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"
Collections of Icelandic idioms
If you would like to make any corrections or additions to this page, or if you can provide recordings, please contact me.
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 | Penny Pinching | Practice makes perfect
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