Two men in Tbilisi playing chess

Strange Georgian idioms worth learning

Idioms are phrases with symbolic meaning designed to express popular knowledge in fun and abstract ways. Normally, regional sayings start from a noteworthy event or story and then develop and gain their own wide acceptance.

Georgia has a long, rich, and diverse history, which means there are a lot of idioms that may not make any sense to you. Here are the top 5 Georgian sayings you should know.

1. Going through the snake hole

The idiom «Going through the snake hole» (Georgian: gvelis khvrelshi gasvla) has quite an interesting meaning. Imagine being in front of the snake and walking straight into the snake pit. Quite dangerous, and most people might be very afraid of it. But with this idiom, Georgians just want to say that someone would do everything, even walk through the snake hole, in order to achieve his goals.

2. Being between two fires

When Georgians say that someone «is between two fires» (Georgian: or tsetskhlshua chavardna), they mean that this person must be in a difficult situation. Being between two fires means having two or even more options or decisions to make, which puts you in a dilemma.

3. Sugar to your mouth

The idiom «sugar to your mouth» (Georgian: shens pirs shakari) is among the most popular ones in Georgia. It is used quite every day. If somebody really wants to achieve something (f.e. getting a new job or buying a new car), the other person tells «sugar to your mouth» which means, in this case, «let it happen» or «may it come true». I mean, yeah, who doesn’t like sugar in the mouth?

4. Having seven Fridays in a day

The idiom «having seven Fridays in a day» (Georgian: shvidi paraskevi gakvs dgheshi) is not that popular, but an easy and polite way to tell someone that you don’t like his idea. It is mostly used towards people who always change their minds or opinions. In this case, you tell them that they have seven Fridays in a day.

5. The raven is the aunt of the jay

In Georgia, the families are often big and always very important for the people. Therefore, it is normal for Georgians to know all their relatives from both dad’s and mom’s sides. It is quite common that the number of relatives can reach more than 100 people. Of course, Georgians do not have contact with all of them in everyday life, but they are still formally considered as a family.

The saying «the raven is the aunt of the jay» (Georgian: kvavi chkikhvis mamida) is intended for cases when you are connected to someone, but distantly, to be close to each other. Just as ravens and jays don’t have much in common, they’re still technically related to each other, as they’re both birds.

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