12 hilarious lost-in-translation phrases from around the world

Hello on Blackboard

Everyone needs a laugh on a Monday, right?

Well start by Youtube-ing how to pronounce idioms, because that’s what we’re giggling about this morning.

If you’re more confused than you were getting out of bed after a long weekend, idioms are words that are used to express a sentiment other than their literal meaning. Does it literally rain cats and dogs?

So you may have heard of common English idioms like “kill two birds with one stone” but have you heard of “you have tomatoes in your eyes”? We didn’t think so.

And thats because it’s a German idiom – one that’s easily lost in translation.

Luckily for you (and your language skills) Expedia has put together a handful of funny, lost-in-translation idioms from all over the world.

But because these phrases tend to be super visual (and pictures are fun to look at) they’ve made pictures out of words, so you can see for yourself what the idioms visualise.

Click here to see the original article.


Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 10.44.01 am

This German idiom is used when a person is unaware of a situation or isn’t paying attention – when they can’t see what everyone else can. Literally translated, it means “you have tomatoes on your eyes,” which would definitely make it hard to see if you ask us.


Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 10.44.36 am

This vivid Argentinian idiom perfectly sums up the paranoia of looking for hidden meanings in absolutely everything. But taken literally, it means to “look for the fifth leg of the cat.” Which they don’t have. Obviously.


Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 10.44.54 am

This finite, direct idiom is used to mark the point at which a situation can’t be changed and a person has had enough. Literally, it means “the carrots are cooked.” What’s done is done and that’s that – because you can’t really un-cook carrots.


Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 10.45.12 am

There’s nothing more frustrating than taking the blame for something you didn’t do. This Portuguese idiom is used when someone is wrongly blamed. Literally, it means “pay the duck.”


Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 10.45.37 am

Have you ever tried playing piano to a cow? They probably aren’t going to start applauding – even if you were Mozart. This Chinese idiom perfectly sums up that sinking feeling when you just know that someone doesn’t appreciate what you’ve done. Stupid cow.


Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 10.46.08 am

Some people just don’t get it, do they? This harsh Polish idiom is used to inform someone that you see right through them, or that they are not well-informed. Like they’ve fallen from a Christmas tree or something.


Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 10.46.38 am

Translated into English it makes literally no sense, but in French Canadas this delightful idiom means “to flirt with someone”.


Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 10.46.58 am

No matter how hard we try, some things are simply out of reach. This Japanese idiom beautifully translates to “a flower on a high peak,” rather than the jar of cookies in the high cupboard we automatically visualised.


Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 10.47.17 am

You may have heard of foot in mouth disease, but in Finland, it’s frog in mouth disease. How many times have you said the wrong thing? This Finnish idiom would accuse you of letting “a frog out of your mouth,” if taken literally. More icky than a foot, if you ask us.


Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 10.47.38 am

What is meant to be will be – and every language has its own version of this idiom. The Mexican version translates to “If you’re born to be a tamale, the leaves will fall from the sky.”


Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 10.48.01 am

In Italy, if you ever hear yourself described as a dog in church, it might be time to leave. Because that’s what this idiom for an unwanted guest translates to.

Sri Lanka

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 10.48.21 am

This Tamil idiom means to cut off a relationship. And what better way to do it than to pour water over someones head?

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

expedia idioms lost in translation

Latest News

  • Destinations

Malolo Island Resort Fiji launches its own resort app

Guests at the Malolo Island Resort can now get a better experience even before they arrive with the resort’s newly launched mobile app. Guests are encouraged to download and use the app ahead of their stay to build their itinerary. They can check-in prior to their arrival and make dinner and spa reservations all from […]

  • Tour Operators

France on foot holiday savings

Walking up a steep incline may be painful, but it is all worth it when you see that incredible view.

  • Cruise

Seabourn introduces enhanced groups programs for travel advisors

Leading ultra-luxury cruising and expedition travel company, Seabourne, proudly announces the “Seabourn Enhanced Groups Program” to elevate business prospects for travel advisors. This program introduces a revamped Tour Conductor Credit that offers shipboard credits or bonus commission for bookings. It also eliminates the need for deposits for small group allotments and increases group capacity. “Seabourn […]

  • Cruise

Ponant’s latest luxury cruise expeditions for 2024 and 2025

Head out to see the beauty of unique destinations on three bucket-list explorations of Australia with Ponant Cruise’s new luxury expeditions. Known for their luxury cruises, Ponant offers unique and truly exceptional sea voyage aboard sleek and intimately sized cruise yachts. They offer a range of discovery expeditions, and launched new cruises that take guests […]

  • Aviation
  • News

Christine O’Reilly to replace Peter Hay as chair of Australia Pacific Airports Corporation

Christine O’Reilly has been named as the new chair of Australia Pacific Airports Corporation (APAC) – the owner of Melbourne and Launceston Airports. According to a release, O’Reilly will replace Peter Hay on 1 October, who retires after five years as Chair of APAC. APAC CEO Lorie Argus said O’Reilly’s appointment comes at an exciting […]

  • Tourism

The number one thing you can’t forget if you’re going to Europe & The Olympics

As the Summer Olympics in Paris draws near, travel insurance comparison site Compare the Market is urging travellers to safeguard their European summer sports dreams by getting travel insurance for when the unexpected happens. While France seems like a decently safe country to visit, it’s crucial not to overlook the potential risks that could disrupt a holiday. From bed […]