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The Plain English Meanings of
Turkish Idioms

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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 L

    The Turkish

    The Literal English Meaning The 'Plain' English Meaning Comments and Examples
    laf ağzında kalmak for a remark to remain in one's mouthto not get a chance to speak; to not be able 'to get a word in edgewise'; to be unable to finish what one was saying; (for someone) suddenly to go silentKapıyı açar açmaz konuşmaya başladı; karşılık veremedim; lafım ağzımda kaldı. She started talking as soon as the door opened; I wasn't able to respond. I couldn't 'get a word in edgewise'.
    laf altında kalmamak for a remark to not remain underto give as good as one gets (in an argument); to give the 'correct and necessary' response to derogatory remarks
    (of sb else)
    Charlotte Hanım laf altında kalmaz. Çok hazır cevaptır; biraz da öfkeli karşılık verir. Ms. Charlotte gives as good as she gets in an argument. She's always ready with an answer; and gives her reply a little angrily.
    laf anlatmak to explain a word
  • to try to bring sb around to one's own point of view
  • to try to make sb understand sth
  • See example sentence at:
    deveye hendek atlatmak.
    laf etmek to make/do remark
    • usual meaning is: to gossip/speak about (sb/sth)
    • But, with preceding suffix le/la it simply means: to talk with, chat with
    • Kimsenin arkasından laf etmeyiz.103 We don't gossip behind anyone's back.
    • Ahmet Zeki Efendi'nin çalışkanlığını bile laf etmeye başlamışlardı.99 Reportedly, they've even started to speak about Ahmet Zeki Efendi's industriousness.
    • See another example sentence at ipe sapa gelmez.
    laf/söz düşmemek for remark not to fall
    • for there to be no need for sb to talk
    • for it not to be sb's turn to speak
    • to have no right to voice an opinion
    • (for a child) to not have the right to speak in the presence of adults
    • (for a novice) to not have the right to speak in the presence of an expert
    • for sb not to get a chance to speak
  • Büyükler varken küçüklere laf düşmez.99 When the adults arrive the children will [thereafter] remain quiet.
  • Siz varken söz bize düşmez.105 When you arrive, we'll shut up (in deference to your greater knowldge on the subject).
    Also see example sentence at hariçten gazel okumak/atmak.
  • lafını etmek See söz etmek.

    lafla peynir gemisi yürümez

    (On CD)

    The cheese boat won't run on talk.Mere talk won't get anything done.Kaptan, "Navlun parasını peşin vermeden, şuradan şuraya gidemeyiz, çünkü peynir gemisi lafla yürümez," demiş.115 The boat captain said, "Without paying the shipment cost in advance, we'll not move from here (from there to there), because (my) cheese boat doesn't run on mere talk."

    (On CD)

    From the well-known Turkish folktale.

    Coming soon...
    The Rest of the Idiom Story
    Lanet olsun!
    A frequently heard idiom that is, nonetheless, rather off-color.
    Let there be a curse!God damn her/him/it!Has same figurative meaning as Allah Kahretsin.
    See illustrative example at
    Al benden de o kadar.
    leb (lep) demeden leblebiyi anlamak to understand 'chickpeas' without saying 'chick' to anticipate correctly what someone is going to say; to get the idea without hearing all the details; to understand where someone is 'coming from' after hearing only a few words; to be able to read someone's thoughtsBen leb demeden leblebiyi anlarım, açıklamana gerek yok... I get the idea; you don't have to explain [every detail]...
    Coming soon...
    The Rest of the Idiom Story
    leyleği havada görmek

    (On CD)

    to see a stork in the airto always be on the move, to travel a lot, to make frequent tripsBu yıl devamlı seyahate çıkıyorsun. Galiba leyleği havada gördün! You've been traveling continuously this year. You've really been on the move! (Probably you saw a stork in the air!)

    (On CD)


    Leili (Leyla, Layla, Leyli, Leila)...Majnun
    or Majnun...Leili (Leyla, Layla, Leyli, Leila)

    The star-crossed lovers of eastern literature were the fair Leila [Layla, Leyli, Leili] and her gentleman-friend Majnun [Qays] -- who swooned 1000 years before Shakespeare penned Romeo and Juliet. In Turkish, they are 'mecnun' and 'leyla', shown in lower case because their names have become part of the Turkish vernacular. And when they appear together, it denotes a love that verges on madness.

    Biz mecnunuz biz leylayız.

    (On CD)

    We are madly/crazily in love.
    (We are Mecnun, we are Leyla.)
    These legendary Arabian lovers were 'featured' in Turkish Pop-singer Kayahan's 1999 hit single, Yine şişe bitecek (Another bottle will be emptied). Click here to see the song lyric, and here to hear a song-clip.

    The Unromantic Lout
    Right click for options to 'View' larger image...
    Loutish movie-goer: Would you give me two tickets for the movie?
    Chirpy ticket-seller: Will that be for (a romantic couple like) Leyla and Mecnun?
    Loutish movie-goer: Nah. It's just me and the wife.

    Thanks to:
    Gözcu/Asabi Gazetesi, Gerçek Yayıncılık A. Ş.
    (Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ, Owner)
    and Volkan Atalay, creator of
    Maganda, The Lout
    Ankara (14 January 2001)
    lokma(sı) ağzında büyümek for a morsel of food to grow in the mouthnot to have any appetite at all; to not be able to swallow food easily because of sadness, fatigue, illness, or poor appetiteDün akşam yemekte o kadar yorgundum ki lokmalar ağzımda büyüdü. Last night at dinner I was so tired that I couldn't eat anything at all.
    lokur lokur

    Note: Except in this phrase, the 'word' lokur is meaningless. See Category 3, Turkish doublets...

    ... ...Use this idiomatic phrase to express the sound of boiling water... 
    In Turkey - Türkiye'de

    Tüm cd fırsatları için tıklayın !

    Turkish movies, Türk filmleri
    Related Pages:
  • The Turkish Idioms A-Z, Index
  • Turkish Acronyms/Abbreviations
  • The Idiomatic M-Doublets
  • Idioms Origin Stories, Index
  • Unrelated fun:
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  • Cheese -- Best Turkish Cheeses, Gourmet Top 10
  • Wine -- Best Turkish Wines, Gourmet Top 10
  • Turkish Movies - Best-Looking Bad Girl of the 1970s, Sevda Ferdağ
  • Bad Girls of the 1970s Turkish Cinema, Aliye Rona
  • Frequently asked questions about Turkey and the Turkish language
  • llustrated Nargile Users Guide -- and Encyclopedia
  • Our Honda Generator -- A Member of the Family
  • 'Erotik' Movies -- The Short Unhappy Life of Mine Mutlu
  • Erotik Angel? -- Melek Görgün
  • Sizzling transsexual -- Emel Aydan
  • Erotik 'Second Banana' -- Gülden Gül
  • Deep-inside Dilber Ay
  • White-Hot Real Blonde... the Ceyda Karahan Center
  • Figen Han -- Fire down below...
  • Arzu Okay -- brainy 'erotik' bombshell
  • The Feri Cansel Story -- an erotik 'Beauty and the Beast'
  • Zerrin Egeliler - (most of) everything you always wanted to know
  • The Seyyal Taner Center
  • The Seher Şeniz Center
  • Tarkan's Metamorphosis Album -- Christmas Day Release
  • Turkish Music -- Tarkan
  • Real-Life Weight Loss a la turc - with alcohol!
  • Habibullah and the Great Cannon Caper
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  • Turkish Belly Dancers
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  • Turkish Food and Turkish Drink
  • Turkish Terms Of Endearment
  • Turkish Personal Names
  • Politically Incorrect Turkish Humor
  • Why Off-Color Turkish is important too
  • Gossipy Turkish Who's Who
  • Turkish Movies -- Conventional and 'Erotik', Index
  • Learn Turkish language

    We wish to extend thanks to
    Emin Özdemir, Osman Çizmeciler, Ömer Asım Aksoy, H. Fethi Gözler,
    Ferit Devellioğlu, Nermin and Muammer Yüzbaşıoğlu,
    Halil Uysal, Ali Püsküllüoğlu, and Ali Uslu

    for their Turkish Idioms source material -- on which some of this page is based.

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