1.10.12

Finnish idioms

Here are some Finnish idioms, their literal meaning, the same in English

1. ajaa kaasu pohjassa* drive gas in the bottom* drive very fast
1. ajaa nasta laudassa* drive pin in the blank* drive very fast
1. ajaa tuhatta ja sataa* drive thousand and hundred* drive very fast
2. antaa kenkää* give shoe* lay off
3. ei ymmärtää höykäsen pöläystä* not understand (nonsensical) * not understand
3. ei ymmärtää tuon taivaallista* not understand heavenly* not understand
4. haistella ilmaa* smell air* sound out
5. heittää hanskat tiskiin* throw gloves on the desk* give up
2. heittää pellolle* throw to the field* lay off
6. hyppiä nenälle* jump onto nose* be forward
7. hävitä kuin tuhka tuuleen* disappear as ash into wind* disappear without trace
8. juosta kieli vyön alla* run lip under belt* be in a great hurry
8. juosta pää kolmantena jalkana* run as head the third leg* be in a great hurry
7. kadota kuin maan alle* disappear as under the ground* disappear without trace
9. kaivaa verta nenästään* delve blood from one´s nose* irritate
9. kerjätä turpaansa* beg for muzzle* irritate
10. polttaa hihansa* burn one`s sleeves* flare up
10. repiä pelihousunsa* rip one´s game pants* flare up
6. tallata varpaille* stamp on toes* be forward
11. temmata hatusta* pull from hat* guess
4. tunnustella maaperää* explore ground* sound out
11. vetää hihasta* pull from sleeve* guess
12. viilata linssiin* file into a lens* cheat
5. viskata kirves kaivoon* throw axe into well* give up
12. vetää nenästä* pull nose* cheat
13. ahtaa kitaansa* push one´s mouth* wolf down
13. heittää yrjöt* throw georges* throw up
14. nyrpistää nenäänsä* purse one´s nose* be supercilious
15. olla ihan puhki* be totally through* be really tired
16. olla mieli mustana* be with black mind* be sad
16. olla tuli hännän alla* be with fire under tail* be nervous or in
14. ottaa nokkiinsa* take into one´s noses* be provoked
15. saada hepuli* to get a seizure* get upset



More:

Like in every language, Finns are keen on taking references from popular culture and making idioms/phrases/whatnot out of them. And then there are the golden oldies, referring to a time and traditions long gone making it hard to deduce what it meant to begin with.
Ei mennyt ihan niinku Strömsössä – Didn’t go quite like in Strömsö = Turned out less than perfect (referring to an arts & crafts show where everything always works out perfect)
Parempi pyy pivossa kuin kymmenen oksalla – Better to have a hazel hen in your hands than ten on the branch (I think the meaning is something along the lines of better to have a little at your grasp than a lot of out reach)
Näytän sulle, mistä kana pissii - Let me show you where a chicken pees from = Let me show you how it’s done

Chicken’s pee is a constant source of inspiration
Täynnä kuin Turusen pyssy – As full as Turunen’s gun  = something is too full (apparently derived from an old legend where the infamous Turunen stuffed his gun with money and was thus unable to shoot with it)
Poronkusema - Reindeer’s piss = a measure of distance, the distance you can ride a reindeer before it needs pee. Apparently it can be up to 7.5km
Happamia sanoi kettu pihlajan marjoista – Fox said the rowan fruits were sour (apparentely from a fable where a fox couldn’t reach the fruits and thus bitterly noted that they were likely to be sour anyway, a delightful lesson in Finnish pessimism)
Johan otti ohraleipä – Well wasn’t that a barley bread = a tricky situation (barley bread being inferior to rye bread, it is really serious if you need to eat bread made of barley)

FinnishEnglishExplanation
Hidas kuin etanaAs slow as a snailVery slow.
Ovela kuin kettuAs sly as a foxUntrustworthy
Tyhmä kuin aasiAs stupid as a donkeyVery stupid
Tyhmä kuin saapasAs stupid as a bootVery stupid
Iloinen kuin peipponenAs happy as a chaffinchVery happy
Epäsiisti kuin sikaAs untidy as a pigVery dirty
Kuin nuori varsa kesälaitumellaLike a young horse in the fieldWild and happy
Kuin elefantti lasikaupassaLike an elephant in a china shopVery clumsy
Syödä kuin hevonenTo eat like a horseTo eat very much
Syödä kuin sikaTo eat like a pigTo eat very messily
Terve kuin pukkiAs healthy as a billy-goatVery healthy
Kova kuin kiviHard as a rockVery hard
Kaunis kuin kuvaPretty as a pictureVery pretty
Vapaa kuin taivaan lintuFree as the sky's birdCompletely free
Rikas kuin KroisosRich like the Greek CroisosVery rich
Nopea kuin ajatusFast as a thoughtVery fast
Nopea kuin salamaFast as lighteningVery fast
Kevyt kuin höyhenLight as a featherExtremely light
Lyhyt kuin kanan lentoShort like a chicken's flightVery short
Pitkä kuin nälkävuosiLong as a year of hungerVery long
Köyhä kuin kirkon rottaPoor as a church's ratVery poor
Sinä olet täydellinen lammasYou're a perfect lambYou're too scared
Itsepäinen kuin pässiAs stubborn as a ramExtremely stubborn
Itsepäinen kuin aasiAs stubborn as a donkeyExtremely stubborn
Kuuma kuin saunassaHot like in the saunaVery hot
Pieni kuin pippuriTiny like a pepperVery tiny
The original list was taken from Wikipedia's "List of idioms in the Finnish language".

"Ensin työ, sitten leikki."
"First work, then play."
You should first do what has to be done, and leave the fun things for later.

"Terve sielu terveessä ruumiissa."
"A healthy soul in a healthy body."
Only by keeping your body healthy you can stay happy as well.

"Lyödä kaksi kärpästä yhdellä iskulla."
"Hit two flies with one hit."
To do two things with the effort of only one.

"Viina on viisasten juoma."
"Strong alcohol is the smart one's drink."
Only wise people should drink alcohol, because they know when to stop.

"Minkä nuorena oppii, sen vanhana taitaa."
"What is learned as a child, is mastered as an old person."
Learning things when you're young is a very good idea.

"Haukkuva koira ei pure."
"The barking dog doesn't bite."
The people who seem the most dangerous in their words are usually the most harmless.

"Älä lyö lyötyä.
"Do hit a man when he's down."
Play fair.

"Kysyvä ei tieltä eksy."
"The one who asks doesn't get lost from his road." There's no shame in asking.

"Ei savua ilman tulta."
"No smoke without fire."
There's always something true about rumours.
'
"Älä osta sikaa säkissä."
"Don't buy a pig in a bag."
Always make sure you know what exactly you are buying.

"Kertaus on opintojen äiti."
"Repetition is learned things' mother."
You learn by repeating things several times.

"Ruokahalu kasvaa syödessä."
"The will to eat grows by eating."
Said to children when they don't want to eat.

"Ottaa härkää sarvista."
"Take the bull by it's horns."
To tackle something even if it's difficult.

"Nostaa kissa pöydälle."
"To lift the cat onto the table."
To start talking about a difficult subject.

"Susi lampaiden vaatteissa."
"A fox in lambs' clothes."
He might seem harmless, but he's hiding something.

"Matkustaa jäniksenä."
"To travel as a rabit."
To travel without paying the fare.

"Penni ajatuksista"
"A penny for your thoughts."
Tell me what's on your mind.

"Pitää mykkäkoulua."
"To give somebody the silent treatment."
To not talk to somebody.

"Älä herätä nukkuvaa karhua."
"Don't wake a sleeping bear."

"Heittää legendaa."
"To throw legends."
To tell a lot of lies.

"Minulla on matti kukkarossa."
"I am in serious money trouble."

"Aukoa päätään."
"To open one's head."
To speak provocatively to someone.

"En minä voi siksi muuttua."
"I can't change into that."
A statement that a desired object simply isn't available, no matter how much someone keeps asking for it. The word "siksi" (into that) is substituted with the object in question, in translative "-ksi".

"Ei haukku haavaa tee, jos ei koira purra saa."
"A bark leaves no marks if you don't let the dog bite."

"Ei ole koiraa karvoihin katsominen."
"Judge not the dog by its hair."
"Don't judge a book by its cover."

"Ei kukaan ole seppä syntyessään."
"No one is a blacksmith when they are born."
No one can be an expected to be an expert at something before they have got the chance to practice it.

"Ei olla jäniksen selässä."
"Not to be on the back of a rabbit."
Not to be in an immediate hurry.

"Ei se työtä kun uskaltaa vaikka työn ääreen makaamaan."
"Work doesn't scare him, but he could lay down near it and sleep."

"Ei sylje lasiin."
"Not to spit into the glass."
Not to abstain from alcohol (always used with a negative).

"Ei (tule) lasta eikä paskaa."
"Neither baby, nor shit comes."
To describe an unsuccessful, painful effort.

"Elää kuin pellossa."
"To live as if in a field."
To live without cleaning up after oneself, or bothering about what others think about one.

"Halukas auttaja tulee käskemättä."
"A willing helper comes without asking."

"Happamia, sanoi kettu pihlajanmarjoista."
"Sour said the fox about rowan berries."
Said to someone who says negative things about something he is unable to have, but he probably deep down would like to have.

"Heittämällä"
"By throwing it."
With little or no effort required.

"Heittää veivinsä."
"To throw one's crankshaft"
To die.

"Heittää lusikka nurkkaan."
"To throw the spoon in the corner."
To die.

"Helppoa kuin heinänteko."
"Easy as making hay."
Extremely easy.

"Hyvä sopu sijaa tekee."
"Harmony creates accommodation."

"Joko teet tai itket ja teet."
"Either you'll do it or you'll cry and do it."
A direct order to do something, whether the addressed wants to do it or not. The word "teet" (do it) can be substituted with whatever verb is necessary from context.

"Jumalan selän takana."
"Behind God's back."
In an uninteresting place, or in a place where no one else usually comes. Sometimes implies a disrespect of rural communities.

"Kahden kauppa on kolmannen korvapuusti."
"A good deal for two, is a clip on the ears of a third."
In a trade someone always loses.

"Kasvaa se mies räkänokistakin, vaan ei tyhjän naurajista."
"A snotnose may grow up to be a man; but he who laughs without cause, never."
The mocked may grow up to dignity, but the mocker will never outgrow his juvenile behaviour.

"Katoaa kuin pieru Saharaan."
"Disappears like a fart into Sahara."
Disappears without trace.

"Ken kuuseen kurkottaa, se katajaan kapsahtaa."
"Who reaches for the spruce, falls down onto the juniper."
If you reach for something that is far too good for you, it is not going to end well.

"Kenen leipää syöt, sen lauluja laulat."
"Whose bread you eat, his songs you'll sing."
He who pays the piper calls the tune.

"Kestää ikä ja terveys."
"To take the time of one's age and health."
To take a far too long time, or be of far too much effort.

"Kiertää kuin kissa kuumaa puuroa."
"To circle like a cat circles hot porridge."
To constantly and obviously covet something without actually making a move to get it, or to try to approach a difficult topic of speech in a roundabout way.

"Kiinnostaa kuin kilo paskaa."
"Interests (me) as much as a kilogram of shit."
Doesn't interest at all (or annoyes you).

"Koira haudattuna."
"A dog buried here."
An implication that there's something foul behind the scenes, the situation is not what it appears to be.

"Korvessa."
"In the backwoods."
A place that is somewhere in a area with no interesting things surrounding it.

"Kuin allit kalliolla."
"Like ducks (exactly: a particular species that leaves last in the autumn) on a cliff."
Left by oneself, without outside support.

"Kuin Euroopan omistaja."
"Like someone who owns Europe."
Acting excessively posh and snobby. Usually an implication of misplacen superiority towards others.

"Kuin kaksi marjaa."
"Like two berries."
Two people or things that seem extremely alike.

"Kuin perseeseen ammuttu karhu."
Like a bear which has been shot in the ass."
Being extremely cranky.

"Kuin seipään niellyt."
"As if swallowed a spear."
Standing unnaturally or needlessly upright.

"Kuin tervan juontia."
"Like drinking tar."
Extremely slow, difficult, or ardurous.

"Kuin tuhka tuuleen."
"Like ash in the wind."
Disappeared without trace.

"Kuin viilipytty."
"Like a pot of sour milk."
Very calm.

"Kylmä kahvi kaunistaa."
"Cold coffee makes (you) beautiful."

"Köyhällä ei ole varaa halpaan."
"The poor can't afford to buy cheap."

"Mikä tietoa lisää, se tuskaa lisää."
"What adds to knowledge, adds to pain."
Ignorance is bliss.

"Moni kakku päältä kaunis, vaan on silkkoa sisältä."
"Many cakes are beautiful on the surface, but have crappy fillings."

"Laita lapsi asialle, mene itse perästä."
"Send a child to do your errands, go do them yourself afterwards."
You can't trust that a job will be done properly unless you do it yourself.
Used to reprimand someone who has failed in something, usually not a child.

"Niin makaa, kuin petaa."
"One sleeps like one makes his bed."
Actions have consequences.

"Ojasta allikkoon."
From the ditch to the water jump.

"Olla hukassa."
"Be in a wolf."
Being lost, missing, in despair, perished.

"Oma koti kullan kallis."
Own home is worth gold.

"Oma lehmä ojassa."
"With one's own cow in the ditch."
Having a personal interest or investment in the matter.

"Oma maa mansikka; muu maa mustikka."
"Other land blueberry; own land strawberry."
Foreign places are nice enough, but home is sweeter.

"Parempi pyy pivossa, kuin kymmenen oksalla."
"Better one hazel grouse in the bag, than ten on the branch."
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

"Pata kattilaa soimaa."
"The pot reproaching the kettle."
The pot calling the kettle black.

"Peukalo keskellä kämmentä."
"With one's thumb in the middle of one's palm."
Very bad at doing something, usually manual labour.

"Potkaista tyhjää."
"To kick empty space."
To die.

"Puhtaus on puoli ruokaa."
"Cleanliness is half a meal."
Keeping yourself and your food clean, you'll get more from it. Cleanliness is next to godliness.

"Päästää sammakko suustaan."
"To let a frog out from oneself's mouth."
Blunder, to accidentally say something that shouldn't be said

"Ruista ranteessa."
"Rye in one's wrist."
Physically strong.

"Sataa kuin saavista kaataen."
"It's pouring like from a big bucket."

"Sattuu sitä paremmissakin perheissä."
"Happens in better families too."
Such things happen even to better folk.

"Se koira älähtää, johon kalikka kalahtaa."
"That dog yelps, which (the) stick hits."
It is the dog which is hit by the tossed stick, which yelps.
Said to/about someone who makes a big do about a statement which is thus considered to be apposite.

"Sokerina pohjalla."
"As the sugar at the bottom."
As a final bonus, benefit or gift

"Toimii kuin junan vessa."
"Works like the train toilet."

"Tulla kuin havumajaan."
"To come as if coming into a hut made of tree needles."
To enter a house easily, often against the wishes of the house's owner

"Tumput suorina."
"With one's gloves straight."
Not doing anything, with an implication that one should be doing something.

"Ulkona kuin lumiukko."
"Out like a snowman."
Not to know anything about a given thing and thus be stunned, or to say things that are not relevant to the thing.

"Vesi vanhin voitehista."
"Water is the oldest medicine."

"Vetää jojoon."
"To put in a yo-yo."
To execute by hanging. Almost always used of suicide.

"Vuonna miekka ja kypärä/kivi."
"In the year of sword and helmet/stone."
Very long time ago.

"Yksi tyhmä kysyy enemmän, kuin kymmenen viisasta ehtii vastata."
One stupid person asks more than ten wise ones can spare time answering.

"Älä maalaa pirua seinälle."
"Don't paint the devil [on the] wall. (can also be translated as a demon)"
Don't paint the image of a demon on a wall. A basic admonishment to not agonize unduly about worst case scenarios; they may not happen. Alternatively an expression of a superstititious fear of something uttered coming true (cf. "jinx"; "knock on wood" or "tempting fate").

"Äänellänsä se variskin laulaa."
"Even the crow sings with its own voice."
Express yourself earnestly, and you have no reason for shame even if you lack talent.

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:Finnish_idioms

Bab.la Phrases

Wiktionary declares a lot of Finnish idioms.

A list of some idioms, Finnish-English and the meaning.

Here are a lot of Finnish idioms collected in the net. Only a few of them are declared.

Here are just some ordinary Finnish-English  -phrases:
Here is my larger listing, if you use OTT, you are able to understand, maybe.

How to rehearse yourself: You don´t need to take a piece of paper and cover the part of the monitor, just open a stickies-type of program, I recommend Dema Virtual Notes, which is also useful in making notes with images, just drag images from the Google image search. Choose the option, always on top, aina päällimmäisenä. You can form and move the note with the mouse and cover some of the words.

By the way, when I write this and don´t remember a word in English, I just write it in Finnish in the Blogger editor and double-click it, the OTT-dictionary tells the word in English - and vice versa if you write in Finnish and know English better. Give a try, please.

Idiomien löytäminen englanniksi

I have listed some Finnish sentences from the project Tatoeba. You can find translations by selecting them and googling context.

Uuno, englanninkielinen oppimateriaali suomesta

J. Korpelan materiaali suomesta englanniksi

Kimberli Mäkäräinen, englanniksi suomen kieliopista

Quizlet, Finnish

Load the Chrome add-on and click the Finnish words and you get all the explanations in English.

Use word lists, use the Google Dictionary and context searches, Chrome word synthesis as Chrome Speach, Select and Speak... to get the pronounciation, google for images...

Quite a large wordlist, food words in English, Finnish and Swedish

My Best Helsinki

Facts about Finland

English word lists for spelling bee and dictation

Finnish proverbs, wikiquote, suomeksi ja englanniksi

Englannin idiomeja suomeksi, wikipedia

Muita englannin sanontoja, wikipedia

Eri kielten sanontoja suomeksi, wikipedian luokka

Täällä on englanninkielinen suomen oppimateriaali, Uusi kielemme

Englanninkielinen wikikirja Suomen kieli käyttöön

Finnish words, englanninkielisiä sanoja suomeksi

Basic Finnish idioms ja muuta

25 Finnish idiom games

Helsingin Sanomat, muutama sanonta äännettynä

Suositeltava englannin opiskelusivu on ESL. Tuossa on englanti-suomi, mutta sivusto on valtavan laaja.

Collections of Finnish phrases (some with audio)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/other/quickfix/finnish.shtml

Kielivisoja englanti-suomi

http://linguanaut.com/english_finnish.htm

7 kommenttia:

Maikki kirjoitti...

These idioms can be quite fun. And I think even more fun for a non-native Finnish speaker who has recently started studying Finnish.

Some of the sayings of course are more suitable for a person, who has already some years of experience behinde him/her in speaking and learning Finnish language and Finnish culture in general.

I got some ideas about these idioms. I would like to add, if you don't mind. Or the blog author then decides, wheter or not they would concern this subject on what so ever. :) I will put my suggestions into another message.

And I am a Finnish native speaker, who just likes writing and "playing" with our beautiful (AND complicated) language here in Finland...

Maikki kirjoitti...

3. Also according to some accents or dialects, this idiom could be "ei ymmärtää/ ei ymmärrä hölkäsen pöläystä." In East-Finland maybe "hölkkäsen pöllääystä", I could guess?

6. The same as *jump onto nose* are these, especially among young people: "käydä keulii", or "keulia" as a verb. Good luck for translating, I can't say..! (=too difficult to translate but has something to do with boats, this "keula" the word basis of "keulia")

7. Similar to "hävitä kuin tuhka tuuleen" = "hävitä taivaan tuuliin" *to disappear, to get lost (properly, like anyone hasn't seen him/her/an object)

10."polttaa käämit" is also when you get really angry. Also you hear a lot this verb "suivaantua" but it may not be an idiom, I don't know...

11. "Vetää hihasta" I have also heard it in that kind of context, that *to advice* *you can -vetää hihasta- to someone in order to ask help/advice*

Maybe more a bit later. These are really helpful, because usually you don't find these so easily in dictionaries. A good list in deed, for those who study Finnish! :)

maalainen kirjoitti...

Thank you for these idioms. This is an eclectic blog; I steal and borrow from everywhere.
JM

Maikki kirjoitti...

Ok, I am happy to help you. Now the rest of the suggestions/ ideas:

12. One way to describe cheating or to lie, to tell untruths is "kusettaa" *to piss you*, or everything can be "kusetusta" "Sinua on kusetettu" *You have been cheated about this* Especially by young people.

13. "heittää laattaa/ heittää laatan" is *to throw up*, *hurl*, I don't find words to translate it now, but the blog author will surely know. :)

14. "katsoa pitkin nenänvartta", *to judge others*, look along one´s nose (maybe not the best translation, but I give it a try...)
14. Also "nirppanokka" you hear a lot. It is a person who is *selective* *picky*
14. "kulkea nokka pystyssä" *to be too proud of oneself*

Other ideas to number 14, I think:

14. "vetää herneet nenään / vetää herne nenään / olla herne nenässä" *to become angry, to be pissed off*, means -to pull some peas into one's nose or nostril-

14. "vetää porot sieraimiinsa / olla porot sieraimissa" Same as above *to become angry* means -to pull some coffee grounds into one's nose or nostril- BUT also the word "poro" means *a reindeer*, so if a BIG matter to be angry, I guess you could think of it like -*pull some reindeers into one's nose or nostrils*- :)

15. "olla ihan finaalissa/ olla aivan finaalissa" is
*to be really tired*, means -*to be in finals* or *to take the last round*

15. "olla rättiväsynyt" *to be really tired*, to be tires as a rag.

15. "nukahtaa pian pystyyn" *to be really tired* means to be so tired that one could soon sleep while standing.

maalainen kirjoitti...

Heittää laattaa is totally unknown for me, generation question, I guess.
Olla ihan finaalissa quite strange,
vetää porot sieraimiinsa also strange.

Maikki kirjoitti...

Ok, maybe something between ages, how different Finnish language can be, or something to do with different regions in Finland. I have my influences into my dialect mostly Jyväskylä (in Keski-Suomi, Cebtral parts of Finland)- Tampere (Häme in general), maybe Pohjanmaa now in adult age a little, but not so much compared to those two others.

But young people say the "heittää laattaa" very often. Also "porot sieraimiins" is usual among young folks, and yes, let's say under 35 years old, maybe could use the "olla finaalissa".

Or are these just in Southern Finland and big cities, in Helsinki I've heard too. I am just trying to help, now that I use obviously that much different language than in your region... My will is good :) Have a nice day! "päivänjatkoja" kuten meillä päin sanotaan.

maalainen kirjoitti...

I mean they are good idioms, thank you!