Polish idioms – part 2
Idioms are a very nice way of enriching your conversations and impressing native speakers. In this article, we’ll give you other examples of the idioms you should know. We’re also teach about the legends behind two of them!
Polish idioms: To earn like a Zabłocki on the soap
During our Polish language course in Wroclaw, we often teach our students Polish history. So – here’s the story. Cyprian Zabłocki was a Polish nobleman living in the 19th century. He was a very ambitious individual who wanted to get VERY rich. But instead – he became famous and earned his place in the history and among Polish idioms.
He had a clever plan to cheat the Prussian customs officers to avoid paying the duty. He told them he would float his soap down the river Vistula. Then it was supposed to be sailed from Gdansk port. But when the cargo approached the Prussian border… Zabłocki threw it into the river so the officer didn’t notice it.
They didn’t, but despite that, Zablocki wasn’t happy ☹ Chests in which his soap was transported weren’t tight and his precious cargo dissolved! Our creative businessman lost all his money.
Polish idioms: Black horse (Czarny koń)
Some horses are black. Others are white, brown, and so on. However, Polish people may sometimes call you “a black horse of something”. OK – you may be black, but there’s no way you’re a horse! So what do the Polish people actually mean?
The legend has it that the supporters always bet on the white horses. They were winning the races, so it was a nice way of making some additional money. However, one day a black horse suddenly won! And this is what it means. In Polish idioms, a black horse is someone who wins or achieves something impressive despite everyone expecting someone else to win.
Polish people have a lot of legends since our culture is more than 1,000 years old. During our Polish language course in Wrocław, we’ll gladly help you learn them. Our mission is to teach Polish culture and traditions.
Polish idioms: Dog’s money (Psie pieniądze)
Dogs don’t have any money. Well, maybe those who are famous on Instagram have a lot of it. However – by calling a sum “a dog’s money” Polish say that it is very small and inadequate compensation for their work.
Polish idioms: To let a peacock out (Puścić paws)
It’s less than unlikely that you own this bird. You can’t let it out. Well, maybe if you’re its handler in the zoo. But let’s assume neither you nor your interlocutor are. So – what do the Polish people mean by this?
In Polish idioms “puścić pawia” is a fancy way to say that someone vomited. No one knows why this beautiful bird has been chosen to describe such an ugly act.
Polish idioms: Like the nosebleed (jak krew z nosa)
Nosebleeds are a rather unpleasant experience. They’re annoying, and frustrating and take a looooong time before they finally stop. That’s why one of the Polish idioms refers to them! If a Polish person says something is going like the nosebleed, they mean that it is going very slowly and is very annoying because of that.
Polish idioms: Like the blood in the sand (jak krew w pitch)
Another bloody idiom! If you bleed into the sand, the stain will vanish quickly. Of course, Poland isn’t a desert country, so you’ll not find much sand here. However – it’s an idiom, so its meaning is not literal!
When Polish people use those words they mean that something has been irreversibly lost. In the previous article about idioms we learned a “It’s after the birds” (Już po ptakach) idiom, which is very close in meaning.
How are the idioms created?
Idioms are something commonly used. The Polish language has many dialects and local idioms, but let’s not digress. Linguists often try to trace the idiom’s origins. Some, like the one about poor Mr. Zablocki, date back to the very exact dates and events.
Some are harder to trace, as they’re borrowed from other languages. In that case, one thing is to find out when it became a part of the Polish language. And the other thing is to learn how was it created in its original language.
It’s easy to locate the idioms that originated in the literature, newspapers, and any other written means of communication. But it’s very hard (and often just impossible) to discover those idioms that originated from verbal conversations.
Many of the teachers in our Polish language course in Wroclaw are graduate philologists. They’ll gladly answer all idioms-related questions for you. And may teach you some less-known Polish idioms.
This was our second article about idioms. We showed you a few examples and tried to discuss how some of them became idioms. Shortly, we’ll teach you the Polish proverbs. You can expect another portion of the Polish idioms in the future. But let’s end this article with the proverb – “Co za dużo, to niezdrowo” (What’s too much – is unhealthy).
Our Polish language school in Wroclaw
We’re a new Polish language school in Wroclaw. We’re launching our very first semester of the group classes on 9th October 2023. But you can enroll in our individual Polish language course in Wroclaw right now. Just e-mail us at: email@example.com to contact the person responsible for student admissions.
We offer you a unique, conversation-focused curriculum and outside-of-class events including:
- Cooking Polish meals,
- Trips to places important to Polish history,
- Participating in Polish traditions.
We’re waiting for you to contact us and begin your journey towards your Polish Dream!