no teeth when one has nuts. Indian.
God gives nuts to those who don’t have teeth, and teeth to those who don’t have nuts. Portuguese.

You never get what you want.

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The day a monkey is destined to die, all trees become slippery. Swahili.

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He who builds with sweat defends with blood. Albanian.

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Too many chiefs and not enough Indians. English.
You’re a master, I’m a master. Who is to milk this cow? Turkish.

When there are too many bosses, work doesn’t get done.

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With patience, you will see an ant’s breasts. Haitian.

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Close friends are like a double-edged knife; far away friends are money saved. Haitian.

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A priest, a doctor, and a policeman had better not enter one’s house. Greek.

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The dead does not know the value of white sheets. Haitian.

Funerals are for the living.

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He who doesn’t have a brain by twenty shouldn’t expect one at thirty. Greek.

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A bird will always use another bird’s feathers to feather its own nest. Parts of Africa.

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What you wish for when you’re sober, you act out when drunk. Greek.

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He who knows nothing doubts nothing. Vietnamese.

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Do not sit on a basket to raise yourself; do not be boisterous while carrying goods on your head; do not lie with your head covered, waiting for good luck; do not rely on the god of mercy. Cambodian.

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One will get caught if one’s tail is too long. Korean.

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There’s butter behind his ears. Hungarian.

He is guilty of something.

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From a silly hole, a silly wind blows. Hungarian.

Said when the person talking is not making sense.

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Trusts a goat with a cabbage. Hungarian.

Trusts something to the wrong person.

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The quiet cat also drinks milk. Irish.

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Wine is good for men when it’s women who drink it! Portuguese.

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The tongue steals what is in the heart. Swahili.

People talk about their feelings.

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No money, no Swiss. Dutch.

Don’t expect something for nothing.

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If you can’t bite, never show your teeth. Vietnamese.

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An ox with a tail does not walk over the fire. Haitian.

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The guilty dog barks the loudest. English.
The thief has a feather on his head. Egyptian.
It is the hen that has laid the egg that sings. French.

It’s easy to spot the guilty person.

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If a cat is the judge, then the rat can’t win its case. Swahili.

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One who always tells the truth is avoided by his friends. Swahili.

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It’s “eight” to me! Hungarian.
No skin off my nose. English.

It doesn’t matter to me.

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Once bitten twice shy. English.
One who has been bitten by a snake startles at a reed. Swahili.

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Throw a stone, but hide the hand. Indonesian.

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He is a fool whose sheep runs away twice. Parts of Africa.
A donkey does not bump into the same stone twice. Dutch.

One who makes the same mistake twice is a fool.

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This is my measuring bucket not yours. Arabic.
Don’t sprout where you haven’t been planted. Greek.

Mind your own business.

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It’s easy to become a father but hard to be one. German.

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When the axe came to the forest (to cut down the trees), the trees said: The handle is one of us. Armenian.

There is no one to blame but ourselves.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Too many cooks spoil the broth. English.
More cooks make a bigger mess. Norwegian.
When there are two cooks, the soup will be either too salty or tasteless. Persian.

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The woman who doesn’t wish to bake bread, spends five days contemplating. Greek.
A woman who doesn’t want to cook takes all day to prepare the ingredients. Albanian.

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They said to the fox, the fox said to its tail. Bulgarian.
Tell a lazy man to do something. Listen to philosophy! Persian.
Tell a lazy man to do something. He’ll give you advice! Turkish.

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Not everyone who chased the zebra caught it, but he who caught it chased it. Parts of Africa.

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In a piranha-infested river, alligators do backstroke swimming, and monkeys drink water using a straw. Portuguese.

Be careful in risky situations.

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This is where the dog is buried. Hungarian.

This is the reason for the problem.

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His opinions are like water in the bottom of a canoe, going from side to side. Parts of Africa.

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If a child cries for a razor blade, give it to him.
He who is not taught by his mother will be taught by the world.
Advise and counsel; if he does not listen, let adversity teach him.
Parts of Africa.

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Blame for error always lies with those who act. Cambodian.

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Good luck or bad luck is often followed by more of the same. Icelandic.

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Ending up with underpants on a stick. Croatian.

Being really poor.

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First dig a well, then steal the minaret. Persian.
Steal the minaret, but first prepare the sack for hiding it. Turkish.

About planning ahead.

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It is the thief who thinks that all men steal. Danish.

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Evil enters like a splinter and spreads like an oak tree. Parts of Africa.

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If God doesn’t give you children, the devil will give you nephews. Spanish.

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He who lends a book is an idiot. He who returns the book is more of an idiot. Arabic proverb

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English Idioms

By the way, I encourage you to read my book, English Idioms And Expressions.

Selected as one of the finalists in the "2011 National Indie Excellence Book Awards", you'll learn English idioms, expressions, and phrases, and their meanings.

Click here to learn how this resource can be of benefit to you.


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