Every language has its own sayings, cliches, parables and idioms. Some overlap between languages and some are unique to a specific culture that stretch over generations. Croatian is no exception.
In my time living here, I’ve heard a handful of idioms that are really close to ones I use in English, but are just a little…different. They were a bit startling to hear the first time because they sound ridiculous. But when you think about it, all idioms sound ridiculous no matter the language.
Idioms are a group of unrelated words whose meaning is unrelated to the individual words. It’s a “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” kind of situation. Most people use idioms when speaking, regardless of whether they know they are or not. As part of your assimilation to life in Croatia, using these idioms can give you a new avenue for communicating in Croatian.
Give some of these a try at your next opportunity.
5 English idioms that are a little different in Croatian
#1 When in a difficult situation
English: in a pickle
Croatian: u banani (in a banana)
#2 When someone breaks stuff or causes damage in situations that require delicacy
English: bull in a china shop
Croatian: slon u staklarni (elephant in a glass house)
#3 When a situation is made to sound worse than it is
English: mountain out of a molehill
Croatian: od muhe radiš slona (you are making an elephant out of a fly)
#4 When something is really easy
English: a piece of cake
Croatian: mačji kašalj (a cat’s cough)
#5 When something is impossible
English: when pigs fly
Croatian: kad na vrbi rodi grožđe (when the willow bears grapes)
Check out our other Croatian language learning lessons here.
Have you learned any fun Croatian idioms? Share them in the comments.