Well the carrots are cooked! We hope you’re ready to start swallowing grass snakes, because we’ve got some of the most bizarre idioms – along with some information about their origins and meanings – for you to get excited about. It’s time to pay the duck (unless an elephant has stomped on your ear, of course!).
- To slide in on a shrimp sandwich
Language of origin: Swedish.
Meaning: It refers to somebody who didn’t have to work to get where they are.
Used in a sentence: “Wow, the CEO’s son really slid in on a shrimp sandwich.”
- To blow little ducks
Language of origin: Latvian
Meaning: To talk nonsense or to lie.
Used in a sentence: “Stop blowing little ducks, Monique! I know you stole all the shrimp sandwiches.”
- Enough to cobble dogs with
Language of origin: English (UK)
Meaning: Refers to a surplus of something. For instance, if a cobbler has enough leather to cobble an animal that has four feet, then that cobbler definitely has a surplus.
Used in a sentence: “There are enough idioms here to cobble dogs with.”
- The carrots are cooked!
Language of origin: French
Meaning: The situation can’t be changed
Used in a sentence: “It’s a shame Jeremiah has sold his cobbling business, but the carrots are cooked!”
- It jumped the shark
Language of origin: English (US)
Meaning: The moment a television show or other cultural phenomenon stops being relevant and starts being ridiculous.
Used in a sentence: “The latest episode of Hippos vs octopuses really jumped the shark this week.”
- You have tomatoes on your eyes
Language of origin: German
Meaning: When you can’t see what everyone else can (but refers to physical, real objects, rather than abstract meanings).
Used in a sentence: “Oh Eunice, you must have tomatoes on your eyes if you can’t see the large cat on my head.”
- To swallow grass snakes
Language of origin: French
Meaning: to be so insulted by something, you are unable to think of a reply or find the right words to say
Used in a sentence: “I can’t believe you’d say such a thing, Candice. I must have swallowed grass snakes!”
- The thief has a burning hat
Language of origin: Russian
Meaning: When someone has uneasy conscious that betrays itself.
Used in a sentence: “How did I know it was Mervyn’s fault? Let’s just say the thief has a burning hat.”
- Pay the duck
Language of origin: Portuguese
Meaning: To take the blame for something you did not do.
Used in a sentence: “I’ll pay the duck, even if it was actually Prunella who put the cat on Gwenda’s head.”
- Did an elephant stomp on your ear?
Language of origin: Polish
Meaning: To have no ear for music
Used in a sentence: “Crikey, Dermot, did an elephant stomp on your ear? That wasn’t music; it was the sound of dog being cobbled in a back alley.”
- The pussy cat will come to the tiny door
Language of origin: Croatian
Meaning: What goes around, comes around
Used in a sentence: “At first, it was hard for me to accept being left at the alter by Stefan for his super-secret agent ex-boyfriend, but then I realised: it’s just a matter of time before the pussy cat comes to the tiny door.”
12. There’s nothing in the rulebook that says a giraffe can’t play football!
Language of origin: English
Meaning: There’s nothing to stop you: do anything and everything that you can imagine
Used in a sentence: “You should totally set up a collective of creatives, where people can share awesome tips on writing, art, photography and everything else, and maybe even put together a list of a dozen crazy idioms that folk might enjoy. After all, there’s nothing in the rulebook that says a giraffe can’t play football!”