Idioms and Languages

A presentation of expressions from different cultures around the world.

In this whimsical series of illustrations, the purpose is to achieve a greater understanding of different cultures, through a fascination of language. Idioms are expressions that exist within every language, but might not translate well. They provide characteristics from the country they originate from, and the familiarity of these expressions in their culture makes using them seem like a natural thing. Still, the fact that idioms are highly language specific makes them seem especially strange to foreigners when translated directly. Some languages also have idioms that sound different but have the same meaning. For example, an Italian may say “into the mouth of a wolf” where an Englishman would say “break a leg”.  This illustrative examination takes a playful approach to looking at the personal relationship between language and culture.


Nie mój cyrk, nie moje malpy.

Not my circus, not my monkeys.

Illustrated monkey with a black hat
Illustrated monkey with a red hat
Illustrated monkey with another red hat


Få blod på tann.

To get blood on the tooth.

Illustrated teeth with some blood on


A storm in a teacup.

A small boat in a cup of tea


Pagar o pato.

Pay the duck.

Illustrated duck with money in it’s mouth


Veshat' lapshu na ushi.

To hang noodles on the ears.

Illustrated ear with noodles on


Qui court deux lievres ala fois, n’en prend aucun.

Those who runs after two hares at the same time, catches none.

Two illustrated rabbits


Minu ga hana.

Not seeing is a flower.

Illustrated girl with flowers in her eyes


Päästää sammakko suusta.

To let a frog out of your mouth.

Illustrated frog in a mouth


Leben wie die Made im Speck.

To live like a maggot in bacon.

Illustrated maggots in bacon


Dar calabazas a alguien.

To give someone pumpkins.

Illustrated pumpkin and two hands


In bocca al lupo.

Into the mouth of a wolf.

Illustrated wolf with an open mouth