The Search for International Idioms


frage für das forum  GUESSING QUIZ

Idioms are creative words and phrases that have a their own fixed meaning in the context. They can range from Idioms used for (example) Food, Work, Numbers, Church and in some cases, names (an article on Idioms connected with names can be found here)

This set of Idioms was found through a Forum that features English teachers and those wanting to learn English. One of the members found the top ten Idioms used from their native countries but known throughout the world.

As a challenge, here’s a matching exercise where you should match the Idioms with the meanings on the right. Which ones do you know?  Guess first and then check the answers at the bottom of the article. Good luck! 🙂


Idiom (Country) Meaning
1.       You can’t pluck feathers off a bald chicken (The Netherlands) a. To beat around the bush
2.       To ride an elephant to catch a grasshopper (Thailand) b. To brag or talk something up to be bigger than it actually is.
3.       A dog in the church (Italy) c. To fool a person/people
4.       “Stop ironing my head!” (Turkey) d. To go away/ get lost
5.       Walk around in hot porridge (Czechia) e. To have better things to do
6.       Emit smoke from seven orifices (China) f. “Knock it off! Stop annoying me!”
7.       Have other cats to whip (France) g. Unwanted guest(s)
8.       To inflate a cow (China) h. Things that are impossible cannot happen
9.       To hang noodles on someone’s ears (Russia) i. Put in a lot of work to get little in return
10.   Get stuffed with hay (Polish) j. To be extremely angry/ furious

OMT: What other international Idioms (translated into English) do you know? Add your examples in the comment section below AND include the origin of the Idiom. An example is presented below:

Going to two weddings at the same time (Germany; specifically, Saxony)-   

To be at two places at once.


Looking forward to adding onto the list what you present. 🙂






Answers: 1. h, 2. i, 3. g, 4. f, 5. a, 6. j, 7. e, 8. b, 9. c, 10. d