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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 T

    The Turkish

    The Literal English Meaning

    The 'Plain' English Meaning

    Comments and Examples

    taban tabana zıt
    after the book
    opposite to a sole [of a foot], sole [of a foot]
  • (-a/-e) diametrically opposite (to), antipodal (to)
  • completely dissimilar, totally unlike, very different, antipodal
  • complete opposite
  • Birbirine taban tabana zıt göruşlere sahip iki gazetecinin çekişmeleri işığında, kadın-erkek ilişkilerine yöneltiyor kamerasını bu eğlenceli romantik komedi. In this enjoyable romantic comedy, the film camera focuses on man-woman relationships, as seen in light of arguments between two newspaper reporters who have views [about life] that are diametrically opposed to each other. [The description of the film 'He Said, She Said' starring Kevin Bacon, Elizabeth Perkins, Nathan Lee, Anthony La Paglia, and Sharon Stone -- which appeared in DigiTurk Magazine, December 2005.]
    tabanları yağlamak to oil the sole
  • to get ready to hoof it a long way
  • to run fast, run like anything; to make tracks, beat it
  • Tabanları yağlayalım, gideceğimiz yer uzak, zamanımız az.102 Let's make tracks! Our destination (the place that we'll go to) is far and we don't have much time (our time is little).
    /in/ın/ tadını çıkarmak

    to remove the flavor from

    • to make the most of
    • to get the utmost enjoyment out of (something)
    • to luxuriate in (something)

    Yirmi yaşındaki Cem Adler, "Başınç yok, stres yok" diyerek, boşanmanın tadını çıkardığını söyledi.

    Saying, "I don't have any pressure or stress," twenty-year-old Cem Adler [Bulent Ersoy's former toy-boy 'husband'] explained that he's trying to make the most of his divorce.

    See another example sentence at
    gözden kaçmak.
    /in/ın/ tadını kaçırmak

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds

    to let flavor escape

    to spoil [sth], cast a damper on [sth] Plakların birini kaldırıp birini koyuyordu, sesler beynimizde zonkluyordu; dayanamayıp, "Yeter!" dedim, tadını iyice kaçırdın!

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds

    Someone was removing the records and someone else was putting them back on; the noise was making my brain throb with pain; I couldn't stand it anymore, so I said, "Enough, you're ruining everything."

    tahsil etmek to make/do education
    1. to be educated, to get and education, to study
    2. Meaning with a preceding -i/-ı suffix -- to study a subject
    3. Meaning with a preceding -i/-ı suffix -- to collect (money or taxes); to recover (money or taxes)
    Onbir milyar dolarlık hortumun sadece 235 milyon doları tahsil edilebildi... Of the eleven billion dollars-worth that was embezzled only 235 million dollars can be recovered...Gözcü Gazetesi Headline, 30 June 2003
    talep etmek to make/do wantingto want, demand, require, request 

    tamtakır; tamtakır kuru bakır; tamtakır kırmızı bakır

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds

    completely empty, a completely empty dry copper, completely empty red copper

    completely empty
    • Sandığın içi tamtakır kuru bakırdı, belli ki açmış, içindekileri alıp götürmüşlerdi.

      Learn Turkish Language -- sounds

      The inside of the trunk was completely empty, it was obvious that it had been opened and the contents had been taken away/removed.

    • Tamtakır kırmızı bakır bir yazlıkta tatil geçirmek insana zevk vermez.

      Learn Turkish Language -- sounds

      It's no fun to have a vacation in a completely empty summer cottage.

    tarihe mal olmak to be property to history; to cost to history[for sb/sth] to be historic
    An historic
    Guinness quaffer...

    ataurk drinking guinness
    Left click for enlarged photo article.
    Barın duvarında asılı, Atatürk'ün 1932 yılında Beyoğlu Turquaz Lokantası'nda İrlanda içkisi Guinness ile çekilmis fotoğrafını gören İrlanda Başbakanı Bertie Ahern, şaşkınlığını gizlemiyerek 'Tarihe mal olmuş çok önemli bir liderin içkimizle çekilmiş olan fotoğrafı bizi onure eder' dedi. The Irish Prrime Minister Bertie Ahern (who saw the photograph hanging on the wall [in The Dubliner Irish Bar in Istanbul] of Ataturk with an Irish Guinness, taken at the Beyoğlu Turquaz Restaurant in 1932) was unable to hide his astonishment, and said, "The photograph (that was taken of such an important and historic leader [together] with our [national] drink) does us honor." Hürriyet Gazetesi, 30 June 2004 (See photo-article at left.)
    /e/a/ taş çıkarmak,
    /e/a/ taş çıkartmak

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds

    to cause to remove stone

    to be able to run rings around (sb), to be far superior than (sb)

    Bodrum'da Mumcular Fuat Ertem İlköğretim Okulu'nda İngilizce öğretmenliği yapan 25 yaşındaki Eylem Özbey, Samara Otel'de düzenlenen defilede profesyonellere taş çıkarttı.

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds

    Twenty-five year-old Eylem Özbey (who teaches English at the 'Mumcular Fuat Ertem Elementary School' in Bodrum) ran rings around the professional-models at the fashion show arranged at the Samara Hotel.
    Gözcü Gazetesi. 20 May 2002

    Mankenlere taş çıkarttı! Törene hayli çekici bir elbiseyle gelen Serena, sporcudan çok bir mankene benziyordu. She's better than the fashion models! (Pro Tennis star) Serena (Williams) who came to the ceremony wearing a very attractive dress, looked very much the fashion model compared with the other players.
    Gözcü Gazetesi, 29 May 2003
    (See photo-article at left.)

    taş kesilmek

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds

    to cut stone

    to be dumbfounded Salonun içinde kimse kımıldayamadı. Hepsi olduğu yerde taş kesildi.

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds

    No one in the salon could make a move. Everyone in the place was dumfounded.
    [Note: When the subject of a sentence is obviously plural, native speakers don't bother to 'pluralize' the verb tense -- because they consider such 'pluralization' to be redundant.]

    tek başına to a single head
  • on one's/its own,
    by one's self alone
  • apart, at a distance from other people/things
  • Sezer tek başına ana muhalefet partisi gibi! Cumhurbaşkanı'nın Orman Yasası'nı ikinci defa veto etmesi siyasi havayı iyice gerdi. (Turkish President) Sezer is like a main opposition party all by himself! The President's vetoing of the Forest Bill for the second time has caused the political air to be rather tense. Gözcü Gazetesi, 20 August 2003
    teke tek dövüşmek
    to fight single to single(for two people) to fight each other -- man to man/one to oneThe name of Fatih Altaylı's newspaper column is derived from this idiom.

    tekeden süt çıkarmak

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds

    to remove milk from a billy goat

    to do the [seemingly] impossible, to be very skillful in getting what one wants

    Ustam, tekeden bile süt çıkarır.

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds

    My master-craftsman can do the impossible. (...even get milk from a billy goat.)

    temenni etmek
    to make/do a heartfelt wishto wish (sth nice for sb)Bu sıkıntılı zamanda mutlu ve güvenli bayram temenni ederiz. We wish you a happy and safe holiday during these troubled times (trying times).
    tepeden inme don't send from a hill or sending from a hill
    1. an order that comes from a high official -- one of the 'big guns'
    2. very sudden and unexpected
    Tepeden inme bir emirle müdürün tayini durduruldu.103 His appointment to manager was stopped by an order from on high.
    tercih etmek to make/do preference
  • [-ı/-i] to prefer
  • [-ı/-i] [-a/-e] to prefer (one person/thing) to (another)
  • Otel ve tatil köyü yöneticileri 'Türklerin çoğu Türk yemeklerini tercih ediyor. Hatta tatile geldiklerinde açık büfede kuru fasulye görmeyince bizimle tartışanlar oldu' diyor. Hotel and vacation-village managers say, 'The majority of Turks prefer Turkish food. Furthermore, when they are on vacation and when they don't see [stewed] dried beans in the open buffet, they give us a hard time (...they become disputers with us). Gözcü Gazetesi, 20 August 2003
    (See photo-article at left.)
    tereciye tere satmak to sell cress to a seller of cress
  • to try to educate someone who is more educated than oneself
  • to try "to teach one's grandmother to suck eggs"
  • Tereciye tere satma! Ben bu teknik bilgileri senden daha iyi biliyorum.102 Don't try to tell me! I have more technical knowledge than you do (on this subject).
    tespit etmek/yapmak to do/make a fixing
  • to fix/make (sth) fast
  • to fix/set (prices)
  • to set (a bone)
  • to establish/determine
  • to determine the nature (of a crime, a situation)
  • Böbrek hastası farelere içirilen az miktarda alkolün böbreklere ne yararı ne de zararı olduğu tespit edildi.
    It has been determined that consumption of a small amount of alcohol is neither beneficial nor harmful to the kidneys of (already) kidney-diseased mice. Gözcü Gazetesi, 9 August 2003
  • See another example sentence at: üslup (yönünden).
  • teşekkür ederim
    Also see
    bir şey değil.
    I give thanks.This is the standard way to say, "Thank you."May be used as shown.
    tıka basa doldurmak

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds
    (57k bytes)

    to fill up as full as possible
  • to fill [sth] to absolute capacity
  • to fill up [sth] thoroughly by pressing and squeezing -- in such a way as not to leave any empty space at all
  • Garibanın Akmerkez'i. Parası olanlar Akmerkez'deki lüks mağazalardan alış-veriş yaparken, dar gelirli vatandaşlar yazlık kıyafet alabilmek için Mahmutpaşa'yı tıka basa dolduruyor. Hafta sonu iğne atsan yere düşmüyor.

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds
    (295k bytes)

    The Poor People's Akmerkez. While the rich (...those that have the money...) do their shopping at the luxurious stores in the Akmerkez shopping complex [in Istanbul], less affluent (...low-income...) citizens are filling the [more affordable] Mahmutpaşa bazaar to absolute capacity -- in order to be able to buy summer clothing. The place is bursting at the seams on weekends. Headline and captions from Gözcü Gazetesi, 29 May 2004
    (See photo-article at left.)

    tıkırı yerinde olmak
    Note: tıkırı only has meaning in idioms like this one.
    for ... to be in placeto be in a good position financially; to be earning good money 
    tıkırı yolunda/yerinde
    Note: tıkırı only has meaning in idioms like this one.
    ... is in roadbeing at ease, without worries; doing well, prospering; financially secureAli Babacan'ın "Erkenden evime gidip bol bol yemek yiyorum" dediğini duyan vatandaşlar, "Onun tıkırı yerinde, bir de bizi görsün, açlıktan nefesimiz kokuyor" diye konuştular. The [poverty-stricken] citizens who heard that [Minister of State] Ali Babacan said, "I'm coming home early and eating a large meal," commented that, "He's doing very well, but let him come meet and talk with us once, and smell the hunger on our breath." Gözcü Gazetesi, 4 July 2003
    tıkırı yolunda gitmek
    Note: tıkırı only has meaning in idioms like this one.
    for ... to go (be) on roadfor sb to be set at ease, for sb's worries to vanish; for sb to do well, prosper; for sb to be financially secure 

    tıklım tıklım (dolu)
    Note: tıklım has no meaning except in this idiom.

    ... ...
    See Turkish Doublets, Category 3.
    extremely crowded
    Kuşadası'nın plajları tıklım tıklım. Kuşadası's beaches are extremely crowded. Gözcü Gazetesi, 4 July 2003
    (See mini photo-article at left.)
    tıpış tıpış gitmek
    Note: tıpış tıpış only has meaning when used in this idiom. See Turkish Doublets, category 3.

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds

    to go ... ...
    1. to patter, move with pattering footsteps
    2. to go whether one wants to or not
    3. to do something whether one likes it or not
    Şimdi tıpış tıpış birliğine gidecek ve çakı gibi asker olacak.

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds

    Now he'll do his Turkish military service whether he likes it or not and become a dutiful and obedient soldier. [...go to his military-unit whether he likes it or not and become a very active and alert soldier.] Gözcü Gazetesi, 28 May 2003

    tırıl tırıl

    gauzy, filmy    

    tiridi çıkmak
    [from tirit/terit]
    Note: This is a less well-known idiom.

    to emerge from toast soaked in gravy or sugary syrup for someone to get so old and feeble that he/she can no longer get about unaided Bu tiridi çıkmış iki kişiyle iş yapmayı deneyeceğiz. We'll try working with these two old, enfeebled people.

    tirit gibi

    like toast soaked in unthickened meat gravy or sugary syrup someone so old and enfeebled that he/she can no longer move about unaided; 'as old as the hills'  
    tok sözlu
    full wordedwho does not mince his/her words; outspokenMehmet amca gerçeği söyler, tok sözlüdür.103 Uncle Mehmet speaks the truth; he's one who doesn't mince his words.
    Compare with
    selamün aleyküm kor kadı
    hatıra gönüle bilmemek.
    topa tutmak to hold to a ball
  • to bombard (someplace) with cannon/artillery fire
  • to blast, berate, denounce, strongly and angrily criticize, light into sb/sth
  • DYP lideri Mehmet Ağar, Çukurova'da AKP'yi topa tuttu. In (the city of) Çukurova, the DYP (political) leader Mehmet Ağar angrily denounced the AKP (political party). Gözcü Gazetesi, 11 June 2003
    toprağı bol olsun Let the earth be plentiful.May he/she rest in peace (said of a non-Muslim).Yine de acılarını paylaşıyorun. Toprağı bol olsun. Once again I'm sharing their [i.e. Sweden's] pain. May she rest in peace. Written of assassinated Swedish Foreign Minister Lindh by columnist Emin Çölaşan -- in Hürriyet Gazetesi, 12 September 2003
    toprak doyursun gözünü See gözünü toprak doyursun.  

    Toz ol!
    [From toz olmak...]

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds

    Be dust!
    • Beat it!
    • Get lost!
    • Get outta here!
    • Take off!
    • Take a hike!
    • Disappear!
    • Piss off!
    May be used as shown...
    or as follows:
    Bahçe kapısının önünden üçü de toz olmuştu.

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds

    The were three [of them] at the garden gate, and they just disappeared.
    [Note: When the subject of a sentence is obviously plural, native speakers don't bother to 'pluralize' the verb tense -- because they consider such 'pluralization' to be redundant.]

    tozu dumana katmak
    [sometimes shortened to tozu dumana or just tozduman]

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds

    to remain in dust [and smoke], clouded by dust [and smoke]
    • to be covered in a think cloud of dust
    • to raise a cloud of dust
    • to cause a commotion
    • to make or be in an uproar
    • to raise a ruckus
    Ecevit, hükümetin kaderini ikinci turun sonucuna bağladı. Ankara'yı tozu dumana kattı.

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds

    Prime Minister Ecevit's government's future is tied to the second voting cycle. Ankara is in an uproar. Headline of an artcle in Hurriyet Gazetesi, (April 2000)

    turnayı gözünden vurmakto hit the crane from the eye
  • to manage to acquire sth very valuable
  • to have a business success
  • to be lucky
  • Also see meanings at:
    durdu durdu (da).
  • En iyisini elde ettik; turnayı gözünden vurduk. We got the best one, we were lucky.
    Also see example sentence at:
    durdu durdu (da).

    tutunacak dalı (olmamak) (yok)

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds

    (not to have) a branch to hold onto not to have sth or sb you can rely on Zavallı kadıncağız ne yapsın? Tutunacak dalı yok.

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds

    What may be done for the poor dear woman? She hasn't anyone she can rely on.

    tuz biber ekmek See...üstüne (üzerine) tuz biber ekmek.   
    tuzla buz olmak to be ice with salt
    • to be smashed to smithereens; smashed to bits
    • to be utterly routed
    Cezaevlerindeki kadın nüfusu patladı. Geçen yılki tahminlerimiz tuzla buz oldu. The female population in prisons (specifically) has exploded. Last year (specifically), our estimates were smashed to bits. Gözcü Gazetesi, 28 November 2002
    tuzu kuru the salt [is] dry
  • well off, in easy circumstances
  • without worries
  • (sb) who has nothing to worry about financially
  • (sb) who has nothing to worry about
  • Onlar terörün vahşetini bilmiyordu. Tuzları kuruydu. They were not aware of the brutality of terror. They had nothing to worry about. Hürriyet Gazetesi, 12 September 2003

    Türkün aklı sonradan gelir(miş)

    the thought of a Turkish person comes later
  • A Turkish person acts first, thinks of the consequences later.
  • A Turk doesn't think about the consequences of an action until it's too late.
  • A Turk doesn't plan ahead, doesn't plan for contingencies.
  • A self-deprecating Turkish witticism...

    • tüyleri diken diken olmak
    • tüyleri ürpermek

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds

    • (for) feather to be straight up
    • (for) feather to shudder
    • for one's hair to stand on end
    • to get goose pimples
    • to shudder
    Depremin olduğu günü düşündükçe tüylerim diken diken oluyor.

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds

    Every time I think of the day we had the earthquake, I get goose pimples.

    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
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  • Frequently asked questions about Turkey and the Turkish language
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  • 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
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  • Turkish Personal Names
  • Politically Incorrect Turkish Humor
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  • 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.

    Learn Turkish language

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