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15 Awesome Turkish Expressions

2nd October 2015

TURKS HAVE A SAYING FOR EVERY OCCASION. These expressions serve as bookends to each conversation, providing a handy and automatic beginning and end to every human interaction. They’re adages that serve as social glue, meaning you’ll never find a Turk who’s lost for words, even in the most unexpected circumstances.

1. Hoş geldiniz

 ”Your arrival is lovely”

Said as a greeting to visitors to make them feel at home.

2. Şeytan tüyü

“The devil’s feather”

What seems like an insult is actually a compliment used to describe someone who has a mysterious, devilish charm.

3. Taş attı da kolu mu yoruldu?

“Did he throw a stone so his arm got tired?”

Said to berate someone who’s being lazy.

4. Bir yastıkta kocasınlar

“May they grow old with one pillow”

Kind of like telling couples to never go to bed angry, this is said to newlyweds who traditionally share a single, long pillow in a marital bed.

Photo courtesy of the Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism

5. Etekleri zil çalıyor

“The bells on their hems are ringing”

I recently learned this evocative saying used to describe someone who’s very excited.

6. Pabucu dama atıldı

“His shoe has been thrown onto the roof”

Often said of a father when a new baby monopolises the mother’s attentions, or by anyone who has been passed over in favour of another.

7. Balık etli

“Fish fleshed”

Turkish men usually like women with a bit of meat on their bones, and this is a lovely compliment to curvy girls.

8. Havadan sudan

“Of the air and water”

Turks love to chat, often at length, and about nothing in particular. This is a great way of describing idle chatter — a lot like Irish craic.

9. Elini sallasa ellisi

“If he waves his hand fifty will come”

A great way to comfort a friend after a breakup, it means there are plenty more fish in the sea.

10. Ciğerimin köşesi

“The corner of my liver”

This anatomic description is actually used to describe someone who is very precious to you. You might hear it featured as a lyric in love songs.

Photo courtesy of the Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism

11. Armut piş ağzıma düş

“May the pear be cooked on the tree and fall into my mouth”

This describes a person who doesn’t like to work, to whom everything comes ready and done — or falls literally in their lap.

12. İyi ki doğdun

“It’s good that you were born”

Turkish for Happy Birthday. I think this expression is a lot more meaningful than the English version, and I even use the literal English translation on my non-Turkish friends’ birthdays.

13. Boşver

“Give empty”

Perhaps my favorite saying, Boşver means “let it go,” a la Frozen.

14. El elden üstündür

“A hand is superior to another person’s hand”

Said to show that there’s always someone who can do a better job.

15. Battı balık yan gider

“A sunken fish goes sideways”

This one’s pretty hard to parse, but it means that the worst-case scenario has already happened (the fish has sunk), so you might as well stop worrying and have some fun!


Source Matadornetwork;

Read all 30 Turkish expressions here;

Matadornetwork 30 Awesome Turkish Expressions


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