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Around the world in idioms: weird, wonderful and wacky expressions from languages across the globe

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The English language has been using idioms for donkey's years, with enough zany sayings to cobble dogs with - even if some are a little hairy at the heels.

But if you thought our expressions were the cat's pyjamas, you'll love this selection of delightful and evocative colloquialisms put together by online travel retailer Hotel Club

Taken from languages around the world, they range from the inspired to the ridiculous. A surprising number reference animals (wolves, hares and cats all put in an appearance) and still more are brilliantly redolent of particular thoughts or images.

Our favourite? "To let a frog out of your mouth", which is a very apt Finnish idiom for saying the wrong thing. We also love "not my circus, not my monkey" which is a Polish saying, meaning not my problem.

Find out more in the gallery and rejoice in the unanimous joy that is language play. 

  • Italian

    Into the mouth of the wolf! 

    meaning

    Good luck!

  • Polish

    Not my circus, not my monkeys

    meaning

    Not my problem

  • Finnish

    To let a frog out of your mouth

    meaning

    To say the wrong thing

  • Portuguese

    To feed the donkey sponge cake

    meaning

    To give good treatment to someone who doesn't deserve it

  • Danish

    To have a stick in your ear

    meaning

    To not listen to someone

  • Japanese

    To have a wide face

    meaning

    To have many friends

  • French

    To have the midday demon

    meaning

    To have a midlife crisis

  • German

    A cat's jump

    meaning

    A short distance away

  • Spanish

    To give somebody pumpkins

    meaning

    To reject someone

  • Russian

    To ride like a hare

    meaning

    To travel without a ticket

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