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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Euphemisms and Idioms

Your squid just got fried!.

Conversing entirely in Cantonese is a struggle for me with my limited vocabulary of the Chinese language. And having a dialogue with my mom-in-law is the biggest challenge as she does not speak English.

Me: How's Grand Aunt?

Mom-in-law : Gone to sell salted eggs.

Me: I didn't know she was in the salted egg business.

My mom-in-law burst into laughter, shaking her head at me. OOPS! Caught again! Dang those euphemisms! The Chinese language is full of them.

''Sell salted eggs" is the Cantonese euphemism for croaked, bite the dust, six feet under, kicked the bucket or pushing up daisies. You get the picture.

I didn't know what a camel-toe and the phrase "Aunt Flo is in town" were until I started blogging!

Here's a list for the verbally -challenged

1. Bat in the cave
Booger stuck in the nose

2. Step on a frog
To pass gas loudly

3. I’ve got the flags out
Having your period (Australia)

4.Burp the baby
Male masturbation

5. Up the duff
Unplanned pregnancy ( UK and Australia)

6. Pinch a loaf

7. Driving the porcelain bus
Puking (Australia)

9. Fried squid (Chinese)
Getting fired

Funnily, the Malays seem to have something against the chicken as you can see from the following idioms. Poor bird! Ayam is chicken in Malay.
1. Chicken scratch ( cakar ayam)
Bad handwriting

2. As warm as chicken poop ( hangat-hangat tahi ayam)
A short-lived interest (chicken poop cools as soon as it reaches the ground)

3. Mother hen (ibu ayam)

4. Like a chicken pooping chalk (seperti ayam berak kapur)
Looking pale when one is unwell.

And what's with the Yiddish and onions!!

1. He should grow like an onion with his head in the ground
Go take a hike

2. Onions should grow from your navel
An insult

3. Onion tears
Crocodile tears

Do you have an interesting idiom/euphemism to share?
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

This week's cookies


  1. up the duff. i like that one. the idiom, not necessarily what it means lol :)

  2. I knew that fried squid=fired, but not the salted egg one! And chicken=prostitute is the same in Cantonese as well. Fun list!

  3. I think I've only heard about two of those, ever!

    This was really fun to read!

  4. That conversation with your MIL is hilarious. I've never heard of "sell salted eggs". See, I just learned a new phrase, well, many more idioms from you. I don't speak Chinese that well either, but when I was working, I have one Chinese worker who always used those four idioms like "smiling girl, hidden knife" which means the girl is nice to your face but will backstab you. I also learned "do the tai chi" which means pass the work to someone else.

  5. This one is similar to one you've posted, but I'll share anyway. My daughter, now 27, says the best advice I gave her when she was in college was that making a habit of "hugging the porcelain god" wasn't something a decent guy would find attractive. I imparted this advice after a hearing one too many hangover stories...

  6. aaahahahaha too funny! I have hear a couple of these but most are new for me.

  7. Onions should grow from your navel - oh, I love it! That is how I'm going to insult people from now on. Not that I do a lot of insulting, but maybe I'll start ;).


  8. I've never heard the salted eggs term either. Thanks for letting us know! :)

  9. Oh dear the mother in law conversation did make me laugh! I've heard of some of these with "Bat in the Cave" being one that makes me giggle every time! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

  10. haha brilliant! love things like this :) always really funny to see what gets said and what it actually means #KCACOLS

  11. This is really interesting!
    The mother in law conversation made me laugh! I've only heard of a couple of these. " Step on a frog" and "Oninons should grow from your navel" are brilliant!
    Laura xx

    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday:)

  12. haha your mil conversation really did make me laugh. I did actually know some of those and have actually used them before too #kcacols

  13. Haha! I found this really interesting!! Number 4 worried me - I've often said I'm going I burp the baby, and meant just that!! Lol!!