Greek idioms about food
Feta cheese (at the above photo)
Greek idioms about food
Food is important part of our daily routine and our culture. So, like all nations, we have many-many Greek idioms. And many of these Greek idioms are related to food or they are containing food references. Although they may come from different sources (e.g. from historical events or from folk myths or from phrases of historical figures) they have come to our consciousness to look like popular wisdom-philosophy.
I am quite sure that you are gonna lol the time you will read my article and you will fall off your chair. For that reason, …….HAVE FUUUUUN!!!
- Yπάρχουν και αλλού πορτοκαλιές που κάνουν πορτοκάλια = There are elsewhere orange trees that make oranges. That phrase’s meaning reflects the feeling of frustration from a love separation, but with the certainty that you will find someone else to love. Usually, your best friend tries to comfort you by telling you that phrase.
- Το μήλο κάτω από τη μηλιά θα πέσει = The apple will fall under the apple tree. Indicates that the daughter/son has the same characteristics or the character like her/his parent.
- Αγάλι-αγάλι γίνεται η αγουρίδα μέλι = Slowly, slowly the sour grape becomes honey. Meaning that you have to be patient with capricious people or in difficult situations.
- Όπου ακούς πολλά κεράσια κράτα μικρό καλάθι = Where you hear many cherries, keep a small basket. He promised this, but do not believe that he finally will do it, because he is untrasted.
- Λέει τα σύκα-σύκα και τη σκάφη-σκάφη/τα λέει τσεκουράτα = She/He calls figs-figs and troughs-troughs/he says with an ax. She/He says it as it is, without distorting the truth.
- Τον πιάσανε στα πράσα = They caught him in leeks. They caught him during his illegal/unlawful/ lawless act (it is concerning an illegal business act or an unfaithful husband’s act).
- Κάποιο λάκκο έχει η φάβα = There’s a pit in the fava (fava beans at the picture). There is a setup/trap/catch at this business agreement.
- Κουβαλάω κρασί και πίνω ξύδι = I carry wine and drink vinegar. With that phrase we mean that even we are working hard enough we cannot enjoy the reward as someone else grabs it.
- Άπραγος στο ζύμωμα, στραβά κουλούρια πλάθει = Inactive in the dough, crooked buns are molded (and not straight yet). He is a beginner/newbie at work.
- Βγάζει από κρύο φούρνο ζεστό ψωμί = He takes hot bread out of a cold oven. This means that he is very-very capable of accomplish in whatever he undertook.
- Για να ζυμώσεις το πρωί, αποβραδίς κοσκίνισε = To ferment in the morning, sift in the evening. You have to be prepared and not leave everything to the last minute.
- Ο νηστικός καρβέλια ονειρεύεται = The hungry loaf dreams. Anyone can have a desire about something that she/he do not have, so much that she/he even sees it in her/his dreams.
- Μαζί φάγαμε ψωμί και αλάτι = Together we ate bread and salt. We have been through many situations together and we have a lot of history. This particular phrase is mostly popular among men the moments when stories are told for the period they served in the army.
- Δεν έχει ψωμί αυτή η δουλειά. Δε βγαίνει βούτυρο = This job has no bread. No butter comes out. Meaning that this job has no profit.
- Κάλλιο το σημερινό ψωμί παρά η αυριανή πίτα/Κάλλιο 5 και στο χέρι παρά 10 και καρτέρι=Today’s bread is better than tomorrow’s pie/Better 5€ and in the hand than 10€ and waiting. Meaning: I prefer to have something secure today rather than expecting for something doubtful tomorrow.
- Πάτησε το ψωμί που φάγαμε μαζί = Ηe stepped on the bread we ate together. Ηe did not keep the oath he gave me as a friend.
- Με το μέλι τρως πιο πολύ ψωμί παρά με το ξίδι = With honey you eat more bread than with vinegar. When you are acting nice and with kindness, you can earn more from a situation than when you are behaving bad.
- Όποιος βαριέται να ζυμώσει πέντε μέρες κοσκινίζει = Anyone who is bored to ferment for five days sifts. The truant people want to avoid a heavy job. Consequently, they postpone it by presenting various excuses.
- Τ’ αγόρασε για ένα κομμάτι ψωμί = He bought it for a piece of bread. He bought something very cheaply, for a small fee, because it was a bargain.
- Λίγα τα ψωμιά του, λίγα τα καρβέλια του = A little of his bread, a little of his loaves. Τhis is said for someone who is in danger of death (like James Bond. He was always in danger of death. In every scene. Ohhh, I am anxiously expecting the new movie) or is about to die.
- Πώς βγάζεις το ψωμί σου; = How do you make your bread? When you ask someone -you have time to see- this question, you mean how do you earn money for the essentials?
- Χωρίς προζύμι, ψωμί δε γίνεται = Without yeast, bread is not possible. You must make some preparation and savings of course, in order for you to achieve your goals to buy something later.
- Κάποιος φούρνος γκρεμίστηκε = An oven was demolished. She/He has always programmed and precision movements-program-procedures, that she/he really caught as unprepared when she/he changed her/his routine.
- Βράζει στο ζουμί του/της = Boil in his/her broth. He/she is pissed off (angry, upset) about something and he/she constantly thought about it.
- Βράσε ρύζι = Boil rice. It’s an expression to show that a situation turns out to be bad and we are hoping that it will not get worse.
- Δε θέλει ρύζι με νερό. Θέλει νερό με ρύζι = He does not want rice with water. He wants water with rice. He is very capricious/quirky/cranky person.
- Δεν τρώγεσαι (ούτε ωμός ούτε ψημένος) = I cannot eat you(neither raw nor cooked). This phrase shows us that if someone is really wayward, then we are really frustrated with him and we can not and we do not want to associate with him.
- Οι πολλοί μάγειροι χαλούν τη σούπα = Many cooks spoil the soup. Ιn cases where there are many opinions, then the project will fail.
- Πάτησε την πίτα = He stepped on the pie. He fell into a trap.
- Πέσε πίτα να σε φάω = Drop pie to eat you. This saying is said about the extremely lazy, who are waiting for everything ready. He do not want to make an effort to achieve something by his own.
- Των φρονίμων τα παιδιά πριν πεινάσουν μαγειρεύουν/Τα του γάμου, πριν το γάμο = The wise children cook before they are hungry/The things about the wedding, before the wedding. This idiom explain to us that the wise people take care of their necessities in time.
- Κάθε πράγμα στον καιρό του κι ο κολλιός τον Αύγουστο = Everything in its time and the mackerel fish in August. Everything has to be done at their own proper time. And you will miss the opportunity eventually, if you do not do it then.
- Τι είναι ο κάβουρας, τι το ζουμί του; = What is the crab, what is its broth? Τhis is something so insignificant in value or quantity (like the minimal juice that the crabs have) that no one can take advantage of it.
- Είναι λουκούμι = It is loukoumi (loukoumi is a delight from island of Siros available in various flavors, the most common of which are rose (red loukoumi), bergamot (green loukoumi) and island Chios signature flavor mastic (yellow loukoumi). The above phase means that the food is so delicious like a sweet loukoumi. The below phrase <<σου έρχεται λουκούμι>>, means that this dress/jean/blouse it fits you very well.
- Φθηνός στη ζάχαρη κι ακριβός στο αλεύρι = He is cheap in sugar and expensive in flour. It used ironically for those who prefer unimportant and trivial matters over those that are meaningful or great.
- Περί ορέξεως κολοκυθόπιτα = Concerning appetite, pumpkin pie (meaning the sweet pumpkin pie with butternut squash). As a result, this phrase is being used ironically. People have their own preferences and thinks the way they want. Maybe this seem pretty strange to us, as they are contrary to our own mind (concerning not only food, but we have difference of opinion for -let’s say- politics or how to raise children or how to spend our money or how we want to be buried or whether we prefer people of the same sex or not etc etc.). But, be careful, never with a critical mood, just query.
- Άμα βρεις φαΐ, φάε. Αν βρεις ξύλο φύγε/ Όπου σου λεν να φας, φάε κι όπου δέρνουν φύγε = If you find food, eat. If you find wood, leave/Wherever they tell you to eat, eat and wherever they beat you go. Here the wood has the meaning of the fight. So, if you find people wrestling/battle then you should go or maybe you will hurt.
- Εδώ τρως και πίνεις κι αλλού πας και το δίνεις = Here you eat and drink and elsewhere you go and give it. It concerns unfaithful married people who eat (here eat has multiple meaning eat+drink+tidy up+clean-iron yourself) at their home with their legitimate husband/wife, but they are having sex in another house – with their illicit relationship.
- Θα φάμε αέρα κοπανιστό = We will eat beaten air. We didn’t prepare anything to eat, so we do not have something to eat, except for the air.
- Έφαγε τον αγλέορα/ Έφαγε τ΄ άντερά του= He ate the ‘agleora’/He ate his intestine. He/She ate too much (* I am really-terribly sorry about that, but I think that the word agleora there is no exist in another language or I have ignorance about that. Let me know if you are aware of something about that.).
- Πεθαίνω της πείνας = I am dying due to hunger/famine. Meaning I am starving.
- Μπουκιά και συγχώριο = Bite and forgiveness. Every bite of this food is so tasty. So, even if I am eating more of it, I’m forgiven (by God or by my nutritionist doctor). Alternatively, it used to show that someone I saw on the street is so-so truly handsome that I will be forgiven for the “unethical” thoughts I had when I saw him/her.
- Φάε λάδι και έλα βράδυ = Eat olive oil and come in the evening. Like mussels, so olive oil has aphrodisiac stimulating qualities and this phrase urges the interlocutor to come at night with mood for sex.
- Με πορδές δεν βάφονται αυγά/τα αγαθά κόποις κτώνται = With farts you cannot dye eggs/good things come after works. This two slang phrases mean that in order to achieve something, someone has to organize and try hard. The good and desired result is not something that comes easily, but you should try for it.
- Ρίχνει αλάτι στη συζήτηση = He adds salt to the discussion. He is quarrelsome and disputatious and interferes in the discussion of others in order to make them altercate and wrangle.
- Του κρέμασαν κουτάλια = They hung spoons on him. This is a phrase we say to someone when he arrives late for lunch/dinner. Actually, the origin of the phrase is Byzantine, since for the Byzantines the gathering of all family members around the table was a ritual. Anyone who was late fasted couldn’t eat until the next meal. Besides,they hung his spoon at the wall, so he can not eat. (You can read about our believe in food -which I think is similar to the Byzantine’s- at this article of mine).
- Τρώγοντας έρχεται η όρεξη = Eating comes the appetite. This one refers to acquisitions or successes that motivate new acquisitions or new successes.
- Tο τραβάει η όρεξή μου/η καρδιά μου = it pulls my appetite/my heart. I want to repeat something that I have done at the past and that has pleased me.
As you can see above, the Greek language is full of idioms and since food is important part of our balanced Mediterranean diet and our profound history, there are many vernacularisms, proverbs and saying to our everyday life which they are ironic or humorous or even instructive sometimes.
OMG……., I hope that you will not find this article extemporaneous, because I am sure that I forgot many other Greek idioms about food (here we have 49 of them), but after all this thinking I feel like I am burning out my mind right now. Sooo, see you soon and -for your own state of mind- I am proposing to not try to learn all these Greek idiom slangs. Hahaaa!
Travel tip: I will give you some advice: Do not count the calories of the Greek food. Just enjoy it whilst you are here.
If you liked: Greek idioms about food, then check also: Famous quotes about food