7 (more) Funny Idioms And Why To Use Them (PART 2)

Idioms are pretty cool, aren’t they?

Once you wrap your head around them it’s not rocket science, so hang in there, you can definitely nail them

When I arrived in Toronto just 5 years ago I was bombarded with idioms I didn’t understand. What’s the “hang” doing with patience? Why do I need to wrap my ...wait, what?! Head?! How is that … even possible…?

“Recovery” from speaking with locals in Toronto meant learning how to speak, not from a text book but from (and with!) real life people.

Idioms and everyday expressions play a huge role in that.

So, when my English speaking friends explain the meaning of the idiom they just used, I feel like “Yay! I’ve found the missing piece of the puzzle” kind of feeling.

The one that makes the meaning complete and adds some spice and fun in the things we say.

So, are you ready to add some spice to your Greek and amaze your friend Nikos when you say:

1. Κάνω τον ψόφιο κοριό.

What does it mean?

Κάνω means I do or I’m doing since Greek has only one Present tense.

A verb in an idiom means that you can conjugate it and change the person according to whom you’re talking about. Κάνω is also used as “pretend”.

Τον ψόφιο κοριό is in accusative form and it literally means “the dead bedbug”. (Really.)

Where & How to Use It

Imagine a dead bedbug. Yeah, it’s yucky.

However, you don’t notice it since it’s not moving so you feel relieved you’re finally done with these nasty creatures. You fall asleep without checking twice.

(Next thing you know is waking up with lots of bites; nope, it wasn’t dead after all and you better get rid of bedbugs - dead or not!)

This is what this idiom is all about. Someone playing dead, pretending they aren’t paying attention so they can escape the consequences. Of course, they do understand what’s going on.

Ouch.

Use this idiom in an informal context. If you find it too weird to involve dead bedbugs, you can use “κάνω την πάπια” (the duck) instead. It means the same thing. Without the bites.

2. Την πατάω.

What does it mean?

That’s a simple one. It means “I step on her”. That’s it.

Wait! Who’s “her?”

I’ll be honest with you. I don’t know.

According to this page it’s the banana peel which is μπανανόφλουδα - a feminine noun in Greek. “I step on the banana peel” seems pretty slippery doesn’t it?

However, there’s just the feminine pronoun την in this sentence so we can’t be sure if there's a banana peel really involved..

Where & How to Use It

“Την πατάω” means I get unlucky with something, things turn out worse than I expect because I’m not prepared or careful enough.

This is definitely used in casual conversations. For example you can say  “Πήγα σήμερα στο μουσείο αλλά την πάτησα. Ήταν κλειστό.” (I went to the museum today but “I stepped on her”. It was closed.)

3. Ξέφραγο αμπέλι!

What does it mean?

It means “an unfenced vineyard”.

Imagine this.

You’re walking under the hot Greek sun, trying to get to the golden beach the locals promised you’d find at the end of the hillside.

Suddenly you see red, juicy grapes in a seemingly deserted vineyard with no fence around it. You don’t think twice, you just get in, have some and then bring some more grapes with you to the beach.

Where & How to Use It

Greeks use this expression when we complain about a situation out of hand and especially when you feel your rights violated. Use it with the verb to be: “Δεν είναι ξέφραγο αμπέλι εδώ!”

You can say this to your neigbour who keeps stealing your parking lot. (Just don’t tell them I told you.)

4. Έριξα μαύρη πέτρα πίσω μου ...

What does it mean?

Έριξα is the simple past tense of ρίχνω, to throw something. Μαύρη πέτρα is the black stone. And πίσω μου means “behind me”.

"I threw a black stone behind me". It means to forget everything and anything and start from zero.

Strange? Too dramatic? It is one of those idioms we don’t really know the story behind them. Do they describe a habit or ritual of the past? Do they express a lost in the centuries meaning? Still we use it a lot, however.

Where & How to Use It

Anne left her old job.

Once burned out and intimidated by her boss, she now feels very relieved to start fresh and she loves her new job. We can say she “έριξε μαύρη πέτρα πίσω της” as she left this part of her life behind.

Although idioms are usually used in casual conversations, this idiom can be used in almost any dialogue or story since it describes a situation. Anne wouldn’t probably say this to her old boss’s face, but if she wanted to sound assertive, she could.

5. Παίρνω αέρα.

What does it mean?

Παίρνω means “I take” and αέρα means “air”. This has two meanings. It’s similar to “get some air”, for example outside. It also means someone "I take liberties".

Where & How to Use It

Πάω μία βόλτα να πάρω αέρα. (I’m going for a walk to get some air). The Greek’s favourite. When life’s overwhelming, just go outside. Have a coffee. Go by the sea. See some friends. Take some fresh air in.

However.

Not too much of it. The other meaning of the sentence is, as we saw above, “take liberties”. In this case it’s used like this: “Πολύ αέρα έχεις πάρει. Μην μου μιλάς έτσι!” (Too much air you’ve taken. Don’t talk to me like that!).

6. Μου κόπηκε το αίμα!

What does it mean?

It means “my blood was cut”. Κόπηκε is the simple past tense of κόβεται and it’s the third person in singular.

Since you're talking about yourself, use the pronoun “μου” to refer to something that happened to you. Αίμα is the neuter noun for “blood”.

No, this is not an idiom from a horror movie! In fact it means “I was terrified”. Probably I was so terrified that it felt as if my blood circulation stopped for a moment; thus this idiom.

Where & How to Use It

I gave this out already: Use it when you watch horror movies! Or when you see cockroaches in the bathroom. Because it’s kind of the same thing, right?

7. Κάτσε στ’αβγά σου.

What does it mean?

Κάτσε or κάθησε is the imperative form of the verb κάθομαι, second person of singular.

Στ’ is actually the article with the preposition σε+τα , which, after the phonetic rule, loses the vowel. This is why we say στ’αβγά instead of στα αβγά. Αβγά means eggs.

Sit on your eggs. Stay put or stay uninvolved. Don’t go looking for trouble.

Where & How to Use It

Well, let's think of a hen who’s just sitting there on her eggs, peaceful and calm, avoiding all trouble.

Use this idiom when you're warning someone to not interfere with something or you just say you want to stay out of it.

Or not! As you’ve noticed, most of the idioms today include verbs so they can be rather versatile, for example we can use the negative form: Θα τους μιλήσω. Δεν θα καθήσω στ’αβγά μου! (I’ll talk to them. I won’t just sit on my eggs!)

There you have it! 7 + 7 more very common idioms to understand and use. For the first part read and listen here.

And if you're looking for more Greek idioms and expressions, visit the amazing Omniglot website. This is more like an encyclopedia for languages from all over the world. I'm happy I contributed my bit for the Greek language here.

Which one did you like? Do you know more idioms? Let me know in the comments!

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