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In Turkey - Türkiye'de

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The Plain English Meanings of
Turkish Idioms

In Turkey - Türkiye'de

Tüm kitap fırsatları için tıklayın !

Related Pages:
  • The Turkish Idioms A-Z, Index
  • Turkish Acronyms/Abbreviations
  • The Idiomatic M-Doublets
  • Idioms Origin Stories, Index
  • We know you've seen reference books written for
    English speakers about English and American Idioms.
    And you may have seen books for Turkish speakers on the same subject.
    You may even have seen books for
    Turkish speakers about Turkish Idioms -- all in Turkish.
    But have you ever seen
    a reference for English speakers about Turkish Idioms?
    Well, when we couldn't find one after looking for seven years,
    we decided to do-it-ourselves.
    Observe our sampling just for Turkish idioms that begin
    with the letter


    color  bar

    Turkish Idioms beginning with the letter B

    The Turkish

    The Literal English Meaning

    The 'Plain' English Meaning

    Comments and Examples


    baba adam

    father man

    old, mature, good hearted, pleasant appearance

    Çetin Bey baba adamdır; elinden geldiğince herkese iyilik eder, yardımını esirgemez. Çetin Bey is a fine old fella, when it's within his power he'll do you a favor, he never withholds his help.

    baba ocağı

    father hearth

    • home
    • family home
    • home place

    Baba ocağını bırakıp gitsen iyi olur. You had better leave and go from your home.

    babasının oğlu

    (he is his) father's son


    Her hali babası gibi. Elbette, babasının oğlu. He is like his father in every situation. Of course, he's his father's son.

    bacak kadar

    as much as a leg

    • tiny, small child, very short person
    • a woman sitting revealingly with crossed legs
    O bacak kadar çocuk kamyonu sürüyor! That tiny kid drives a truck!

    babasının oğlu

    father's son


    Her hali babası gibi. Elbette, babasının oğlu.

    He is like his father in every situation. Of course, he's his father's son.

    bacak kadar

    as much as a leg

    • tiny, small child, very short person
    • a woman sitting revealingly with crossed legs
    O bacak kadar çocuk kamyonu sürüyor! That tiny kid drives a truck!
    bahar havası palavra spring air palaveroverly-optimistic palaver intended to mislead or deceiveGiyim Sanayicileri Derneği Başkan Umut Oran, 'İktidarın bahar havası palavra' dedi. The Clothing Industries Association's President Umut Oran said that what Government officials are saying is "empty talk intended to mislead" (the public). Gözcü Gazetesi, 11 July 2003
    Bakalım, çingene götü ellemiş misin?
    This slightly off-color idiom is only used for very specific occasions, but it's a good one nonetheless.
    Let's see...do you touch a gypsy's ass?Let's see...are you any good at lighting up a fire? May be used as shown -- said just before someone tries to light up a fire, say, in a fireplace.

    Baki kalan kubbede hoş bir seda imiş.

    (On CD)

    "It is said that... the thing that survives is a pleasant sound in the dome."

    It's better to be remembered by the good words you've spoken, than the bad...

    May be used as is -- in a situation where someone has just uttered an angry or hateful oath...

    Click following for:
    The Rest of the Idiom Story!
    baklayı ağzından çıkarmak
    Also see
    ağzından baklayı çıkarmak.

    to remove the broad bean from the mouth

    • to lose patience and start saying things that one previously kept to oneself
    • to be taken unawares and to say quickly what one had intended to keep secret
    • to "let the cat out of the bag"
    • to "spill the beans"
    • to "come clean"
  • Alman liderler baklayı ağızlarından çıkardı: "Dürüst olalım, sizi tam üye yapamayız." German leaders let the cat out of the bag: "Let's be honest, we're not going to make you [i.e. Turkey] a full [European Union] member." Gözcü Gazetesi, 11 September 2003
  • Bırak muamma konuşmayı. Çıkar ağzından baklayı. Bahtımız aydınlanıversin. C.S Tarancı108 Quit beating around the bush. Spill the beans. Tell us about our good fortune quickly. (Note that in the 'imperative' form of this idiom, the verb çıkar moves to the front of the expression.)
  • Israrla sorunca baklayı ağızından çıkardı; gerçeği öğrendik. Under intense questioning, he finally came clean, so we learned the truth.
  • bal gibi
    Also see pek ala.

    like honey

    • like honey, very sweet
    • very well, without a hitch, smoothly, easily
    Bu, bal gibi goldü, hakem saymadı. It was easily a goal, but the referee didn't count it.

    bal mumu yapıştırmak

    to stick beeswax

    • to mark so you won't forget
    • to notice and remember
    Unutmamak için balmumu yapıştırdım. I didn't want to forget so I stuck some beeswax on it.

    balık ağaca/kavağa çıkınca

    when fish climb [poplar] trees

    • It's impossible for the thing in question to happen.
    • Similar to the Americanism, When pigs fly!
    Balık kavağa çıkarsa onun da dedikleri olur. What he says will never happen (unless fish climb poplar trees).

    Click following for:
    The Rest of the Idiom Story!

    An illustrative cartoon of the idiom (above)...
    Click to view image enlargement...

    Editor's background note:
    The cartoon must be viewed in light of the fact that
    Turkish Prime Minister Ecevit's popularity at the moment (May 2001)
    is at an all time low.

    The Lout's female companion: What will happen if
    [Prime Minister] Ecevit runs for office in the next election,
    and his DSP political party comes in first? Do you know?

    The Lout: Why don't you tell me?

    The Lout's female companion (very sarcastically):
    Ecevit will become Prime Minister again...
    The Lout's female companion (continuing in the third panel):
    ...and, of course, fish will climb poplar trees...
    [Tabii balık da kavağa çıkmış olur.]
    Thanks to:
    Gözcu/Asabi Gazetesi, Gerçek Yayıncılık A. Ş.
    (Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ, Owner)
    and Volkan Atalay, creator of  'Maganda, The Lout'.
    7 May 2001
    Balık baştan kokar.
    Note: Serves both as an idiom and a proverb.
    Fish smells from the head.Corruption starts at the top.Used as is...

    balık etinde

    in fish meat

    • a nicely proportioned (neither thin nor fat) woman
    • body with nice measurements
    AA adds: "An English-speaking western person might consider balık etinde to be a tad (a trifle, a mite) on the plump side, though not at all fat. You know, most Turks (mostly *male* Turks, that is) consider only 'fish meaty' women to be physically perfect. The western ideal female figure is a few centimeters on the skinny side of  'balik etinde', if you know what I mean..."

    Balık etinde biridir; giysileri pek yakışıyor. She's got a nice body; her clothes look good on her.

    bam teline basmak

    to press the low string
    on the lute

    • to vex or annoy
    • to upset someone by what you do or say on a sensitive subject
    • to touch/press a sore spot
    • to press a (raw) nerve

    Gençlerin giyimini beğendiğimi söylemekle meğer kadının bam teline basmışım! It seems that by saying I like young people's fashion, I'm touching that woman's sore spot.

    bana göre, hava hoş

    according to me, the weather's fine

    • I'm agreeable.
    • Whatever happens, it doesn't matter to me.
    • I don't care.

    İstediğin gibi davran, sen bilirsin; bana göre hava hoş. Do what you want to do, as you wish, I don't care.

    (On CD)

    bardağı taşırmak

    to overflow the glass

    to cause (someone) to run out of patience

    Son sözü bardağı taşırdı. The last remark made me lose my patience.

    barut fıçısı

    gunpowder barrel

    • powder keg
    • where strife and trouble can break out

    Tarafların hızla silahlanması Balkanları barut fıçısı yaptı. Arming the sides with weapons made the Balkans a powder-keg.

    Also see Geopolitical page.

    baston yutmuş gibi

    like (a person who) swallowed a walking cane

    • standing or walking very erect
    • as stiff as a poker

    Korse takmış adam baston yutmuş gibi yürüyor. The man wearing the corset walks as stiff as a poker.

    baş aşağı

    head down

    upside down

    Senin teknenin alemi baş aşağı olmuştu. Ben yine kaldırıp yerine diktim. Your flag became upside down. I got up and put it back in place again.

    baş göz etmek

    to do head eye

    to marry off

    Komşumuz kızlarını baş göz etti. Our neighbors married off their daughter.

    baş tacı etmek

    (On CD)

    to do head crown

    to treat someone with great respect and affection

    Biz büyüklerimizi baş tacı ederiz. We respect and love our elders.

    başı bağlı olmak

    (for) head (oneself) to be connected

    • to be tied down
    • to be dependent
    • to be engaged
    Bir yere gidemiyor; başı bağlıdır. He doesn't go anywhere, he's tied down.

    başı dara düşmek

    (for) head (oneself) to fall narrow

    • to get into trouble
    • find oneself in a difficult situation
    • to be without money
    Başımız dara düşünce akrabalarımız yardımımıza koşar. When we got into trouble our relatives ran to help us.

    başı dinç olmak

    (for) head (oneself) to be energetic and vigorous

    • to be without trouble, at ease, peaceful
    • to be carefree, free of grief, tranquil
    İşlerimi düzene koydum; başım dinçtir. I put my work in order and I don't have a care in the world!

    başı göğe ermek

    (for) head (oneself) to attain heaven

    • to be overjoyed
    • to find happiness
    Olağanüstü başarısından dolayı başı göğe erdi. Because of her extraordinary success, she was overjoyed.

    başı için

    (On CD)

    for the head

    for the sake of (used when imploring)

    Sevdiklerinin başı için bu işimi yapıver. Do this business quickly for the sake of your loved ones.

    başı kazan olmak

    (for) head to be cauldron

    to have one's head throb from noise or confusion

    Sınıftaki gürültüden başım kazan oldu. Because of the noise in the class my head throbbed.

    başın(ız) sağ olsun

    • Lit. let your head be healthy
    • may your life be spared

    "Please accept my condolences." (said to a grieving person upon the death of loved one)

    This is the first thing you say to a grieving survivor when a member of his/her family (or a close friend) passes away. And, no more than this is necessary.

    başına çorap örmek

    to knit a sock for the head

    • to plot against someone
    • to prepare a plan to trap someone
    • get someone into trouble
    Bu adam onun başına çorap örebilir; dikkatli olmalısın. This man can make trouble for him/her; he/she must be careful.

    başına devlet kuşu konmak

    (for) the state bird to land on your head

    • to have a stroke of luck
    • to attain happiness
    • to win a prize or the lotto
    Ahmet Ağabey'in başına devlet kuşu kondu. Older brother Ahmet had a stroke of good luck.

    başına dünyayı dar etmek

    to make the world narrow on somone's head

    to make life miserable for someone

    Seninle buluşup Hayreddin'in başına dünyayı dar edelim. Let's get together and make Hayreddin's life miserable.

    başına ekşimek

    to turn sour on the head

    • to be a burden (to)
    • to be a permanent and unwelcome nuisance
    Bu işi bitiriverelim; ikide bir gelip başımıza ekşimesin. Let's finish this work quickly then he/she/it won't constantly come back and burden us.
    başına gelenler things coming to your head

    unpleasant things (that happen to you)

    Başına gelenleri anlattı. He explained the bad things that had happened to him.
    başına gelmek to come to your head(for sth unpleasant) to happen (to)Ünlü sanatçı Gülben Ergen'in başına gelenler, aslında herkesin başına gelebilir. The unpleasant things that happened to famous performer Gülben Ergen, can actually happen to anyone. Gözcü Gazetesi, 13 September 2003

    başına iş açmak (getirmek)

    to open (bring) a job on your head

    to cause trouble to

    Durup dururken başımıza iş açtık.

    Suddenly we got into trouble.

    başına vur, lokmasını ağzından al hit his/her mouth, take his/her food

    • he/she is a "pushover"
    • he/she is so agreeable that anyone can walk right over them
    • he/she is simple-minded
    Kendi halinde biridir; başına vur, lokmasını ağzından al. He's quite simple-minded, anyone can take advantage of him. (...; [you] can bop him on the head and take the food right out of his mouth.)

    başında kavak yeli esmek

    (for) the wind to blow a poplar tree on one's head

    • to live a problem-less carefree life
    • to be day-daydreaming
  • Gençliğinde başında kavak yelleri esiyormuş. When she was young, she lived a carefree life.
  • Başında kavak yellerin estiği yıllardı, ne iş düşünürdü, ne güç! For years he lived a carefree life, never thinking of work, or difficulty!
  • başından kaynar sular dokülmek

    (for) boiling water to pour from your head

    • (in an embarrassing or tiresome situation) to sweat hotly
    • to be shocked about something
  • Onu görünce başımdan kaynar sular döküldü. When I saw him, I broke into a hot sweat.
  • Yalanımı yakalayınca başımdan kaynar sular dökülüyor gibi oldu. When she/he caught me in my lie, it was like boiling water pored from my head.
  • batağa saplanmak to be stuck to the swamp
    • to get oneself trapped in a blind alley
    • to get oneself into a situation from which one can not extricate oneself
    • to be up the creek in a big way
    • to be caught in a quagmire
    • for a project to come a cropper, fail
    Amerikan Newsweek Dergisi'nin yaptığı kamuoyu yoklamasına göre, ABD halkının yüzde 70'i, "Irak'taki ABD işgal ordusunun batağa saplanacağı" görüşünü taşıyor. According to a public opinion poll conducted by American Newsweek Magazine, 70 percent of the American people hold the view that, "the American occupation army (which is) in Irak will be caught in a quagmire." Gözcü Gazetesi, 25 August 2003

    battı balık yan gider

    (On CD)

    the fish has sunk and now swims sideways

    the situation is in such a mess that there's no use trying to do anything about it

    İşin sonundan umutsuzum; battı balık yan gider.

    I'm hopeless that you'll complete your job, it's in such a mess it can't be fixed.

    bayram değil (seyran değil enişte beni niye öptü?)

    it's not festival time, it's not a pleasure trip, [so] why did my brother-in-law kiss me?

    there must be something behind this...

    What does Sec. of State Rice
    want from PM Erdoğan?

    Click to find out.

    Bayram değil, seyran değil; Avrupalılar bize durup dururken çok anlayışlı davrandılar. There must be something behind this -- suddenly the Europeans are treating us with intelligence.

    That'll be the day, Mabel.
    I know, I know...

    bedava sirke baldan tatlıdır

    free vinegar is sweeter than honey

    anything you can get for free is better than something you have to pay for...

    May be used as shown...

    bela okumak

    to read trouble

    to curse

    Marianne Miranda'ya bela okumaya başladı.

    Marianne began cursing Miranda.

    ben sana hayran, sen cama tırman

    I admire you, you climb glass

    • this is a one-sided love
    • love should not be one-sided

    Note: Depending on the way this expression is used, it can also have a sexually suggestive meaning because 'cama tırmanmak' (to climb glass) may also be used to describe 'uncontrolled sexual desire'.

    Onu çok seviyor; ama sevgisine karşılık bulamıyor; ben sana hayran, sen cama tırman.

    She loves him a lot, but she doesn't get a loving response. It's a one-sided love.

    ben seninle çok ekmek yedim.

    I've eaten a lot of bread with you.

    We've been through a lot together.

    Ben seninle çok ekmek yedim. Öldürürsem senin gibi nankör olurum. We've been through a lot together. If I have you killed (now) I'll be just as bad as you.

    bende o göz var mı?

    is there that eye on me?

    am I so innocent looking that I should believe that?

    Beni kandırmaya çalışıyorlar bende o göz var mı? They're trying to fool me; do I look so innocent that I'd believe them?

    benden günah gitti

    sin went from me

    don't blame me

    Gereken uyarıyı yaptım; kendisi bilir; benden günah gitti. I gave the necessary warning; he himself knows it; so don't blame me.
    benimkinin dağarcığındaki in the leather bag that is mineto my knowledge; to my mind; in my opinionNe 'Canım' ne 'Aşkım' ne 'Yavrum' ne 'Güzelim' ne 'Fıstık'. Benimkinin dağarcığındaki en sıcak ve romantik kelime "Dingil'.
    It's not 'My dear' nor 'My love' nor 'My darling' nor 'My beauty' nor 'My shapely one'. To my mind, the most passionate and romantic [slang] word is 'Axle'. Gözcü Gazetesi, 'Secret Box' column, 15 May 2003

    1. bereket versin
      (also see Allah bereket versin...)

      (On CD)

    2. bereketini gör

      (On CD)

    • 1) may God give abundance, plenty
    • 1) may God give you increase

    • 2) may you see the increase

    1. The figurative meaning usually carries directly over from the literal. But, in some cases, there is the additional meaning of, "Thank God that all is well". The phrase may be said by you to someone who has given you a payment, tip, or bonus...
    2. ...in which case their response is, usually, bereketini gör.
    Bereket versin arabamız sigortalıydı; yoksa perişan olmuştuk. Thank God that our car was insured; otherwise we'd be in a pickle!
    Besle kargayı, oysun gözünü.
    Note: Serves both as an idiom and a proverb.
    Feed the crow, it will cut your eye.Feed the crow and it will pick out your eyes (said when someone returns evil for good).135Soru: Size çok sık sorulan bir soru olmalı: Richard Coyle (Jeff) niçin şovdan ayrıldı? Hiçbir gerekçe göstermediğini duyduk. Bize biraz bilgi verir misiniz? İleriki bölümlerde dönme ihtimali var mı?
    Cevap: Richard dönmek ya da bir veda bölümü çekmek istemdi; aslında benimle konuşmak bile istemedi. Yaralayıcı bir tutumdu bu, ama şov dünyasındayız ve böyle şeyler olabiliyor. Size ben de bir açıklama yapamayacağım; sadece bir söz hatırlatmak istiyorum: Besle kargayı, oysun gözünü.
    Question: One of the most asked questions (of you) must be: Why did Richard Coyle (who played Jeff) leave the [TV] show? We're aware of no reason whatsoever that explains [it]. (We have heard not any reason that has shown [it].) Will you give us a little information? Is there a possibility that he'll return in an upcoming episode?
    Answer: Richard didn't want to shoot a farewell episode nor to return; actually, he didn't even want to talk to me about it. It was the action (behaviour) of a person with hurt feelings -- but we are in the show-business world and things like this can happen. I too can't give you an explanation; I just want to remind you [of] the adage: Feed the crow and it will pluck out your eye.
    Attributed to Steven Moffat (creator of the popular British TV comedy series, Coupling) by CNBC-E Magazine, September 2004 issue
    beş aşağı beş yukarıfive lower five upperafter some bargaining
    [between two people]
    See Category 3, Turkish doublets.
    beş onfive tena fewbeş on kuruş çıkarmak, to earn a little money
    See Category 1 and 5, Turkish doublets.
    beş para etmezfive money doesn't do[something that is]
    utterly worthless
    beş paralık etmekto do five money's worthto expose one's shameful secrets 
    beş paralık olmak to be five money's worthto have one's shameful secrets exposed 
    beş parasızfive money-lesspenniless 

    beterin beteri

    (On CD)

    worse of worse

    the very worst possible thing

    Beterin beteri var; Allah beterinden saklasın.

    This is the very worst possible situation; may God hide you from [even] worse.

    bıçak altına yatmak

    to lie down under the knife

    to have an operation

    Ilk kez bıçak altına yattığı için çok zayıf düşmüş.

    He lost a lot of weight due to his first operation.

    bıçak kemiğe dayanmak to lean on a knife to the boneto get to be unendurableBıçak kemiğe dayandı, artık söylenmesi gerekeni söyleriz! It's getting to be unendurable, from now on we're going to say what needs to be said! Attibuted to Mehmet Ağar (DYP) by Gözcü Gazetesi, 27 May 2004

    bıyığı terlemek

    for the mustache to sweat

    (for a boy) to have peach fuzz beginning to grow on the upper lip

    Uzun boylu, güzel yüzlü, bıyıkları yeni terlemiş bir gençti.

    He was a young fella with peach fuzz on his upper lip -- tall, with a handsome face.

    bıyık burmak

    to twist the mustache

    to try to make others believe in one's bravery and manliness

    Daha dünkü çocuk, karşımıza geçmiş, bıyık buruyor. Since yesterday, the kid has been confronting us, trying to convince us of his manliness (...twisting his mustache).

    bildiğiniz (gibi) yapmak

    to do what you know, to do as you know

    • to (ignore advice or interference and to) follow your own inclinations
    • to do something one's own way

    Ocağımızın Midilli'de tütmesini isterdim. Anlıyorum ki sizin talihiniz denizlerde yazılmış. Bildiğiniz gibi yapın.

    I had wanted you to take over my pottery business in Midilli. But I now understand that your fate is written on the seas. Follow your own dream. The Illustrated Story of Barbarossa

    bilginler bilgini the scholar of scholarsthe very most scholarlySee Category 1 and 6, Turkish doublets.
    bin dereden su getirmek to bring water from a thousand brooksSee kırk dereden, etc.See example sentence at
    kırk dereden, etc.

    bindiği dalı kesmek

    to cut the branch on which you are mounted

    • "to cut the branch you're sitting on"
    • to be responsible for creating your own problems
    İnsanlar çevreyi kirleterek bindikleri dalı kesiyorlar. People who foul the environment are creating problems for everyone, themselves included (...cutting the branch they are sitting on).
    bir an evvelan instant before
  • as soon as possible
  • immediately
    bir an önce an instant before
  • as soon as possible
  • immediately
  • See example sentence at
    paçaları tutuşmak.

    bir ayağı çukurda (olmak)

    to be one foot in the hole

    • to have one foot in the grave
    • to be at the age of dying
    Bizim bir ayağımız çukurda artık, oğul -- inşallah sen aileye büyük olur, benim yerime onlara bakarsın.
    I (royal 'we') have got one foot in the grave, son -- hopefully you'll be head of the family, and in my place, you'll look after them.

    bir baltaya sap olmak

    to be a handle to an ax

    to have a job, be employed

    A oğlum, kocaman oldun; artık bir baltaya sap ol, bir iş yap. Ah son, you're grown now; it's time you get a job and do some work!

    bir çuval inciri berbat etmek

    to ruin a sack of figs

    • to foul things up, but good
    • by incorrect behavior or words, to upset an activity that was going well
    Son söylediğin sözlerle bir çuval inciri berbat ettin.
    By what you just said, you really screwed up the works!
    bir dediğini iki etmemek
    Note: This idiom is also seen as:
    bir dediği iki edilmemek/olmamak.
    to not do two (of sth) about which one was saidto do everything one asks for; to fulfill every desire ofDubaili şeyh sevgilisiyle ülke ülke dolaşan Ebru Şancı, "Artık Türkiye'ye dönmem, sevgilimle çok mutluyum. Bir dediğimi iki etmiyor" dedi. Ebru Şancı (who roams from country to country with her lover, a sheik from Dubai) said, "I won't return to Turkey any more, I'm very happy with my lover. He fulfills my every desire. Gözcü Gazetesi, 16 June 2003
    Click to see
    news-photo caption in which this idiom appears.

    bir dikili ağacı olmamak

    not to have a planted tree

    • to have no wealth nor property
    • not to own land or home
    Dünyada bir dikili ağacım yok, diye sızlanıyor. "I'm poor and have no place to live in this world," he complained.

    bir eli yağda bir eli balda

    one hand in butter, one hand in honey

    • to want for nothing
    • to be materially well off
    • to be 'living in clover'

    Her istediği oluyor, bir eli yağda, bir eli balda yaşıyor.

    She has everything she wants; one hand in honey, the other in butter.

    Bir fıçı sirkeden ziyade bir damla bal ile sinek tutulur.

    One drop of honey catches more flies than a barrel of vinegar.You'll be more effective in your dealings with new acqauintances, if you're civil. An acerbic approach is liable to fall on deaf ears.A pointed reminder to V.W. (of England) and D.G. (of Türkiye).
    A drop of honey,
    could have avoided this...

    Two rude people.
    Thanks to
    Gözcü Gazetesi
    bir iki one twoa very few, an imperceptible number or amount See Category 1 and 5, Turkish doublets.
    bir işin püf noktası See püf noktası.  

    bir kaşık suda boğmak

    to drown in a spoonful of water

    to be ready to 'kill' on the slightest pretext

    Eski ortağına çok kızıyor; bulsa bir kaşık suda boğacak.

    He was very angry with his old partner. If he found him he would have killed him.

    bir sıçrarsın çekirge, iki sıçrarsın çekirge, üçüncüde ele geçersin çekirge
    Note: Also seen shortened as:
    çekirge üç kez sıçramadı.

    (On CD)

    let the grasshopper jump once, let the grasshopper jump twice, the third time he'll be captured

    You can't always trust to luck.

  • O kadar çapkındı ki, aynı anda birkaç kızla flört ediyordu. Ama sonunda bir sıçrarsın çekirge, iki sıçrarsın çekirge, üçüncüde ele geçersin çekirge misali yakalandı ve bütün kız arkadaşlarını kaybetti.
    He was such a womanizer, he was flirting with several girls at the same time. But he couldn't always trust his luck, for when they found out -- he lost all his girl friends.
  • Çekirge üç kez sıçramadı. Uluslararası uyuşturucu kaçakçısı Tilki Selim'i başta Amerika olmak üzere birçok avrupa ülkesi fıldır fıldır arıyordu ama işi Türk polisi bitirdi. His luck ran out! (The grasshopper didn't jump three times.) With America in the lead, several European countries have been hunting long and hard for the international drug fugitive 'Selim the Fox', but the Turkish police got the job done. Gözcü Gazetesi, 10 September 2003
    (See photo-article at left.)
    Click following for:
    The Rest of the Idiom Story!
  • bir sıkımlık canı olmak

    to have one squeeze's worth of life

    • to be very frail
    • to be such a 'pipsqueak' that anyone can easily beat up

    Bir sıkımlık canı var, herkese kafa tutuyor.

    He is such a weakling but (even so) he challenges everyone.

    bir şey değil
    Also see teşekkür ederim.
    not a thingThis is the standard way to say, "You're welcome," after someone expresses a "Thank you." May be used as shown.

    bir tahtası eksik

    one plank missing

    derisively...(someone) who's mind is not right, who has a 'screw loose', who's not 'all there'

    Böyle ölçüsüz davranan insanın, bir tahtası eksik olsa gerekir. A person who acts in such a reckless way, must have one plank missing.
    Bir varmış bir yokmuş... One has been, one has not been...Once upon a time...
    (as said at the beginning of a fairy tale)

    bir yastıkta kocamak

    to age on a pillow

    for a husband and wife to live a long time together

    "Mutluluklar dileriz, bir yastıkta kocayın," dedim.
    I said, we wish you happiness and a long life together.

    bir yaşıma daha girdim

    I entered another age of mine

    • I'm very much surprised
    • we live and learn

    A, bir yaşıma daha girdim! Genç çocuk traktörü sürüyor.

    Oh! What a surprise! There's a young child driving that tractor.

    birbirine girmek to enter each other
    1. to start (physically) fighting each other; to lay into each other
    2. to quarrel bitterly, to rip into each other
    3. to crash into each other
    Başbakan Silvio Berlusconi'nin Almanya'nın AB temsilcisini "Nazi"likle suçlaması yüzünden Almanya ile İtalya birbirine girdi. Because of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's accusations of Nazism aimed at the German Representative to the EU, Germany and Italy have quarreled bitterly. Adapted from an article in Gözcü Gazetesi, 4 July 2003

    birden öfkelenmek

    to suddenly get angry

    • to fly off the handle
    • to lose one's composure


    biri eşikte, bir(i) beşikte

    one on the threshold, one in the cradle

    they (the children) are still quite young

    Çocukları pek küçük; biri eşikte, bir(i) beşikte.

    The children are very small, they are still quite young.


    Often shortened to
    Also see: Turkish Exclamations, Illustrated
    • In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful
    • In the name of God, the most gracious, most merciful

    Same... This 'formula' is used as the introduction to almost anything that has a religious context. It may be the first words of a book about a religious subject, the beginning of a religious speech, the opening of a written public announcement about something religious, etc. It opens every 'sura' (chapter) of the Koran. Actually (ÜÖ assures us), "It is also very common to say this phrase before starting many actions other than religious ones, like starting a journey, starting to eat -- in fact almost starting anything."

    This single, long Arabic word is referred to by some as the 'Islamic formula' (as opposed to the 'creed' that states, 'There is but one God and Muhammad is his Prophet.').

    Mevcut iktidar işbaşına gelir gelmez daha 'Bismillah' demeden bazı yöneticilerin laik cumhuriyet ilkelerini yerle bir etmek isteyen girişimleri oldu. As soon as it [the AKP] became the existing party in power, there were attempts by some of the [AKP] administrators wanting to destroy the [Turkish] Republic's basic secular principles -- without even first saying the "Islamic Formula" [to initiate their work]. Gözcü Gazetesi, Diken Op Ed, 31 December 2003

    bit yeniği

    (a) louse bite

    • a job that doesn't seem right
    • a direction that doesn't inspire trust

    Bu işte bir bit yeniği var, ben kuşkuluyum.

    There's a louse bite in this business, I'm suspicious about it.

    boktan from 'shit'
    This idiomatic word has a distinctly off-color origin, but is quite acceptable in mainstream conversation and print.
  • crappy
  • worthless, bad
  • wrong-headed
  • Amerika'nin boktan eyaletleri dahil, bir çok devlet 'Türklerin 1915'te Ermeni soykırımı yaptığını' kabul etti. 'Fakir olana köpekler de havlar' derler ya... Her aklına esen bize havlıyor! Neden? Güçsüzlüğümüzden!
    Including [legislatures in some] wrong-headed American states, [the parliaments of] several countries have accepted that 'Turks committed [so-called] Armenian genocide in 1915.' You know the proverb that says, 'Dogs bark and snarl at the poor', don't you? They [foreign groups] bark and snarl at us without thinking twice about it. Why? It's due to our powerlessness! From 'Diken' by Rahmi Turan, Gözcü Gazetesi, 28 April 2005
    bol bol plentiful plentiful
  • amply; abundantly; generously
  • a full sth; a large sth;
    a lot of sth
  • Ali Babacan, "Erkenden evime gidip bol bol yemek yiyorum" diye söyledi. [Minister of State] Ali Babacan said, "I'm going home early and eating a large meal." Adapted from an article in Gözcü Gazetesi, 4 July 2003

    borusu ötmek

    to toot a horn

    • to have authority, be influential
    • to 'call the shots'

    Hamdi Beyin bu mahallede borusu öter.

    In this district, Hamdi Bey calls the shots.

    boşu boşuna to vain emptyuselessly, for no reason, for nothingBu gerginliğe ne gerek vardı? İktidarın, Cumhurbaşkanı Sezer'in veto ettiği YÖK Yasası'nı yeniden köşke göndermeme eğiliminde oldğunu söyleyen siyasi çevreler, "Yine boşu boşuna gerginlik yarattılar!" dediler. What was the necessity of [all] this tension? In political circles they are saying of the ruling [AKP] government (which has not shown any impetus towards overriding President Sezer's veto of the [AKP's] YÖK Law ...[which has not shown a tendency of again sending to the Turkish White House the AKP's YÖK Law that President Sezer vetoed]) that, "Once again they [the AKP] have created tension for nothing." Head line and caption from article in Gözcü Gazetesi, 1 June 2004 (Click here for the story behind the story.)

    boşuna uğraşmak

    to strive in vain

    to waste time and/or effort

    See next panel for illustrative example.
    An illustrative cartoon of the idiom (above)...
    that also provides biting social commentary about
    the differently perceived effects of
    the 50% devaluation of the Turkish Lira
    (during March/April 2001)
    on the different Turkish population classes.

    The rich Turkish 'Fat Cat' shouts loudly (in the foreground):
    Help!... We're sinking!.. We're ruined!.. Help!..
    The poor 'Average Ahmet' shouts feebly (at background left):
    Help, we're ruined!..
    Average Ahmet's pal opines (at background right):
    Come. Don't waste your efforts! (BOŞUNA UĞRAŞMA!)
    It's hard to hear our voices, next to this guy.
    This cartoon commentary,
    (that appeared in Gözcu Gazete on 30 March 2001)
    is originally from Gırgır humor magazine.
    boy göstermek to show heightto show oneself offSee example sentence at:
    ayağının tozu ile.
  • boynuzlu
  • boynuz takmak
    • antlered
    • to attach antlers

    • cuckolded
    • [for a husband] to be cuckolded
    Ahlaksız, bir başka adamla aldatarak kocasına boynuzlu dedirtti. How rude! The husband being cheated by another man is said to be 'cuckolded'.

    boyu boyuna huyu huyuna uymak

    (On CD)

    to fit length to length temperament to temperament

    • suitable, good match
    • for two people to be in good balance with one another

    Boyu boyuna huyu huyuna uyan biri ile evlendi.

    She married someone who is suitable to her temperament.

    boyunun ölçüsünü almak

    to take a measurement of your size

    • to learn painfully about your short-comings/inadequacies
    • to 'measure up', unfavorably
    • to be disappointed at someone's indifference
    • to be unsuccessful, against hope, at what you attempt

    Sen de yap, sen de boyunun ölçüsünü al da, bu işin öyle kolay olmadığını anla!

    This job isn't so easy. You try it too, and see how you measure up, then you'll know.

    boyun eğmek

    to bend neck

    • to submit (to someone)
    • to humiliate oneself (before someone)
  • Kimseye boyun eğmedi.
    He didn't bow down to anyone.
  • Kaldık ki açık denizler yıllanmış gemicilere bile boyun eğdirir. We stayed like that (in the open sea) for a long time, open seas make even the most experienced sailors bow down.

  • bozguna uğramak
    (bozguna uğratmak)

    to visit defeat
    (to cause defeat to be visited)

    • to be routed (to rout) [in a battle]
    • to be defeated
      (to defeat)

  • Tunus askerleri bozguna uğradı bir çil yavrusu gibi dağıldı. The Tunisian soldiers were routed and were scattered like a covey of birds.
  • Kızlarımız tesettürlü voleybolcuları bozguna uğrattı. Headline: Our women routed the veiled volleyball players. [In reference to the Turkish women's volleyball victory over the women's team of Egypt.] Gözcü Gazetesi, 14 November 2003
    (See photo-article at left.)
  • bozuk düzen

    broken order

    • in a disorderly state, out of order
    • disorganized, uncoordinated, muddled, confused
    • wrong laws applied in the society, that make it disorderly
    Note: This is a popular phrase on the news programs these days...
    (Summer 1999)
    "Bu bozuk düzeni demokratik yolla düzeltmek gerekir," diyorum. "It's necessary to fix the muddled social order in a democratic way," I say.
    bölük pörçük group ...in bits, incompleteSee Category 2 and 9, Turkish doublets.

    börtü böcek
    Note: börtü has no meaning except in this idiom. See Turkish doublets, Category 2.

    ... bug
    • bugs and insects
    • vermin
    Yazın ev boş kalınca börtü böcek dolmuş. When the house is empty in summer, it fills up with bugs and insects.
    bu sayede
    Note: This idiom means the same as 'o sayede' and nearly the same as 'sayesinde'.
    in this/that shadow
    • thanks to this/that [reason]
    • so, therefore
    Şirket bu sayede ayakta kalabildi. Thanks to this [reason], the corporation was able to survive [...to remain on its feet].

    bundan iyisi can sağlığı

    (On CD)

    better than this is good health

    • this is the best
    • nothing (except good health) can surpass this
    • this is the next best thing to good health

    En iyi arabayı aldık; bundan iyisi can sağlığı.

    We bought the greatest car; nothing can surpass it.

    bundan iyisi Şam'da kayısı

    better than this is an apricot in Damascus

    • It doesn't get any better than this...
    • nothing (except eating an apricot in Damascus) can surpass this
    • this is the next best thing to eating a great apricot in Damascus (where they have really great apricots!)

    burnu bile kanamamak

    for the nose not to even bleed

    to survive a calamity without a scratch...

    Agır bir kaza geçirdi; burnu bile kanamadı.

    He was in a very serious accident and he survived without a scratch.

    burnu büyümek

    for the nose to grow

    to become conceited...

    Son günlerde burnu büyüdü; kimseye selam bile vermiyor. He's become very conceited in these last days; he doesn't even say hello to anyone.

    burnu düşmek

    for the nose to fall

    • to be overpowered by a bad odor
    • to be humbled after being too proud
    Sokağa dökülen çöplerin kokusundan burnumuz düştü. We were suffocating from the smell of the garbage that was left in the street.

    burnu havada (olmak)
    [equivalent to:
    burnu büyümek]

    for the nose to be in the air

    to be conceited

    Burnu havada, kimseye yüz vermiyor. He's conceited, he doesn't pay attention to anyone.

    burnu Kaf dağında (olmak)

    for the nose to be on Kaf Mountain

    Note: The mythical Kaf Mountain lay just beyond the horizon, at all points on the compass -- thereby surrounding the world. And, it was a cheerless, desolate and inhospitable place.

    to look down on everyone, to be excessively proud

    Burnu Kaf dağında, çalımından yanına varılmıyor. His nose is on Kaf Mountain, he's unapproachable due to his affected dignity.

    burnu sürtülmek

    to rub the nose hard

    to learn a lesson through humiliation

    Bu acı olaydan sonra burnu sürtüldü. After this event happened, he learned his lesson.

    burnunda tütmek

    for smoke to rise in the nose

    • to have intense longing
    • to miss a lot
    Doğduğum yerleri çok özledim; burnumda tütüyor. I've missed my birth place a lot; I'm longing to see it again.

    burnunda tütmek

    for smoke to rise in the nose

    • to have intense longing
    • to miss a lot
    Doğduğum yerleri çok özledim; burnumda tütüyor.

    I've missed my birth place a lot; I'm longing to see it again.

    burnundan (fitil fitil) gelmek
    Also see,
    fitil fitil burnundan gelmek

    (for wicks or fuzes) to come from the nose

    • to suffer so terribly after making a big gain, that you wish you'd never had the gain in the first place.
    • to have something go terribly wrong -- something which should have been very pleasant.
    Kazandığımız burnumuzdan geldi. We suffered greatly because of our [previous] gains. (Our [previous] gains came from our noses.)

    burnunu kırmak

    to break the nose of someone

    to humiliate

    Onun burnunu kırdım; artık yüksekten atamaz. I humiliated him, he won't talk so big any more.
    See another example sentence at
    kör kadı.

    burnunu sıksan canı çıkar

    if you squeeze the nose, the life goes out

    to be greatly distressed

    Çok üzüntülü görünüyor; burnunu sıksan canı çıkacak.

    She seems very upset; if you squeeze her nose her life will go out.

    burnunu sokmak

    to stick or poke the nose

    to involve oneself in another's affairs

    Her işe burnunu sokan insanları hiç sevmem. I don't like people who stick their noses into other folks' business, at all.

    burnunun dibinde

    at the bottom of the nose

    nearby, very close by, very near

    Burnunun dibindeki evi görmemiş; bucak bucak dolaşıp kiralık apartman arıyor. He didn't notice the (nice, available) house nearby; (instead) he's looking in every nook and cranny for a rental apartment.

    burnunun direği sızlamak

    for the pole of the nose to ache

    • to have sad, painful memories of something or a person
    • to be painfully sorry for something
    Kazanın oluşunu anımsayınca burnunun direği sızlamış.

    When he (even faintly) remembers how the accident happened, he is racked with sorrow.

    burnunun ucunu (bile) görememek

    not to be able to see the end of the nose

    • to be blind with pride
    • sth that is very nearby/closeby
    • sth that will occur very soon
    • to be dead drunk or extremely weary
  • Ne ileri görmesi? Adam burnunun ucunu bile göremiyor. Who knows what's ahead? Man doesn't even know what is very soon to be.
  • Çok yorgunsun; burnunun ucunu görecek durumda degilsin. You are really tired; you're in no condition to even see the end of your nose.
  • Öyle sarhoş ki burnunun ucunu bile göremiyor. He's so drunk he can't even see the end of his nose.

  • burun buruna gelmek

    to come nose to nose

    to come face to face (with someone)

    Kapı da nöbetçi ile burun buruna geldik.

    We came face to face with the guard at the gate.

    burun kıvırmak

    to curl the nose

    • to smirk at something or person
    • to turn one's nose up, to sniff at
    Bizim başarımıza burun kıvırdı

    She turned her nose up at our success.

    burundan kıl aldırmamak

    to not let hair be removed from the nose.

    • to not be open to criticism
    • to meet criticism with anger
    • to be very conceited and unapproachable
    Hem bu türden olumsuz işler yapıyor, hem de burnundan kıl aldırmıyor. He does these kinds of negative things and at the same time he's not open to criticism (...he rejects having hair removed from his nose).
    Buyurun cenaze namazına! Please come in, to the corpse, to the worship.We've had it! (Said when one is faced with an unpleasant situation, for which one is unprepared.)Çok yazık. Yapılacak bir şey de yok. Bugün yazılı varmış, buyurun cenaze namazına! 105 It's a great pity. And there's nothing that can be done. Today was bound to come sometime (...was fated). We've had it, now!

    buz üstüne yazı yazmak

    to write on ice

    • to exert useless effort
    • to make statements that are ineffective
    • to do work whose effect is just temporary
    Kalıcı bir çözüm bulamadık, buz üstüne yazı yazıyoruz.

    We didn't find a permanent solution, we are writing on ice.

    bülbül kesilmek
    • for the nightingale to be cut
    • to become like the nightingale
    • to give in under pressure (and to reveal one's secrets or feelings)
    • to talk rather grandly, but with weak resolve
    • to (finally) reveal previously unrevealed interest in sth
  • Üzüntüye dayanamaz duruma gelince bülbül kesilmişti. When it came to the point that he couldn't stand the sadness, he gave into his emotions and told me everything.
  • Deminden beri susan adam, işin ucunda para olduğunu öğrenince bülbül kesildi. See that man who has kept quiet until now? He sure got interested -- when he learned that money was the object of the 'game'.
  • büyük sözüme tövbevow 'never again' to my big wordssame...Büyük sözüme tövbe, işlerimiz iyi gidiyor. I vow never to say this again, but our business is going very well.
    büyümüş de küçülmüş grown and small to be mature in speech and behaviour -- despite being young. Bu çocuk çok akıllı, bilgili; büyümüş de küçülmüş sanki. This child is very intelligent -- knowledgeable even; it's as if she were an adult while at the same time being a child.

    In Turkey - Türkiye'de

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    Turkish movies, Türk filmleri
    Related Pages:
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  • Turkish Acronyms/Abbreviations
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  • Idioms Origin Stories, Index
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