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Turkish Vocabulary – Idiomatic expressions

Hi Turkish learners! 😊
In this lesson, you will learn some fun and interesting Turkish idiomatic expressions that you can use in everyday conversations. Idioms are phrases that convey a meaning different from the literal translation of the words used in the phrase. While idioms can be difficult to master, they make language learning more enjoyable and culturally enlightening.

To navigate easily through this lesson, use the table of contents below.

Consider exploring these related pages after completing this lesson: Love & Cardinal Numbers.

Animals[edit | edit source]

Turkish people use a lot of idioms related to animals. These idioms are not only fun but also useful to express your emotions, feelings or situations.

Example[edit | edit source]

  • Person 1: Adımı duymuş muydun? ("Have you heard my name?")
  • Person 2: Evet, Adın horozmuş gibi dolanıyormuş etrafta. ("Yes, your name is wandering like a rooster around here" meaning you are quite well-known)

Here are some more animal idiomatic expressions in Turkish:

Turkish Pronunciation English
Atıştırmalık vermek ɑ.tɯʃ.tɯɾ.mɑ.lɯk vɛɾ.mɛk to give something as an appetizer, to go behind the flowers
Keçileri kaçırmak ke.tʃi.le.ɾi kɑ.tʃɯɾ.mɑk to be too shy to take action
Domuz gibi yemek yemek do.muʒ je.mek je.mek to eat like a pig
Kedi gibi sessiz olmak ke.di sɛs.siz ol.mɑk to be as silent as a cat, to keep quiet
Tilki gibi davranmak dav.ɾɑn.mɑk to act like a fox, be sly or cunning

Body Parts[edit | edit source]

Another common theme for idiomatic expressions is body parts. Here are some examples:

Example[edit | edit source]

  • Person 1: Bugün arabayı getir dinleniyorum. ("Today I will bring the car, I am taking a break.")
  • Person 2: Ayaklarının üstüne mi geleceksin? ("Will you come walking on your feet?" meaning you will come by walking)

You can see the words used to create idioms are very different from their literal meaning. Here are some more examples featuring body parts in Turkish:

Turkish Pronunciation English
Burnu havada olmak buɾ.nu hɑ.vɑ.dɑ o.lmɑk to be snobbish
El yordamıyla bulmak ɛl joɾ.dɑ.mɯ.jlɑ bul.mɑk to find something with the help of someone or something else
Göz açıp kapayıncaya kadar göz ɑ.tʃɯp kɑ.pɑ.jɯn.dʒɑ kɑ.dɑɾ very quickly, in a blink of an eye
Kulakları çınlamak ku.lɑk.lɑɾɯ tʃɯn.lɑ.mɑk to have your ears burning, when someone is talking about you when you are not around

Food[edit | edit source]

Turkish people also love to use idioms related to food. These idioms are as delicious as the food itself. Let's see some of them:

Example[edit | edit source]

  • Person 1: Sana bir sürprizim var. ("I have a surprise for you.")
  • Person 2: Ama sen sürprize açık ol! ("But you must be open to surprises," meaning anticipate the unexpected)

Here are some more idiomatic expressions to make you hunger for more:

Turkish Pronunciation English
Yoğurdu üzüme bağlamak jo.ɾdu.du y.zy.mɛ bɑ.ɫɑ.mɑk to make an easy situation difficult, to overcomplicate things
Kafayı yemek kɑ.fɑ.jɯ je.mek to lose your mind, to go crazy
Tuzluğa dokunmakɑ do.kun.mɑk to touch the saltshaker, to get fired
İşin içinden sıyrılmak i.ʃin i.t͡ʃin den sɯj.ɾɯɫ.mɑk to find a way to get out of a difficult situation
Canı sıkılmak d͡ʒɑ.nɯ sɯ.cɯɫ.mɑk to get bored, to be fed up

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

That was just a little taste of Turkish idiomatic expressions. As you can see, these expressions can be fun and cultural. Now, it's time to practice so you can use these idioms in speaking and writing. Don't forget to use the hyperlinks to access more vocabulary resources and connect with Turkish speakers.

➡ If you have any questions, please ask them in the comments section below.
➡ Feel free to edit this wiki page if you think it can be improved. 😎

Great work on completing this lesson! Take a moment to investigate these connected pages: Astronomy & Makeup.

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