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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

    Site visitors may navigate to other Turkish Idioms pages using the
    House-Favorite Idioms Page Index

    Turkish Idioms beginning with the letter Y

    The Turkish

    The Literal English Meaning The 'Plain' English Meaning Comments and Examples
    ya bu deveyi gütmeli ya bu diyardan gitmeli

    (On CD)

    you must herd these camels or you must leave this land
  • take it or leave it
  • either accept the situation the way it is and start working on it, or gather up your belongings and leave
  • you'd better "straighten up and fly right"
  • Bir dersten bile kalırsan üniversiteden atılırsın. Ya bu deveyi gütmeli ya bu diyardan gitmeli.102 If you fail even one class, you'll be thrown out of the university. So...you'd better straighten up and fly right!

    (On CD)

    Coming soon...
    The Rest of the Idiom Story
    yabana atmak to throw to the wild
    • to disregard
    • to attach no importance to
    • to brush aside, shrug off
    See example sentence at:
    foyası meydana çıkmak.
    yaka paça collar trotterby force, forciblyHukuk öğrencisi Mehtap Yurtluk, 'Biz size güvenmiyoruz. Sadaka değil hakkımızı istiyoruz' dedikten sonra polislerce yaka paça tuvalete götürüldü ve Başbakan Erdoğan toplantıdan ayrılıncaya kadar orada tutuldu. After law student Mehtap Yurtluk declared, 'We don't trust you. We don't want handouts, we want our rights,' several policemen took her forcibly to the toilet and held her there until Prime Minister Erdoğan left the meeting. Gözcü Gazetesi, 10 May 2003
    yalan yanlış lie mistakevery inaccurate;
    full of mistakes, even fabrications
    See Category 1 and 7, Turkish doublets.
    Yalancının mumu yatsıya kadar yanar.
    Serves as both an idiom and a proverb.
    The liar's candle burns until about two hours after sunset.It doesn't take long for a lie to be exposed.May be used as shown...
    yanı sıra

    (On CD)

    row/line/order to the side
    • right along with, right along side, together with
    • besides, in addition to
    • along with
    O avukatı ile yanı sıra geldi.

    (On CD)

    He brought his lawyer along with him.

    yanağından kan damlamak

    (On CD)

    to drip blood from the cheekto be rosy cheeked and healthy, to be in radiant health"Sağımızdaki, yanağından kan damlayan iri Çerkez'i gösterdim.."

    (On CD)

    "On our right, I pointed to a large Caucasian/Circassian [person] who was in radiant health."
    Ömer Seyfettin, Harem, pg 90

    yanına bırakmamak (koymamak)to not leave (put) to the sideto not let someone get away with something without punishment or consequences'Elbet bunu yanınıza koymam.' 'I certainly won't let you get away with this.' The Illustrated Story of Barbarossa, Book 1 Plate 18 by Orhan and Erhan Dündar (1996)
    yanına varılmaz

    (On CD)

    he/she/it doesn't arrive next tounapproachable, very expensiveBurnu Kaf dağında, çalımından yanına varılmıyor.

    (On CD)

    His nose is on Kaf Mountain, he's unapproachable due to his affected dignity.

    Yanlış hesap Bağdat'tan döner.
    Note: Serves as both an idiom and a proverb.
    An unpaid bill [must] come back from Baghdad. When you find that a mistake has been made, you should make every effort to correct it, no matter what the cost.
    May be used on its own.
    Neatly used in the following 'play on words': Baykal'ın yanlış hesap yargıdan döndü! Fig. Judge nullifies [CHP Party leader Deniz] Baykal's expulsion order [directed at his rival, Mustafa Sarıgül]. More literally: Deniz Baykal's mistake is returned to him by the judge! Hürriyet Gazetesi, 22 June 2005 (See photo-article at left.)
    Click following for:
    The Rest of the Idiom Story!
    yapma bebek a making baby
    • a pretty, but cold and soulless girl/woman
    • an 'ice princess'
    • a marble statue
    • any sculpted work of art
    See example sentence at:
    yer almak.
    yapmadığını bırakmamak

    (On CD)

    not to leave not doneto do 'everything in the book', to do everything one can to annoy or upset someone elseAnthony bize yapmadığını bırakmadı, inanamazsınız neler söyledi neler...

    (On CD)

    Anthony did everything he could to upset us, you won't believe the things, ooh the things, he said...

    Yardan geçmez serden geçer.
    Note: Serves both as an idiom and a proverb.
    One may abandon one's head (ie. give up one's life), but not one's friend.Same meaning.May be used as is...
    yasağı delmek to pierce prohibitionto ignore or flout the rules; to deliberately do something that is prohibited or banned or declared unsuitableBazıları 'korumasıyla' güneşlendi bazıları ise 'haşema' yasağını deldi... Some take the sun under body-guard protection...as for others, they flout the ban on 'haşema'... Gözcu Gazetesi news-photo caption, 18 May 2003 --
    See news-photo below.

    flouting the ban...

    Gözcu Gazetesi, 18 May 2003
    Click here for the full 'haşema' story...
    yelken açmakto open sailto hoist sail,
    to set sail
    Üzerinde buz dağları dolaşan büyük denizlerde yelken açmıştı. He set sail in heavy seas on which icebergs wandered.
    yelken küreksail oarat top speedBunu uygun gören reisler hemen demir alıp, yelken kürek kaçmaya başladılar. The skippers, in accordance with this fitting ploy, started escaping at top speed. Ömer Seyfettin, From 'Forsa'
    yelkenleri suya indirmek to lower the sails to the waterto get down off one's high horse; to draw in one's hornsSuçu ortaya çıkınca yelkenleri suya indirip özür diledi. When her guilt was revealed she got down off her high horse and apologized.
    yemin etmek
    to make/do an oath
  • to swear to (do sth)
  • to take an oath
  • Cumhurbaşkanı Sezer, 'Her biriniz milletvekili seçildiğiniz gün Meclis kürsüsünden Cumhuriyet ilkelerine bağlı kalacağınıza yemin ettiniz, bu yemininiz yalan mıydı?' dedi. President Sezer said, 'Each one of you [members of parliament] take an oath from the Parliament podium (on the day you are sworn-in) to remain faithful to the [Turkish] Republic's founding principals; Is your oath a lie?' Gözcü Gazetesi, 30 October 2003
    yer acımak[for a place, part] to hurtsame meaning...Aşığın kestiği yer acımaz. The place where love cuts, doesn't hurt.
    yer almak to take a place
    • to be located in, be situated in (a place)
    • (for someone) to have a part in, be involved in (a project, a job)
    • to be in, appear in

    Antalya Yivliminare Medresesi'nde 'Güzel Anadolu' isimli yapma bebek sergisinde Tarkan'ın yapma bebeği de yer aldı. A sculptured-model of Tarkan appeared in the sculptured-modeling show called 'Beautiful Anatolia' at the Antalya Fluted-minaret Theological School. Gözcü Gazetesi, 18 July 2003 (See photo-article at left.)
    yer vermek to give a space
  • to allow (sth) to happen
  • to give (sb) a seat
  • to include, discuss (sb, sth) (in a book, speech, thought, etc.)
  • to give coverage in a newspaper
  • to allow for, give a place to
  • Sevgi ve hoşgörülü olan Japon halkını bile çileden çıkartan T.A.T.U.'nun bu davranışına gazeteler de geniş yer verildi. And, the newspapers gave wide coverage to this [rude] behaviour of T.A.T.U. [the Russian-lesbian pop-duo] that infuriated even the Japanese people who are [usually] loving and tolerant. Gözcü Gazetesi, 1 July 2003 (See photo-article at left.)
  • See another example sentence at:
    hiçe saymak.
  • yeri göğü inletmek to cause (sb) to moan [at] the ground the sky
  • to cause sb to react very emotionally
  • to cause sb to 'fly off the handle'
  • to cause sb to 'scream bloody murder'
  • Orada muhafazakar Hıristiyanlar 'Bu dinsizliktir... İnanç hürriyetine darbedir' diye feryat etmiyor. Bizde ise dinciler 'Türban, türban' diye yeri göğü inletiyorlar. Over there [in France] conservative Christians aren't complaining [about a law banning the conspicuous display of religious symbols (ie. large Christian crosses, female-Muslim 'turbans', male-Jewish skull-caps) in government-funded schools]. They don't cry out, "This is anti-religious, a blow to religious freedom." But here [in Turkey], it causes conservative Muslims to become highly emotional and scream, "[We demand] Turbans [for all Muslim women]!" Gözcü Gazetesi, Diken Op Ed, 21 December 2003
    Yerin kulağı var(dır). There is an ear in the place.[Be careful what you say because] the walls have ears.May be used as shown...
    yerinde yeller esmek for winds to blow insteadto have vanished; to be gone with the windHırsız dolabı boşaltmış, elbiselerimin yerinde yeller esiyor.100 The thief emptied the closet, all my dresses have disappeared.
    yerinden oynamakto play from placeto come loose, get loose, to move or budge fromİri Garip yerinden oynamadı. İri Garip didn't budge from his place. Ömer Seyfettin, Diyet, pg 3
    yerine getirmekto bring to a place
  • to bring (sth) back, restore
  • to carry out, perform, execute (a task)
  • Ata'mızın bize bıraktığı görevi, yurdun her karış toprağında yerine getireceğimizden kimsenin kuşkusu olmasın. In keeping with the duty that was left to us by (Turkish Republic founder) Ataturk, let no one doubt that we will restore every 'inch' of the homeland's territory. Gözcü Gazetesi, 20 August 2003
  • Sultan'ın emrini ilk yerine getiren Yakup Ağa oldu. Yakup Ağa was the first to carry out the sultan's order.
  • Tesettür de giyerim çıplak da çıkarım. Ünlü manken, "Tesettür defilelerine çıkmaktan kaçınmam; işimin gereklerini yerine getiriyorum" dedi. I may dress in the [orthodox-Muslim] all-enveloping style of clothing, and I may also go nude. The famous model [Şenay Akay] said, "I won't avoid working in religious-dress fashion shows; I perform my job according to the needs." Headline and text from an article in Gözcü Gazetesi, 11 September 2003
    (See photo-article at left.)
  • yerle bir etmek to make/do one with placeto destroy, to wreck altogetherLaik Cumhuriyet ilkelerinin yerle bir edilmesine rağmen çok sayıdaki komutan kendini tutuyor ve 'Ya sabır' çekerek duygularını içine atıyor. despite [seeing] the Turkish Republic's secular founding principles being destroyed, a lot of military commanders maintain their self control -- and sighing while saying 'Be patient', they keep their worries to themselves. Gözcü Gazetesi, 27 August 2003
    Also see example sentence at
    yerli yerindein local placein the proper place, in the original positionKitaplarım her zaman yerli yerindedir. My books are always in their proper place.
    yerli yersizlocal homeless(doing something) without stopping to consider whether or not it's appropriateYerli yersiz konuşmalarıyla gönül kırıyor. She breaks hearts with the inconsiderate things she says -- without considering the consequences.
    yılan hikayesi a snake story
  • a messy problem that has no easy solution
  • a problem that crops up intermittently without ever being resolved
  • Temeli 1996 yılında atılan ve büyük umutlarla inşaatına başlanan hastanenin yapımı yılan hikayesine döndü. The hospital's construction (that was started with such high hopes when the foundation was laid in 1996) has turned into an unresolved mess. Gözcü Gazetesi, 9 August 2003
    yıldırımları (şimşekleri) üstüne/üzerine çekmek to pull on a thunderbolt (lightening flash)to attract strong criticismAhlaksız açıklamalarıyla yıldırımları üzerine çekti, şimdi tüm halk ona kızgın. She drew heavy criticism for her churlish remarks, now everybody is angry with her.
    1. yıldız barışıklığı
    2. yıldızları barışmak
  • star harmony, star compatibility
  • to reconcile the stars
    1. getting along well with others, getting along pleasantly with each other
    2. to get along well with others/each other
    Yedi aylık iktidar boyunca kimseyle yıldızları barışmadı. AKP herkesle kavgalı. For the length of its seven months in power, it hasn't gotten along well with anyone. The AKP is angry with everyone. Headline and caption of an article in Gözcü Gazetesi, 15 July 2003
    yok etmek to make/do non-existentto destroy, to wreck altogether
  • İsrail: Hamas'ı tamamen yok edeceğiz! Israel says: We'll completely destroy [the extremist group] Hamas. Headline of an article in Gözcü Gazetesi, 8 September 2003
  • Ülkenin temel taşlarını yıpratmak ve yok etmek istiyorlar. They want to erode and destroy the fundamental foundations of the country. Gözcü Gazetesi, 16 June 2003
  • yok satmak to sell not existingto sell out (of merchandise) quickly
    Acer fırmasının kısa süre önce piyasaya çıkartığı Ferrari serisi kırmızı bilgisayarlar yok satıyor. The Fararri series of red [laptop] computers (which came on the market recently from the Acer Company) is selling out quickly. Şok Gazetesi, 19 February 2004
    (See photo-article at left.)
    yol açmakto open a road
    • to cause
    • to pave the way
    • to open a road
    Bu acı içinde Hızır Reis Tunus'a girerken teknelere sancak açtırmamıştı. Bu da Tunus halkı arasında şüphe ve korkuya yol açmıştı. In this mental anguish, the Skipper Hızır (later known as Barbarossa) didn't raise the ship's flag when he entered [the port of] Tunis. And this caused doubt and fear among the Tunisian people. The Illustrated Story of Barbarossa, Book 1 Plate 59 by Orhan and Erhan Dündar (1996)
    yol yordam (yol yöntem) road methodthe right way to do (something)See Category 1 and 8, Turkish doublets.
    yollara düşmek to fall to the roads
  • to set off (on a journey) (for an important reason)
  • to go out and wander near and far (in search of sb/sth)
  • to take a show on the road
  • Tarkan yollara düşecek! Son albümü 'Dudu' ile büyük beğeni toplayan Tarkan, Türkiye turmesine İzmir'den start verecek. Tarkan will take his show on the road! Tarkan (who has gathered a lot of approval with his latest album, called 'Dudu') will start his tour of Turkey from Izmir. Gözcü Gazetesi, 22 August 2003
    (See photo-article at left.)
    yollu yolunca(place) which has a road in its proper way
    • in a proper way
    • 'according to Hoyle'
    Oruç Reis, sultan'ın yanına varınca peşkeş hediyelerini yollu yolunca verdi. When Skipper Oruç arrived at the side of the sultan, he gave the gifts (which were not his to give) in a way which appeared proper and above-board.
    yönündenfrom the directionfrom the standpoint of, with regard to, with respect toBu sözcükler, biçim ve anlam yönünden kalıplaşmışlardır. These words, from the standpoint of meaning and form, are stereotypes. Mehmet Hengirmen, Turkish Grammar, pg 403
    yufka yüreklifilo with hearttenderheartedMarjorie yufka yüreklidir; sorunları olanı görünce çok üzülür. Marjorie is tenderhearted; when she sees someone with a problem, she gets upset.
    yumurta kapıya dayanamadan an egg from leaning on the dooruntil the last minute, while there's just/still sufficient timeSee illustrative cartoon below...
    yumurta kapıya dayanmak (gelmek, sıkışmak) for an egg to lean on (come to, be hard pressed to) the door
    1. for a given period of time almost to be up
    2. for a situation to become desparate, for someone to be hard pressed
    Yumurta kapıya dayanana [dayanıncaya/gelene] kadar bekleme. Don't wait until the last minute (...until you are hard pressed).
    See illustrative cartoon below...

    Learn Turkish language

    The Lout -- Until the last minute...
    Right click or use Print Preview
    for image enlargement...

    Right click or use Print Preview
    for image enlargement...

    The Lout's riddling pal:
    I've got a riddle [problem] for you...
    Take an egg, a door and a Turkish person...
    The (quizzical) Lout:
    uh, er, umm...
    The Lout's riddling pal [continuing in the second panel]:
    What's the special feature in common among these words?
    The (self-deprecating) Lout:
    Our Turkish people [person] won't get moving
    until the very last minute [yumurta kapıya dayanamadan...].

    Thanks to:
    Gözcu/Asabi Gazetesi, Gerçek Yayıncılık A. Ş.
    (Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ, Owner)
    and Volkan Atalay, creator of  'Maganda, The Lout'.
    Ankara (5 May 2003)

    Learn Turkish language

    yürek hoplatmak to cause the heart to jump up (in the air)to cause the heart to flutter with excitement or desire

    Less than
    meets the eye!

    Now online!
    Click for enlargement.

    Bir Türk kızı kolay kolay bu bikiniyi giyemez. Ama Amerika'da yaşayan Seher Başak tatil için geldiği Akdeniz'de mini bikinisiyle yürek hoplattı. A [native] Turkish lass wouldn't [be seen to] wear this bikini very easily. But Seher Başak (a Turk who lives in America) made hearts flutter with this mini bikini when she came for her Mediterranean vacation. Gözcü Gazetesi, 12 June 2003 -- see at left for the 'full' story...
    yürek sızlamak
    (yüreği sızlamak)
    for the heart to ache
  • to be greatly sorry (for someone)
  • to be very moved (by a pathetic sight)
  • to be heart-breaking
  • See example sentence at
    ileri sürmek.
    yürürlüğe girmek to enter validity(for a law) to go into effect, come into force24 Kasım'da yürürlüğe giren ve Kur'an okumasını bilmeyen çocuklar ile yaşları, isteğe bağlı olarak eğitmeyi amaçlayan Kur'an Kursu Yönetmeliği, CHP'nin başlattığı kampanya ve bu kampanyaya malum medyanın verdiği destek sonucu, Sezer'in de devreye girmesiyle geri çekildi. The [new] Koran Course Regulation (whose aim is education that reflects the wishes of children and old people who don't know how to read the Koran [in Arabic]) went into effect on 24 November 2003... the CHP started a campaign [against the new regulation] which was supported by the obvious [secular] news media -- and the result was that Sezer pulled it from [voting consideration in] this session [of Parliament].
    yüz çevirmek
    to turn a faceto break off relations with; have nothing more to do with (sb)See example sentence at
    kör/şeytan talih.
    yüz üstü bırakmakto leave face upperto leave in the lurch, to leave things in an incomplete conditionTanrının sana emaneti olan halkı yüz üstü bıraktın. You left the people that God entrusted to you, in the lurch. E.B. Sapolya,
    From Yıldırım Beyazid Geliyor
    • yüz vermek
    • yüz vermemek
    • to give face
    • to not give face
    • to indulge, to be indulgent to, to spoil
    • not to indulge, not to be indulgent, not to spoil
    • See next panel below
      for illustrated usage...
    • Çocuklara yüz vermek, onları şımartmaktır.
      To indulge children is to spoil them.
    • Kadınlarsa yüz verdikçe başımıza çıkıyor. If [we are on the subject of] women, the more [we] indulge [them] the more they are taking [us] over...
      Halide Edıp Adıvar
    • Arsıza yüz verince astar da ister. Proverb
      When you give him/her an inch, she/he'll take a mile. [Lit. When you indulge a shameless man (with some cloth), he'll also want the lining.]

    Spoiling William Tell
    Using yüz vermek -- an illustration...

    Right click or see 'Print Preview' for options to 'View' larger image...

    William Tell, Junior: The ass has gotten spoiled by my overindulgence...
    [He's become spoiled the more he's been indulged -- the son of a donkey!]

    Thanks to:
    Selçuk Erdem
    author/artist of
    Karikatürler - 2
    published by
    January 2000
    Yüzünüz yabancı gelmedi.Your face doesn't come foreign.You look familiar.May be used as shown...
    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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    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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