Warm fish, buried dogs and pearls for pigs – Swedish idioms part 1

In the Swedish language we have many idioms that can be quite comical and confusing if translated literally into another language. These idioms have a figurative meaning, and therefore has a different opinion than you might first think. This is the reason that idioms are difficult to understand for those who are new to the language. Here are some idioms that has a very different meaning when translated literally instead of figuratively.

“Kasta pärlor åt svin”: literally means “to throw pearls at pigs” but the meaning behind the idiom is that it is not worth giving something to those who do not understand the value of it.

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“Smaken är som baken – delad”: this idiom can be a very confusing when translated literally: “the taste is like the butt – split”. However the actual meaning is that everyone has different preferences.

“Ha sålt smöret och tappat pengarna”: “having sold the butter and lost the money”, and the expression mean that someone looking very unhappy, although they do not seem to have any good reason for it.

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“Få sina fiskar varma”: an old expression, which literally translates to “get their fish warm”. It meant to get a proper scolding or being beaten.

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“Dra dit pepparn växer”: this do you say to someone you’re angry or upset with them, and it pretty much means “go to hell”. However, when translated literally it means “go to where the pepper is growing”, which is not as threatening some might say…

“Det ligger en hund begraven”: the meaning behind this is that someone is not telling the whole truth, that there is more information to be given. Translated directly, however, it is “there is a dog buried here”.

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