Amusing Azerbaijani Idioms


You are sitting in a café in Azerbaijan. Although your Azerbaijani is not that fluent, you are still trying to sort out what people are conversing around you. Perhaps, your local friend is helping you with the translation. According to him, the person on a green chair is saying something about drinking water from his eyes. That girl drinking coffee with her friend is walking through the skies. You scratch your head and wonder: “What are these talks all about?”

Congratulations! This your first acquaintance with Azerbaijani idioms!

In Azerbaijani there are tons humorous phrases and expressions, and sometimes they should be taken literally. Some idioms, even though sounding too funny, are the best to describe concrete situations and circumstances.

Our list of incredibly weird and amusing idioms will help you to come to grips with the depth of common Azerbaijani conversations. Moreover, we will pick up English idioms corresponding to the actual meaning of these local idioms.

1. Gözüm su içmir [ GYO-ZYUM SOO EACH-MEER ]

Literal translation: “My eye does not drink water”

Meaning: Disliking smth/smb; to be suspicious; feel that something is wrong

English equivalent: Smell a rat; something fishy going on.

Bu sürücüdən heç gözüm su içmir, gəl başqa taksi sifariş edək.

I don’t trust this driver, let’s take another taxi.

2. Kül başına! [ KYUL BAH-SHI-NAH ]

Literal translation: “Ashes on your head!”

Meaning: A statement of dissatisfaction with someone.

English equivalent: Shame on you!

Kül başına! Bir dənə özünə yaxşı iş tapa bilmədin.

Shame on you! You couldn’t even get a proper job.

3. Nə var, nə yox? [ NAH VAR NA YOKH ]

Literal translation: “What you have, what you don’t?”

Meaning: What’s up?

English equivalent: How is it going? What’s up?

Nə var nə yox? İşlər nətərdi?

What’s up? How are you doing?

4. Ağır olmaq [ A-GHIR OL-MAKH ]

Literal translation: “To be heavy”

Meaning:Behaving seriously; being serious.

English equivalent: Stop horsing around.

Zarafatına nə deyim! Biraz ağır ol da!

Stupid joke, mate! Stop horsing around!

5. Göylə getmək [ GHO-I-LA GET-MAH ]

Literal translation: “Walk on the sky level”

Meaning: To go around/show off, enjoying yourself in a way that annoys other people or makes them jealous.

English equivalent: Show off; blow your own horn.

Bilirəm yaxşı futbol oynayırsan, amma bu qədər göylə getmə.

I know you play football very well, but stop blowing your own horn.

6. Basıb-bağlamaq [ BA-SIB BAGH-LA-MAKH ]

Literal translation: “Push and hold”

Meaning: To talk boastfully without intending on acting on your words; to talk without any evidence of the truth.

English equivalent: Be all mouth; talk through one’s hat.

Dünənki iclasda təzə müdir elə hey basıb bağladı. Nə maaşlar artacaq, nə də ki, yeni iş prosedurlarını həyata keçirəcək.

That new director was just all mouth at yesterday’s meeting – don’t expect any salary increase or him implementing new work procedures.

7. Özünü dartmaq [ O-ZOO-NOO DART-MAKH ]

Literal translation: “To pull yourself”


English equivalent: Toot your own horn

Özünü dartmaq kimi çıxmasın, amma dünən şahmatda səni babat uddum ha!

I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but at yesterday’s chess game I played you well.

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