The Best Slang from Around the World

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One of the best parts of travel is immersing yourself in a new culture, including its language. And one of the best parts of that? The unique colloquialisms you’ll find in just about every corner of the globe. We’ve pulled together a few of our favorites, based entirely on translational quirk and phonetic appeal.

australia dead horse

new zealand middle of nowhere

AUSTRALIA


Fair dinkum (fay-eh ding-kum)
Meaning: genuine, real
“That’s a fair dinkum Aussie adjective!”
Dead horse
Meaning: tomato sauce
“Pass the dead horse, please.”

NEW ZEALAND


Wop-wops (wahp-wahps)
Meaning: the middle of nowhere
“We’re so far out in the wop-wops that we don’t even have reception.”

bahamas_toe

norweigan_sausage

THE BAHAMAS


Join the stiff-toe gang
Meaning: to die
“The customs line was so long I nearly joined the stiff-toe gang!”

NORWEGIAN


Et rosin i pølsen
 (it row-seen ee pöhl-sin)
Literally: A raisin in the sausage
Meaning: a nice surprise in something that’s already good
“The fact that the airline threw in extra miles was just a raisin in the sausage!”

france_tooth

FRENCH


Avoir les dents longues (ah-vwahr lays dons long-uh)
Literally: To have long teeth
Meaning: ambitious
“The CEO is pleasant enough, but definitely a bit long in the tooth.”

Pedaler dans la choucroute (peh-dah-ley dahn lah shoo-kroot-uh)
Literally: To pedal in the saurkraut

Meaning: to go nowhere
“She’s nice, but talking to her is like pedaling in the sauerkraut.”

yiddish_kettle

spanish_head

YIDDISH


Hak mir nisht keyn tschaynik (hahk meer nish kin chai-nic)
Literally: Don’t chop my teakettle!
Meaning: “Stop annoying me!”
“I already asked you to stop once—now don’t chop my teakettle!”

SPANISH


Me estoy comiendo el coco (meh stoy cöm-yen-do ehl coh-coh)
Literally: I’m eating the head.
Meaning: I’m trying to think
“That’s a tough question…hm. I’m eating the head.”

mongolian_mustache

italian_prosciutto

MONGOLIAN


Burkhan orshoo butin chinee sakhal urga (burr-cahn oor-shu boo-tan chin-ee sah-kahl oor-gah)
Literally: God bless you and may your mustache grow like brushwood
Meaning: Polite response to a sneeze

ITALIAN


Avere gli occhi foderati di prosciutto (ah-vair-ay glee oh-kee foh-der-ah-tee  dee pru-zhut-oh)
Literally: To have eyes lined with ham
Meaning: unable to see what’s in front of you
“I tried to explain, but his eyes are lined with ham.”