Hey! Share some fun metaphors you know from languages you speak.

I'll start:
"get a wiggle on" meaning to hurry;
"stare daggers" meaning to look at someone angrily;
"last ditch effort" a desperate final attempt (originates from WW1 trench warfare).



there is this expression of "eat your own dog food" that technology companies like to use for being reluctant users of their own products.

@pfx my mom and grandma always say “your eyes look like two holes burned in a blanket” when someone looks really tired. I have no idea where this came from and I’ve never heard it from anyone else say it. They’re white American anglophones

@pfx wow I just realized I completely fucked up the second to last sentence lol

@alpine_thistle my brain read it perfectly which shows you how awake i am right now

"his eyes looked like two piss holes in the snow"
Someone with a bad hangover.

@pfx In Korea we have a saying, "trying to make wrinkles in front of a larva" of a tryhard showing off to someone who's much more skilled or knowledgeable.

More modern ones, when a situation or story induces helpless rage: "It's like sweet potatoes," which are dry and will make your chest stuff up if you don't drink water.

The flip side of sweet potatoes is "pop soda," when a story or situation is really cathartic and figuratively clears the stuffiness induced by the sweet potato.

@ljwrites @pfx "Trying to make wrinkles in front of a larva" makes a lot more sense than it's english/anglophone equivalent, "teaching your grandmother to suck eggs"

@RedFuture @pfx omg is that what it means?? I had heard the expression but had no idea what it meant 😂 still doesn't make a ton of sense to me tbh like are grandmas all expert egg-suckers or what

@ljwrites @pfx similar to the first, we say that "the devil is wiser for being old than for being devil".

For bad news, we says that it "fell like a kick on the guts". We could have used "feel", but not, kicks fall, apparently...


I'm fond of "shake your tailfeathers" also meaning to hurry

Another saying which I learned as an adult is "Make hay while the sun shines" meaning don't hesitate to take opportunities whenever you find them

And "knee high to a grasshopper" meaning very young & small

@pfx the "wet behind the ears" meaninf young/inexperienced is the one that always sound odd to me.


I'll add some with the same meaning from German, translated literally:

To hurry: "Add another cog" (literally "add another tooth", but cog translates to Zahnrad = wheel of teeth)

To look at someone angrily: "To pierce with looks"

A desperate final attempt: "Ascension day commando", meaning anyone participating in that attempt will likely die. The attempt might be successful but at huge costs.

@pfx You'll know these, but for the benefit of followers who may not:

When someone steals your chair, or the last slice of cake: "Would you jump in my grave that quick?"

"Packed in arse to elbow" is when people/a person is physically squeezed into a tight spot, even though knee to ear might fit better. "Like sardines" in polite company, which makes more sense

I've also taken to referring to small signs that may be indicative of a larger problem as Brown M&Ms, but idk how many other people do that

@RedFuture I hadn't heard of the first one! XD is the last because you don't like the chocolate m&m's?

M&M explanation 

@pfx So there was a band in the 80s (I want to say it was Van Halen?) who had, as a part of their rider, a giant jar of M&Ms backstage with all the brown ones taken out

This was held up as an example of rock star excess and ridiculousness

but their show involved a lot of heavy machinery, pyrotechnics, and so on, so the presence of a brown M&M was a sign that the stage manager had not read the rider properly or paid attention to detail, so something more significant was likely to go wrong

M&M explanation 

@RedFuture ah that's a good root for the metaphor!

@pfx Canary in a Coalmine is pretty universal in English too I think

@pfx Also "What's that got to do with the price of fish?" if something is irrelevant, and "That's a different kettle of fish" if something is a different topic

@RedFuture @pfx "What's that got to do with the price of rice in China?" is the variant i'm more familiar with.

@pfx In Stoke, and possibly many places elsewhere, when kids asked their mum what was for tea, the stock non-answer would be "shit wi' sugar on"

@pfx From the local paper, although I have not heard most of these ever and am a little dubious about many of them:

Brassick does come up a lot, as in "brassy clint", meaning skint

The most famous phrase in the local Potters dialect is "Cost kick a bo againt a wo an' then 'it it wi' thi yed till it bosses?" - turns up on mugs and plates

Example of local dialect in newspaper cartoon form:

@RedFuture @pfx omg i remembered a very similar one in spanish.

Whenever you take someone else's seat because they left and they come back and complain about it you would normally say "el que se va de la villa(o el que se va a china), pierde su silla" which literally translates to something like "whoever leaves the valley, (or whoever goes to China) loses their chair" and it means like "you left, is no longer your seat lmao"

@3mpty_sidecharacter @RedFuture @pfx acá ese lo rimamos con Melipilla, que es un pueblo cerca de Santiago con su propia historia interesante

@pfx i don't really speak doric (and i'm dubious if these are necessarily metaphors) but i do love these:

"Doon in the moo" (lit. Down in the mouth.) Meaning: To be sad, referring to someone who is frowning.

"Foos yer doos?" (Lit. How's your pigeons?) Meaning: How are you doing?

"sich den Kopf zerbrechen" - "to crack one's head open" (to overthink something; to ruminate without making progress)

a much rarer variety that I personally use a lot is "Bitte zerbrich dir nicht meinen Kopf" (please don't crack my head open over this) - i.e., please stop trying to solve my problems for me.

@pfx oh, here's one from my northern home that I love:
"Wohnst du am Hang oder was?!"
(Do you live on a mountainside?)

something to ask a person who constantly leaves doors open.

@anarchiv @pfx here in our region we say to someone who does that "Hast du Säcke vor der Tür?" (Do you have bags/sacks in front of your door?)
But I have no idea where that ones coming from

@deidara @anarchiv @pfx oh dang we have "were you raised in a barn??" to mean the same thing!!

@deidara @anarchiv @pfx here, we ask if the person that left the door opened "has a tail", which now I guess wouldn't be as effective with furries...

@matias93 @deidara @anarchiv @pfx Speaking as a furry? I think "Phantom tail again?" might be a lovely mutation of that phrase, given how many folks in the fandom identify as nonhuman entities with tails of some variety or another. :blobyeengrin:

@LexYeen @matias93 @deidara @anarchiv @pfx
In Dutch you would ask a person that leaves doors open: "Ben jij soms in de kerk geboren?"

"Were you born in a church?" Because apparently church doors are always open?

@anarchiv @pfx In English, I’ve heard “were you born in a barn?” to mean this!

@InvaderXan @anarchiv @pfx and I am constantly hoping that someone will someday say that to me, so I can whip around and say "yes, motherfucker, I was !!!"

@anarchiv tbf, it was (partially) converted into a house when I was born there, but close enough @InvaderXan @pfx

@anarchiv @pfx "Ist dein Vater Glaser?" (Is your father a glazier?) when you're standing in front of someone mindlessly blocking the view

@anarchiv @emberr @pfx

in English "are you made of glass?" was sometimes used to admonish kids standing in the way of a TV-set being watched by adults (ofc nowadays they would very likely have their own tablet or other such device)

@vfrmedia @anarchiv @emberr @pfx see I always heard "you make a better door than a window" in these situations

@vfrmedia @anarchiv @emberr @pfx I recall something like “be a window, not a door” for the same in US English

"Die Beine in die Hand nehmen" (to grab one's legs): to flee, to haul ass out of there

zu etwas kommen "wie die Jungfrau zum Kinde" (do as the virgin with her child) - to acquire something by sheer circumstance, or to not know how you got around to doing something

jemandem etwas "madig machen" (to put maggots in it) - to ruin something for someone by being negative about it

this one might be exclusive to where I come from:
"Haben wir schon mal über Kreuz gepinkelt?" (Did we ever cross streams when we were pissing?" - something to ask a person who's acting annoyingly chummy or overfamiliar

@RedFuture @pfx
I was trying to avoid this but the entropy of this website is too intense

@anarchiv @pfx the schwartzchild radius is simply too large and you are always dangerously close to it

@anarchiv @pfx I think USian English for that third one is "rain on [someone's] parade" and British English is "to piss in [someone's] cornflakes" and I think this is indicative of both cultures. :)

@error_1202 @anarchiv @pfx the most common way to say that here is "to shit on their vibes"

death mention 

@anarchiv @pfx for the first, we say "mandarse a cambiar", which is a bit hard to translate, but it would be something like "telling oneself to move out" when a person goes away hurriedly or in a bad moment.

On the other hand, to "go with the feet in front" is one of several ways to say someone died, akin to the English "kick the bucket". You can also say that somebody is "wearing a wooden coat", in reference to the casket.

death mention 

@matias93 @pfx
oh, we also have the second one! mit den Füßen voran!

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