The other day I learnt an interesting Swedish idiom – nu trampade jag verkligen i klaveret, which means “I really put my foot in it” or literally “now I really stepped (heavily) on the accordion / piano / keyboard”.
According to the Svenska Akademiens Ordböcker, trampa i klaveret means “göra en social tabbe” (to make a social mistake). Apparently it comes from the phrase “Det låter, sa bonden/klockaren, trampade i klavere” (It sounds, said the farmer / watchman, like trampling on the keyboard” [source].
To put one’s foot in it means “to say or do something tactless or embarrassing; commit a blunder or indiscretion.” [source]. The origins of this phrase are not known.
Other idioms involves musical instruments, or instrumental idioms, include:
- rhoi’r ffidl yn y to = to give up / throw in the towel (“to put the fiddle in the roof)
- to play second fiddle = to take a subordinate position to someone was is more important
- to blow one’s own trumpet = to boast about your own sucesses
- to blow the whistle (on sth/sb) = to report illegal / unacceptable activities
Do you know any more?