Idioms are expressions that are unique to a particular language. In English, there are many common idioms used to express a wide field of emotions that when translated to another language would not make much sense. Sayings like “be there or be square” or “put a cork in it” are common English idioms. Here are a few of our favorites in Arabic.
1) Maqtoo’ min shajara مقطوع من شجرة – Literal meaning: Cut from a tree. This idiom is used when speaking about someone who doesn’t have a family, as if they were literally removed from a family tree.
2) Eid wahda matsa’afsh يد واحدة ماتسقفش – Literal meaning: One hand doesn’t clap. This essentially means that if something is to work, cooperation from all parties is necessary, usually said to encourage teamwork.
3) Il-ein mate’laash ‘aal haajib العين ماتعلاش عالحاجب – Literal meaning: The eye doesn’t go higher than the brow. This idiom translates to something akin to “no one can go higher than their given status in life”.
4) Il-Haraka baraka الحركة بركة – Literal meaning: Movement is a blessing. This means that exercise is good, and is a pretty common Egyptian idiom.
5) Odrob el haddid wa howa hami اضرب الحديد وهو حامي – Literal meaning: Hit the iron while it’s hot. Actual meaning: Don’t postpone the issue; do not procrastinate.
Can you think of any others? Let us know at Editor@Barakabits.com!