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Icelandic idioms

A collection of idiomatic expressions in Icelandic with English equivalents and translations.

Icelandic idioms English equivalents
Allt er gott sem endar vel All's well that ends well
Alveg út að aka To act crazy
lit. "Totally out driving"
Bera kápuna á báðum öxlum To blow hot and cold (to change one's opinion often)
lit. "To bear the coat on both shoulders"
Bæta gráu ofan á svart To add insult to injury, to make matters worse
lit. "To add gray on top of black"
Deila um keisarans skegg To dispute about trivialities
lit. "To quarrel about the emperor's beard"
Ég borga bara með reiðufé Okay, but I don't have to like it
lit. "I only pay with an angry sheep"
Ég kem alveg af fjöllum I have no idea what's going on
lit. "I come completely from mountains"
Enginn verður óbarinn biskup Practise makes perfect, nothing comes without hard work
lit. "No one becomes a bishop without a beating"
Fyrr skal ég dauður liggja Over my dead body
Gera úlfalda úr mýflugu To make a mountain out of a molehill
lit. "To make camels out of the sky"
Kaupa köttinn í sekknum To be sold a pig in a poke
lit. "To buy the cat in the sack"
Peningar vaxa ekki á trjám Money does not grow on trees
Rúsínan í pylsuendanum The cherry on the cake
lit. "The raisin at the end of the sausage"
Á milli steins og sleggju Between a rock and a hard place
Between the devil and the deep blue sea
lit. "Between the stone and the sword"
Áfram með smjörið Carry on, Get to work, Keep going
lit. "On with the butter"
Úr öskunni í eldinn Out of the frying pan into the fire
lit. "From the ash into the fire"
Það er betra að hafa vaðið fyrir neðan sig Better safe than sorry
lit. "It's better to have the ford beneath oneself"
Þetta er hebreska fyrir mér It's all Greek to me (I don't understand)
lit. "This is Hebrew to me"

Links

Collections of Icelandic idioms
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:Icelandic_idioms
http://maryrobinettekowal.com/journal/icelandic-idioms/
http://mentalfloss.com/article/64451/11-delightful-icelandic-words-and-phrases
https://www.voyagingviking.com/blog/funny-icelandic-phrases
http://icelandreview.com/stuff/views/2007/09/12/raisin-my-wiener

Information about Icelandic | Phrases | Numbers | Colours | Family words | Telling the time | Terms of endearment | Idioms | Tongue twisters | Tower of Babel | Learning materials

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More idioms

It's all Greek to me | It's raining cats and dogs | As easy as falling off a log | A sandwich short of a picnic | It's small world | When pigs fly | Out of sight, out of mind | Crystal-clear

Idioms in individual languages

Czech | French | Greek | Icelandic | Russian | Slovak | Spanish | Swedish | Welsh

Multilingual pages

Phrases | Numbers | Numerals | Colours | Telling the time | Weather words | Family words | Terms of endearment | Language names | Country names | Idioms | Proverbs | Tongue twisters | Signs | Compass directions | UDHR | Tower of Babel | Songs | Omniglot | Seven dwarfs | Zodiac signs | Computer parts | Compass directions | Animal sounds


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