A strange way to say things

Every language, and indeed every locality has them.  Some people call them idiomatic expressions.  Others call them  colloquialisms, or sayings, or just plain idioms.  Our village and surrounding villages had words or expressions that may sound strange to others, but were used in everyday speaking.  And everyone knew what they meant.  Some were used to scold and some were used to show love.  Here are some that a few elders from our village remember.  If you can remember more, please pass along to us.  We post these with love for our ancestors.

(More idioms to come.)

Sayings, Idioms, or Proverbs

(Not easily translatable verbatim)


1  “Zhivi magare za da pasish zelena treva”.

Stay alive donkey so that you may eat green grass in the spring.

Meaning:  When you ignore the problems of the present and look hopefully to the future.


2.      “Ah sho aro meh naide”. 

Ah what crazy (bad) thing caught me.

Meaning: I am doing too many wrong things.


3.      “Toori mou pepul”. 

Throw some ashes into it.

Meaning:  It is not that important.  Never mind.  


4.     Tee na tatkoti nivata neh mozhish da mee a kazhish”.

You can’t show me your father’s plot (lot).

Meaning:  I know more than you know.


5.     Tee deh odish, yas see greda”.

Wherever you are going, I have been there.

Meaning:  I have been there and know more than you know


6.     “Ot bulvata loy neh izvavash”.

You can’t get fat from a flea.

Meaning:  One is a cheap person.


7.      “Ee petelo yaytsa mou nehsi”. 

Even his rooster lays eggs.

Meaning: He is a lucky so-and-so.


8.      “Se fati siromao na oroto, se skina tapano”.

The poor man started to lead the dance, the drum burst.

Meaning:  When one fails to achieve his goal.


9.       “Ee na guzo oko ima”. 

He even has an eye on his behind (ass).

Meaning:  He is very smart.


11.     “Vulko vulnata si e furga, no oo yo neh go furga”. 

The wolf sheds his fur but not his habits.

MeaningA person does not change his ways.


12.      “Zavurna snego see posipa tragiteh”. 

The snow fell and covered up his tracks.

Meaning:  When someone tries to hide his past.


13.      “Na shoushata ee grado ardisva”. 

In a drought even the hailstones are beneficial. 

Meaning:  When you don’t get what you expected.


14.       “Oochee, oochee, tikva boochee”. 

Teach, teach, the pumpkin is empty.

Meaning:   You don’t learn anything no matter how much you teach.


15.       “Osheh so nounkovata koshoula odish”. 

You still wear you godfather’s shirt. 

Meaning:  You haven’t grown up yet.


16.       “Go vlechee poyaso”. 

He drags his belt (sash).

Meaning:  He is looking for trouble.


17.       “Da neh padnee skeparo do go oubieh deteto”. 

Lest the hatchet falls and kills the child.

Meaning:  When a person is a pessimist.


18.       “Raseepee  koukya, napravee plemna”. 

Destroy a house to build a barn.

Meaning:  An achievement of much less value than your efforts.


19.       “Ee steeso oushee ima”. 

Even the walls have ears.

Meaning:  obvious, be careful of what you say.


20.        “Arizan kon na zubiteh neh se gleda”. 

You don’t look a gifted horse in the mouth.

Meaning:  Obvious, same as in American English.


21.        “Neh se furliay gol vo koprivite”. 

Don’t throw youself naked in the nettles.

Meaning:  Don’t interfere in the arguments of others.


22.        “Veedeh malko oorda, misli bachilo eh”. 

He saw some cottage cheese and thinks it is cheese making factory.

Meaning:  When a person exaggerates his wealth.


23.         “So gola ruka zmeeya neh se fatva”. 

With bare hands you don’t catch a snake.

Meaning:  When a person does not have sufficient means to do anything.


24.        “So purdeshka yaytsa neh se vapsouvat”. 

You don’t color eggs with a fart.

 Meaning:  You economize too much..


25.        “Em ftesen, em besen”. 

One is guilty but goes berserk.

Meaning:  He does not admit his guilt.



The following were used either to scold or curse someone.

Scolding or Cursing Idioms, etc


# Idiom Interpretation Meaning
01 Zmia da te kliukni
May a snake bite you You are cursing your enemy
02 Kourshoum da te oudri
May a bullet strike you You are wishing that he/she drop dead.
03 Da neh te imam
I wish I did not have you Parent regrets having the child
04 Damla da te oodri
May a lightning strike you Obvious, same as in English
05 Ot Gospod da see go naydish
May God find you God will punish you
06 Tee se skurshee rukata?
Did you arm (hand) break? Did your arm (hand) break, that you were not able to   finish the job?
07 Evdovitsa da te vida
May I see you widowed Wishing her to lose her husband and be widowed
08 A muri shoota!
You are a nutcase! Does not behave normal.Not quite right in the head. ( shoota refers to a girl or woman)
 09 Tehbeh tee go ispia oomo vrapsiteh
The birds drank your brain You lost your mind.    Not behaving normal
10 Glava imash a oom nemash
You have a head but you are missing your brain You lost your mind.
11 Tehbeh neh tee sechi oomo
Your mind is not functioning right. Your are not smart enough.  You are stupid
12 Abre krivo durvo
You crooked person You always do things the wrong way.
13 Durvo neh delano
Unfinished lumber You are not polished enough
 14 Neh keh se storish chovek
You are not going to be a man It is impossible to make something out of you
 15 Koy go zagina a tee da go naide?
Who lost it for you to find it? It is not your thing
16 Abre Toorchin!
Abre Arnautin!
You Turk!  You Albanian! You do things the Turkish (Albanian) way.  (Neither the Turks or Albanians were beloved in the village)
17 Neh kerdosan
Without profit (benefit) Useless person
 18 So inka oom neh se toorva
Without a funnel you can not fill your brain  You cannot get anywhere
 19 Ot tehbeh a eer nehma da vida
From you I see no benefit You are a useless peson
 20 Ako te fata pra keh te naprava
If I grab you I’ll make dust out of you. Obvious.  Wait   until I catch you!




The following were used to show love to close ones or encouragement.

Loving Idioms, etc


# Idiom Interpretation Meaning
1 Abre kootaleh na baba
Baba’s little puppy Grandma likes this  child
2 Abre maymoon
You little monkey Praising the little  child
3 Mush na dedo
Dehdo’s young man Praising the little  child
4 Zlato na baba
Baba’s gold Grandma loves him like   gold
5 Ot turn trandafil
From thistle to rose 100% turn around
6 Stopan na maika
Mama’s master   (breadwinner) He undertook his   responsibility
7 Aide breh milo
Let’s go my love Encouraging the little  child
8 Ah segah
Let’s do it now Encouragement to do   better