What is an idiom? An idiom is a figurative expression that has an associative or connotative meaning. They do not usually translate well between languages. For example, “a piece of cake” means something is easy to do. Idioms can not be taken literally or understood with just a dictionary-like translation.

Japan

  • Not speaking is a flower – the Japanese equivalent of “silence is golden.”
  • Hell ear – the ability to catch talk to one’s own benefit.
  • A bucket shop profits when the wind blows – This is like the saying “when a butterfly flaps its wings…”
  • Wear a cat – acting cool and hiding your real personality. Something like “wearing a poker face.”
  • Putting water on hot stones – Your effort is too small to affect anything. Too little, too late.

Egypt

  • Hurt their head – to annoy someone. Pain in the neck.
  • Who only come by the evil eye – someone who only does things the hard way.
  • Who has a buzz/hum – someone who is crazy.
  • He fell from my eye – I lost my respect for him.
  • Like Jasmine – perfect.
  • Like the moon – beautiful.
  • His ropes are long – he takes a long time to get anything done.

China

  • Draw legs on a snake – to overdo something.
  • Dream of golden millet – pipe dream.
  • A frog in a well – an ignorant person or someone with limited experience.
  • Fish that escaped the net – lucky survivor or homeless exile.
  • Wind and rain through the town – a scandal or the talk of the town.
  • Cutting one’s stomach to hide a pearl – die in pursuit of gain. I’m assuming it’s something like “cutting off the nose to spite the face.”

Australia

  • As flash as a rat with a gold tooth – someone who is very pleased with himself. The cat that ate the canary.
  • Fair dinkum – anything that is real or genuine.
  • Done up like a dish of fish – dressed in best clothes. Dressed to the nines.
  • Glad rags – party clothes.
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