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1.

Hoş geldiniz
”Your arrival is lovely”
Said as a greeting to visitors to make them feel at home.

2. Şeytan tüyü
“The devil’s feather”
What seems like an insult is actually a compliment used to describe someone who has a mysterious,
devilish charm.

3. Taş attı da kolu mu yoruldu?
“Did he throw a stone so his arm got tired?”
Said to berate someone who’s being lazy.

4. Bir yastıkta kocasınlar
“May they grow old with one pillow”
Kind of like telling couples to never go to bed angry, this is said to newlyweds who traditionally share a
single, long pillow in a marital bed.

5. Etekleri zil çalıyor
“The bells on their hems are ringing”
I recently learned this evocative saying used to describe someone who’s very excited.

6. Pabucu dama atıldı
“His shoe has been thrown onto the roof”
Often said of a father when a new baby monopolises the mother’s attentions, or by anyone who has
been passed over in favour of another.

7. Balık etli
“Fish fleshed”
Turkish men usually like women with a bit of meat on their bones, and this is a lovely compliment to
curvy girls.

İyi ki doğdun “It’s good that you were born” Turkish for Happy Birthday.8. . 10. 11. 13. Boşver means “let it go. it means there are plenty more fish in the sea. I think this expression is a lot more meaningful than the English version. Armut piş ağzıma düş “May the pear be cooked on the tree and fall into my mouth” This describes a person who doesn’t like to work. You might hear it featured as a lyric in love songs. El elden üstündür “A hand is superior to another person’s hand” Said to show that there’s always someone who can do a better job. to whom everything comes ready and done — or falls literally in their lap.” a la Frozen. Elini sallasa ellisi “If he waves his hand fifty will come” A great way to comfort a friend after a breakup. This is a great way of describing idle chatter — a lot like Irish craic. and I even use the literal English translation on my non-Turkish friends’ birthdays. often at length. Havadan sudan “Of the air and water” Turks love to chat. Ciğerimin köşesi “The corner of my liver” This anatomic description is actually used to describe someone who is very precious to you. 14. 12. Boşver “Give empty” Perhaps my favorite saying. and about nothing in particular. 9.

I love how it recognizes someone’s pain. 20.15. Battı balık yan gider “A sunken fish goes sideways” This one’s pretty hard to parse. Allah analı babalı büyütsün “May God let him/her grow up with both a mom and dad” Perhaps the most meaningful thing you could wish for a newborn child. 21. Geçmiş olsun “May it be the past” Said when someone is sick or has had a bad experience. Hayırlı olsun “May it be auspicious” Said whenever someone has a new undertaking. this phrase describes an older woman who retains her charms. but it means that the worst-case scenario has already happened (the fish has sunk). I do believe in the power of the evil eye and use this saying a lot. Nazar değmesin “May you not be touched by the evil eye” Said after giving a compliment. Ateş almaya gelmek “Coming over just for a light” You can cheekily accuse a visitor of this when you want them to stay a while longer. Cami yıkılmış ama mihrab yerinde ”The mosque is a ruin but the mihrap is standing” One of my personal favorites. 19. Although I’m a pretty rational person. so you might as well stop worrying and have some fun! 16. It’s like saying a church is in ruins but the pulpit is standing. such as a new job. it’s the opposite of “mutton dressed as lamb. 17.” 18. . Basically. but also expresses the hope that it will soon be behind them. particularly to a child.

24. and who only had baths once or twice a week. . Kafayı üşüttü “They’ve caught a cold in their head” Turks have a congenital fear of catching a chill. The sneezer then replies sende gör (may you also see my life) or hep beraber (may we all have many more years to live).) 28. Ellerine sağlık “Health to your hand” Said to someone who has created something beautiful with their hands. even a stranger on the street.22. will say this when you come out of the shower in case you catch a chill (see above). Çok yaşa “May you live long” Turkish for “bless you. Kolay gelsin ”May it be easy for you” This is a great way to acknowledge another person’s labors. 25. who has a difficult task at hand. 23. which can strike any part of your body. particularly to a cook or a Turkish mom after she’s cooked up a feast for her family. Sıhhatler olsun “May it bring your health” Older generations who grew up before hot running water in homes. (Benim) ilk göz ağrım “The first pain of my eye” This is said to a first love or first child to avoid giving them the evil eye (I used to feel very jealous when my grandmother said this to my brother.” çok yaşa is said after someone sneezes. her oldest grandchild. 27. If you’ve caught a cold in your head. it means you’ve gone crazy. Başınız sağolsun “May your head stay healthy” A thoughtful way of wishing someone condolences when they are grieving the loss of a loved one. 26.

sormamak ayıp It is not a shame not to know. 30. Güle güle gidin “May you go laughing” This is said to departing visitors to help take the edge off sad goodbyes 31. .29. Forced beauty won't do. Bir musibet bin nasihatten iyidir “One bad experience is worth a thousand warnings” No explanation needed. Barking dogs seldom bite. 32. 33. it is a shame not to ask. Bilmemek ayıp değil. Zorla güzellik olmaz.Havlayan köpek ısırmaz.

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