Finnish Idioms

While living in Finland, I learned of some of the Finnish idioms that give a wonderful glimpse into the Finnish mind & culture. Here are some of my favorites.

juosten kustu translates literally as, “pissing while running” which, if you’re a man and have ever had to do this, results in a wavy line in the snow. It means something done half-assed. Related but different is kusee hunajaa which means that you’re happy because you are “pissing honey.”

laittaa hanskat naulaan translates as, “hang up your mittens” which means you give up or, more specifically, are quitting your job. Because we all know that if you’re not wearing your mittens in sub-zero weather, you’re not going to be working.

irtoaa kuin mummon hammas or “comes loose like a grandmother’s tooth” is something that goes very easily. This is the opposite of kiven alla which is difficult to obtain because it is, “under a stone.”

joka kumartaa yhdelle, pyllistää toisille “when bowing to one person you show your ass to those behind you” could be cynically translated as standing on other peoples heads to get to the top.

juopon napit when you mis-match the buttons on your shirt, you have “drunkard’s buttons”

lukea kuin piru Raamattua translates as, “like the devil reads the Bible” or someone who reads something carefully to look for a loophole.

Any ones that you like?

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