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LPT SymbolThe Plain English Meanings of
Turkish Idioms
Beginning with the letter 'A'...

If you've ever felt lost trying to follow a Turkish conversation,
it may be because of these
'comprehension killers'

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Idioms beginning with 'B'
Idioms beginning with 'G'
Idioms beginning with 'Z'
'House favorite' idioms...

Overheard at the 'RakI Rendezvous' in downtown Cappadocia...

What's an idiom, Marvin?
It's a phrase or an expression with a meaning all its own, Mabel --
that's not immediately understandable from the words used in it.
Like, 'sit your ass in a tub of butter' in English --
which means 'get yourself into a favorable situation'.

Oh Marvin, why do you always have to push the envelope so?
I dunno, Mabel...
Guess it runs in the family...
My old maid aunt, Mary, yusta scatter pearls like that
at tea time on Sundays --
especially when we had high muckety muck guests.
And you shoulda seen the blue noses quiver.

I copy, Marv. It musta been like shootin' fish in a barrel...And since the high hats couldn't find shelter, I guess they just had to sweat it out...

I guess we have to admit that
English idioms can be confusing too, sometimes...

Click Here!

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We know you've seen reference books written for
English speakers about English and American Idioms.
And you may have seen books for Turkish speakers on the same subject.
You may even have seen books for
Turkish speakers about Turkish Idioms -- all in Turkish.
But have you ever seen
a reference for English speakers about Turkish Idioms?
Well, when we couldn't find one after looking for seven years,
we decided to do-it-ourselves.
Observe our humble sampling just for Turkish idioms that begin
with the letter A…

And don't overlook the clickable links for
voice recordings [Sounds] and for
the sidebar entries entitled,
The Rest of the Idiom Story
which cover interesting 'origins' of the idioms
found in the following table ...

Turkish Idioms beginning with the letter A
[Ab] [Ac] [Aç] [Ad] [Af] [Ag] [Ah] [Ak] [Al] [Am] [An] [Ar] [As] [As] [At] [Av] [Ay] [Az]

The Turkish

The Literal English Meaning

The 'Plain' English Meaning

Comments and Examples

aba altIndan degnek (veya 'sopa') göstermek

to show a stick (or 'bat') under the cloak

  • to speak softly but carry a big stick
  • to cause fear, indirectly

'Söyle yaparIm, böyle ederim' diye bize aba altIndan degnek gösteriyordu.

He was threatening us indirectly by saying that he would do this or that.

Aba bulamaz etine, atlas yamar götüne.

He can't even find coarse wool for his skin, but he patches over his ass with satin.

The expression above is considered
just a little

Even though he is poor, he likes to show off.

may be used as shown...

AbacI, kebeci; (ya) sen neci?

He makes coarse wool and felt jackets. And you, what's your line of work?

It's all right for him to talk about this subject, because he's got first-hand knowledge. But what makes you think you know enough about it to butt in?

may be used as shown...

abanoz kesilmek

to suddenly turn into ebony

to harden extremely

Agaç kütügü abanoz kesilmisti sanki.

It became as hard as a tree trunk.

abayI yakmak

to burn the coarse wool coat

to give your heart to someone; to fall desperately in love

Yoksul bir çoban zengin adamIn kIzIna abayI yakmIs.

(Available on CD)

A poor shepherd boy fell in love with the rich man’s daughter.

abayI sermek

to spread out the coarse wool coat

to make yourself at home, move in on somebody


Abbas yolcu

'Abbas' traveler

  • "I'm taking off, and that's that!"
  • One cannot detain one who has to go.
  • "He/she's about to die."

Abbas yolcuyum.

I’m outta here!

[Sounds] Hear it now! -- (4k bytes)

Click for, The Rest of the Idiom Story!

abdal dili dökmek

to pour/pour out dervish tongue/language

for one person to try to persuade another -- using (only) 'smooth' talk


ablukaya almak

to take blockade

to [make a] blockade

Sehri ablukaya almIslardI.

It was reported that they blockaded the city.

ablukayI kaldIrmak

to lift/raise a blockade


iki ay sonra ablukayI kaldIrdIlar.

Two months later they lifted the blockade.

ablukayI yarmak

to split/cleave a blockade

to run a blockade

Kahramanca savasmIs, ablukayI yarmIslardI.

It's said that they battled heroically, and ran the blockade.

abone olmak

(Available on CD)

to be a subscriber

  • to become a regular at…
  • become an habitué of (a place)…

abuk sabuk konusmak

(Available on CD)

to talk nonsensically

same as literal translation

Böyle abuk sabuk konusmayI bIrak da, beni iyi dinle.

[Sounds] Hear it now! -- (4k bytes)

Stop talking nonsensically, and listen well to what I say.

abur cubur

(Available on CD)

  • food eaten in casual snacks
  • haphazard, confused speech
  • ordinary, common-place (person)


Abur cubur seylerle karnInI doyurmak dogru degildir.

[Sounds] Hear it now! -- (4k bytes)

It's not right to fill up your stomach with junk food.

acayibine gitmek

to go to strange

  • to find (someone or something) very strange/odd
  • to seem strange

Bu nasIl adam, çok acayibime gitti yaptIklarI.

[Sounds] Hear it now! -- (8k bytes)

What sort of man is this, the things he does seem very strange to me.

acayip kaçmak

to tend toward strange

for words or actions to seem strange/odd

Söyledikleri çok acayip kaçtI.

The things they say seem very odd.

aceleye gelmek

to come hurried

  • for a job not to be done carefully because of time limitations
  • to do a job hastily and carelessly

Aceleye geldi, yoksa daha iyi olurdu.

We would have done [a] better [job], but time ran out.

aceleye getirmek

to bring hurried

  • to do a job haphazardly -- without caring
  • to deceive someone while acting or doing something quickly

ZamanIm var, aceleye getirmeyin.

(Available on CD)

I’m not in a hurry, so don't do a quick and dirty job.

Aceleye getirip istedigi parayI benden kopardI.

He took my money while he quickly did what he wanted.

Acem kIlIcI gibi...

Note by AA: 'Acem' is the ancient Turkish proper noun for Persia.

General Note: The Redhouse Turkish-English-Turkish CD Dictionary warns, 'Acem is a word to be avoided because it is resented by Iranians.' (See also acemi çaylak.)

...like a Persian sword (i.e., a double-edged sword).

two faced, double dealing.

Ona güvenme, acem kIlIcI gibi, bir de bakarsIn senin karsInda yer almIs.

Don't trust her, she's two-faced and might oppose your position.

acemi çaylak

General Note: There is no warning in the Redhouse Turkish-English-Turkish CD Dictionary against the use of the word acemi (but, see acem kIlIcI gibi...)

an inexperienced 'kite' (the hawk-like bird)
Note by AA: 'Acem' is the ancient Turkish proper noun for Persia. And, 'acemi' (see next entries also) is a derived adjective which has an anectodal origin. To make a long story short, an Acemi, which formerly meant 'a Persian', later came to mean 'an inexperienced person' and after a while, was no longer capitalized as a 'Proper Noun'.

  • a raw or clumsy or awkward or inexperienced person
  • a "rookie" in all senses of the word. An inexperienced (and somewhat gullible too) person.

Ondan daha fazlasInI beklemeyin, acemi caylagIn biridir.

He's a clumsy fellow, so don't expect too much of him.

Click for, The Rest of the Idiom Story!

Acemi çaylak bu kadar uçar.

That is how an inexperienced hawk flies.

  • That's all you can expect from a clumsy person.
  • That's all you can expect from a raw, green, immature youth.

See ‘acemi çaylak’ above.

acemilik çekmek

to tow inexperience

to suffer from inexperience

Yeni isimde ilk üç ay çok acemilik çektim.

I suffered from inexperience in the first three months of my new job.

acemilik etmek

to do/make inexperience

  • to behave in an 'inexperienced' way (not necessarily 'thoughtlessly')
  • to behave thoughtlessly

Acemilik edip sonunu beklemedik.

We didn't act thoughtlessly and we didn't expect that result.

acI çekmek

to pull or bear pain/bitterness

  • to feel long-lasting pain
  • to feel distress, unhappiness, sorrow sadness

AdamIn acI çektigi her halinden belliydi.

It was evident that the man suffered pain all the time.

acIndan ölmek

to die of hunger


Afrika'da binlerce insan acIndan ölüyor.

In Africa thousands of people die of hunger.

acIsI içine (yüregine) çökmek (islemek)

for pain to penetrate inside

  • for (something) to hurt deeply, to hurt (someone's) feelings very much
  • to give someone cause to be distressed or grieving
  • to cut (someone) to the quick

O günlerin acIsI içime çöktü, olup bitenleri unutacagImI sanmIyorum.

I was hurt very deeply in those days, I don't think I can forget how things ended.

acIsInI bagrIna basmak

to press pain to the breast/heart

to bear sorrow without complaining

AcIsInI bagrIna basmIs, kimseye bundan söz etmemisti.

They say he kept his sorrow to himself, and didn't talk about it with anyone.

acIsInI çekmek

to pull the pain

  • to suffer the consequences (for bad behavior)
  • to pay the penalty for
  • to suffer for

Gençliginde yaptIklarInIn yaslIlIkta acIsInI çekiyor.

He is suffering in old age for the things he did in his youth.

aç açIk kalmak

(Available on CD)

hunger, to remain open

  • to be left homeless
  • to lose everything

YangIndan sonra yüzlerce aile aç açIk kalmIstI.

After the fire hundreds of families were reported to be homeless.

aç doyurmak

to fill up a hungry person

to help and nuture the poor

AçlarI doyur, yoksullarI giydir.

He feeds and clothes the poor.

aç kurt gibi

hungry as a wolf

with great desire, inclination, appetite (related to eating, gathering together, attacking)

Yemeklere aç kurt gibi saldIrdIlar.

(Available on CD)

They attacked their food like hungry wolves.

  • Iga alInmak
  • Iga almak

to take out to [the] open

  • to suspend
  • to 'lay off' temporarily from a job (as a government official/employee).
HaklarInda idari sorusturma açIlan memurlar, sorusturma sonuçlanana kadar açIga alInIrlar.

Those employees who are subject to an investigation are suspended (from work, office) until the investigation is concluded.

Önce açIga almIs, sonra yargIlamIslardI.

They reportedly laid him off first, and then tried him in court.

Iga çIkarIlmak

to be brought to the open
  • Primary meaning:
    To be brought to daylight, to be discovered (as a result of an inquiry, etc.)
  • Secondary meanings no longer in use (since 1995):
    • to be removed from office
    • for a job or a mission to be brought to an end
    • to be on temporary staff
Primary meaning example:
Kara kutu bulundu ve uçagIn düsme nedeni açIga çIkarIldI: Pilot hatasI.

The black box was found and the reason for the plane crash was discovered: It was 'Pilot Error'.

Secondary meaning example:
Iga çIkarIlan görevliler arasInda ben de vardIm.

I too was among the officials who were let go.

Iga vurmak

to hit to the open

  • to announce and explain to everyone a subject that has been kept secret
  • to bring a matter out into the open, reveal, disclose
  • (for a situation) to become apparent, evident, become clear

Bir haftadIr içinde sakladIgI sIrrIIga vurunca çok ferahladI.

He was relieved when the secret he had concealed was revealed within a week.

Ik bono vermek
(AçIk çek vermek)

to give a bank bond, a bill, an IOU, or other certificate of indebtedness

  • to give someone a blank check
  • to give someone carte blanche
  • to give someone complete authority to act on their own initiative
  • to vest someone with authority

Ik fikirli

open minded
  • placing high value on new ideas and concepts
  • broad-minded, enlightened, liberal-minded

Ik kapI bIrakmak

to leave an open door
  • to leave someone with room to maneuver
  • to leave someone some leeway
  • not to tie one's hands

sünsünler diye karsIsIndakilere bir açIk kapI bIrakmIstI.

Because of the things you're concerned about, he gave some maneuvering room to the other side.

Ik kart vermek

to give an open card

to give complete authority to someone -- to carry out work in your name

Gerekirse sana açIk kart da verim.

If necessary, I'll also give you complete authority.

Ik olmak

to be open

to be sincere and completely honest in dealings with others

ArkadaslarIna karsIIk ol, oldugun gibi görün.

Be sincere toward your friends, appear like you (really) are.

Ik oturum

open session

  • a panel discussion
  • a meeting about a specific subject where everyone at the meeting may ask questions and express opinions in an open manner

isimizin bugünkü durumu üzerine bir açIk oturum düzenlendi.

He arranged an open panel discussion on the situation today, of our business.

Ik saçIk

open and explicit

  • something too liberal (as to language or anatomy); off-color, risqué, bawdy
  • something rude, indecent, immodest (as with clothing)
  • something that is found disgraceful by many (people)

O sinemada açIk saçIk filmler gösterilirdi.

Kinky films are shown at that cinema house.

Ik seçik

open clear

  • definitely, clearly
  • definite, clear
  • quite/very clear

YazInIn açIk seçik bir anlatImI var.

The meaning of the article is very clear.

Ik yürekle

with open heart

without hidden reservations, frankly


Ik yürekli


open hearted, candid


Iktan açIga

from open to open

openly, without dissembling

Iktan açIga adayla alay ettiler.

They openly ridiculed the candidate.

açlIk çekmek

to endure hunger

to be poor/impoverished

Savas yIllarInda ne açlIk çektik anlatamam.

I can't describe the poverty during the war years.

AçtI agzInI yumdu gözünü.

He opened his mouth, he clenched his eyes.

  • He flew off the handle (lost his temper.)
  • He said some very heavy words in anger.

may be used as shown...

Adam degilim!

I'm not a man!

I'll be damned!
(I strongly support [it]!/I strongly do not support [it!])

may be used as shown...

adam evladI

man offspring

  • a person of good family and upbringing
  • a serious-minded, sedate, sober person
  • someone inspiring respect

Meger adam evladIymIs, bize çok yardIm etti.

It seems he's well brought up, he helped us a lot.

Adam sen de!

You are a man too!

C'mon, man! Don't worry/Take it easy/Never mind.

may be used as shown

adama dönmek

  • to return to human being
  • to become a human
  • (for someone or something) to turn from bad to good
  • to (finally) realize a desirable condition
  • to begin to go well
  • to look presentable
  • to look like someone/something

Eh, iste simdi adama dönmüssün!

Well, look…you finally made it! You're a success!

(The same phrase could be said to a man who has just returned from the barber where he had his long scraggily hair shorn.)

adamdan saymak (sayIlmak)

to count [somebody] as a human being (to be counted as a human being)

(for someone) to be worthwhile

Birkaç lira paran var diye kendini adamdan mI sayIyorsun?

Just because you've got a few lira, do you think you're somebody?

adamIna düsmek

to wind up with an individual

  • to fall into the hands of an expert
  • to meet (by chance) with a competent person

Çok sükür, tam adamIna düssüm, kIsa sürede isimi yaptI, bitirdi.

Thank God I fell into the hands of an expert! In a short time he started and finished my job.

  • âdembaba (adembaba)
  • Âdem Baba (Adem Baba)
  • man-father
  • 'Father Adam' (alludes to Adam, the first Biblical and Koranic man on earth -- therefore no clothes.)
  • bedraggled tramp
  • trampish-looking tourist
  • stark naked man
    See also anadan üryan
Adem baba kIlIgInda dolasIyordu.

He was wandering around stark naked.
(He was wandering around in the appearance of 'Father Adam'.)

aforoz etmek

  • to freeze someone out of one's social circle or group
  • to excommunicate (from a Christian religious affiliation)


SInIfça onu aforoz etmistik.

We froze him out of the class (activities).

agaç olmak

to become a tree

to stand and wait a long time

Burada seni bekleye bekleye agaç olduk!

We waited and waited and waited for you here!
(We became trees waiting and waiting here for you!)

Agaca çIksa pabucu yerde kalmaz.

If he goes up in a tree, his shoes don’t remain on the ground.

  • He’s very cautious, he doesn’t easily get into trouble.
  • She’s careful, not easily led astray.

Onu merak etmeyin, agaca çIksa pabucu yerde kalmaz.

Don’t worry about her, she’s not easily led astray.

Click for, The Rest of the Idiom Story!

agIr top

heavy cannon/artillery

a 'big gun', an important or powerful person

The phrase is used, for example, when referring to key persons of opposing groups.

agzI dört köse olmak

to be four corners mouth

to be all smiles


AgzI torba degil ki büzesin!

  • His/her mouth is not a bag whose opening can simply be squeezed shut.
  • Let not the mouth bag be constricted!

You can't stop someone talking!

may be used as shown...

AgzI var, dili yok.

He has a mouth, he has no tongue.

  • He's very quiet.
  • He's no bother.
  • He doesn't oppose anybody/anything.

may be used as shown...

AgzIna saglIk!

Health to your mouth!

Well said!

may be used as shown...

AgzIna vur, lokmasInI al!

  • Hit him/her in the mouth, grab his/her food.
  • Hit his mouth, take his cake!

He's a real pushover!

may be used as shown...

agzIndan çIkanI kulagI isitmemek

  • to not hear one's own words coming from one's own mouth
  • to [pretend] not to hear words coming from one's mouth to one's ear
  • to not [or to pretend not to] realize what [harsh] things one is saying
  • to be carried away with one's temper
  • because of anger, to say rude, offensive, hurtful things
BagIrIyor, agzIndan çIkanI kulagI isitmiyordu.

He was just hollering, he wasn't realizing what he was saying.

AgzIndan yel alsIn!

Let wind take (it) away from your mouth!

Heaven forbid!
Don't say that!

may be used as shown...

  • agzInI dagItmak
  • agzInI burnunu dagItmak
  • to scatter/distribute or to break/dissolve [his] mouth
  • to scatter [his] mouth and nose
  • to hit someone in the mouth, to 'smack someone in the kisser'
  • to hit someone in the face, to 'clobber' someone with a blow to the face

AgzInI hayra aç!

Open your mouth to good omens!

Don't say such a thing -- it is a bad omen!

may be used as shown...

agzInI Islatmak

to wet your mouth

to drink, to have a drink


ahkâm kesmek

  • to cut flimsy speculations
  • to judge (things or people) halfwittedly
  • to offer up half-baked ideas as if they were faultless, tried and true
  • to pass out judgements, put forward opinions based only on superficial information

ahmak Islatan

  • wetting stupidly
  • (rain) that wets the unwitting

a light drizzle (of rain)

Ahmak Islatan bütün gün sürdü, ne yagdI ne açtI hava.

The weather is neither clear nor rainy, it's just been drizzling all day.

ahret suali

a question that will be asked at the gates of heaven

a tiresome and difficult question

BIrak bu ahret sualini sormayI da istedigini açIkça söyle!

Stop asking these tiresome questions and say openly what you really want to say!

ahreti boylamak

to take the measurement of the afterlife (heaven)

to die


akan sular durmak

to stop flowing waters

...means that "the subject under discussion (whether it's a factual conclusion, an oath, an order, or a law) is indisputable, beyond contradiction."

Söyledikleriniz ve belirtmis olduklarInIz karsIsInda akan sular durur.

The things you say and the way you clarify them are indisputable (Flowing waters stop when confronted by your factual conclusions).

Click for, The Rest of the Idiom Story!

akIl doktoru

an intelligence or mind doctor

a psychiatrist


AkIl isi degil.

It is not reason(ed) work.

It's not acceptable.

may be used as shown...

AkIp gitsin!

Flow -- go!

May all your work go as smoothly as water!

may be used as shown...

AklIna sasarIm!LPTCDI'm confused to your mind!You're not making any sense!may be used as is...

AklInda olsun!

Let (it) be in your thought(s)!

Don't forget (it)!

may be used as shown...

Akmasa da damlar.

And (if) it flows, (it is by) drops.
[It keeps dropping, if not exactly flowing.]

It brings in at least a little money.

may be used as shown...

aksi gibi

like opposite…

  • ...wouldn't you know it?
  • as if to spite me…
  • ...it was just [my] bad luck.

Aksi gibi cebimde bes para kalmamIstI!

It was just my bad luck not to have any money on me!

aksamdan kalma

remaining from the evening

having a hangover

Aksamdan kalmayIm.

I have a hangover.

Al benden de o kadar.

  • Take from me -- and that much.
  • Take the same amount from me.
  • I'm in the same situation; I'm as bad off as you.
  • I was thinking the same thing; I agree.

may be used as shown...

  • Al birini vur birini (çarp ötekine).
  • Al birini, vur (çarp) ötekine.
  • Take one, hit one (hit the other).
  • Take one, and hit the other one with it...
    (so that both useless things can be broken without harming anything else)
  • It all needs fixing.
  • None of them are useful.
  • One is no better than the other.

may be used as shown...

al sancak

red flag the Turkish flag,
also, when spelled as 'Alsancak' it's a borough of the city of izmir

may be used as shown...

Alan razI, satan razI.

The buyer agrees, the seller agrees.

Since the two parties agree on the deal, let them complete it without interference from others.

may be used as shown...

AldI yürüdü.

He/she/it took, he/she/it walked.

  • He/she/it succeeded in a short time.
  • It prospered and grew.

may be used as shown...

Allah "Yürü ya kulum" demis.

Allah bid her/him, "Go forward, my subject."

  • She has advanced her situation in a very short time.
  • Whatever job he takes on, it always turns out well.
  • He certainly got rich fast.

may be used as shown...

Allah [senden] razI olsun.

May God be agreeable (to you).

God bless you (for the kind act that you did, for the nice thought you had, etc.).

may be used as shown...

Allah akIllar (akIl, fikir) versin.

May God give intelligence.

  • You're doing a rather senseless thing/job/work.
  • Where is your good sense?
  • I'm surprised at you/him.

may be used as shown...

Allah Allah!

God, God!

  • What an astonishing thing!
  • What must we do now?
  • Oh my, how odd!
  • Goodness Gracious!

Allah allah, böyle bir seyi ilk kez görüyorum!

Now that's amazing, it's the first time I've seen something like that!

  1. Allah aratmasIn.
  2. Allah bugünümüzü aratmasIn.
  1. May God not replace.
  2. May God not make (us) wish (or long) for (our) present situation.
  1. It's not flawless but it does the job. Besides, what would we do otherwise?
  2. We may not be as well off as we might have preferred, but still we are content with it.

may be used as shown...

Allah askIna!

For the love of God!
  • For heavens sake!
  • For goodness sake!
  • That's amazing!

may be used as shown...

Allah bagIslasIn!

May God refrain (from killing someone).

May God protect (children, loved ones) from accident and harm.

may be used as shown...

Allah bana, ben de sana.

[From] God to me, and [from] me to you.

I don't have the money I owe you right now, but I'll pay you the minute I get it.

may be used as shown...

Allah bereket versin.
(Also see bereket versin...)

May God give abundance.

May God return the generosity you show.

This is/may be said by one who receives a tip or a bonus -- to the person giving the tip/bonus.
For example, our marangoz; carpenter, Hilmi Usta, said this to us when we gave him a 10% bonus for the beautiful decorative doors he made for us...

may be used as shown...

Allah bilir.

God knows.

  • Only God knows for sure.
  • It's hard to say.
  • It's not obvious.

may be used as shown...

Allah cezanI (cezasInI) versin!

May God punish you (him/her/it)!

Damn you (Goddamn her, dammit)!

may be used as shown...

Allah rahatlIk versin.

May God provide comfort.


may be used as shown...

Allah vermesin.

May God not provide.

God forbid!

may be used as shown...

Allah versin.

May God provide.

  • I'm glad everything is fine (about this situation). I feel happy (about it).
  • May God help you. I'm not able to give the alms you wish (Said to a beggar when you don't give him/her something).

may be used as shown...

Allah'In binasInI yIkmak

to demolish God's building

to kill yourself or someone else


Allah'In günü

God's day

everyday, any day
(it is said that all days 'belong' to God)

Allah'In günü aynI seyleri söyledi durdu.

He stopped and said the same things every day.

Allah'InI seven tutmasIn.

Let not the lover of God [try to] restrain.

If you love your God, then don't try to stop me! (This is said angrily by someone about to take drastic action)

may be used as shown...

Allaha bir can borcu olmak

to owe only a soul or a life to God

to not owe 'anyone' [anything] -- other than God, for the life he's given


Allaha IsmarladIk.

We commend you to the care of God.

idiom used to say 'Good bye' -- by the person leaving a location

may be used as shown...

altIndan çapanoglu çIkmak

for 'Çapanoglu' to pop up

Note: Over time, the 'Çapanoglu' family name (when used in this idiom) has lost its 'Proper Name' status and is, therefore, no longer capitalized...

  • to meet with possible danger in dirty business
  • for events to take an unexpected bad turn
  • to have a difficulty arise, to have a snag in plans

Bunun altIndan çapanoglu çIkmasIn?

Will this [activity] get us in trouble?

Click for, The Rest of the Idiom Story!

AltIndan ne çIkacak bilinmez.

It's not known what will emerge from underneath.

The final result is uncertain.


Amma yaptIn (ha)!

  • But, you did!
  • How you (over)did it!

Do you really expect me to believe that?

may be used as shown...

ana avrat dümdüz gitmek

to go straight forward, including mother and wife

to swear a blue streak

Adam, hepimize ana avrat dümdüz gitti!

That guy...He swore at all of us!

Adam hepimize ana avrat dümdüz gitmesin mi?

Would you believe how he (that guy) swore at all of us?

anadan dogma as born from [his/her] mother see anadan üryan 
anadan üryan naked as [born] from [his/her] mothercompletely naked
[this idiom may be used for either male or female genders; also see Adembaba]
KadIn çIldIrmIs olmalI, anadan üryan hamamdan sokaga fIrladI.

The woman must have been crazy; she rushed out of the hamam (Turkish bath) completely naked.

anafora konmak

to alight in a whirlpool
  • to get something for nothing
  • for extra profit to fall into your hand


from the whirlpool

  • from illicit gain
  • improperly or without effort

anasI danasI

mother (cow) and her calf

his mother and the rest of whole family

AnasI danasI içeriye doldular.

His whole family filled up the entire [interior] space.

AnasInI satayIm!

  • Let's sell his mother!
  • Let [me] sell (his/her/its) mother!
  • Oh, what the hell... It's not that important.
  • What will be, will be.
  • Damn it!

anasInI sattIgIm

…[the one] whose mother I sold

  • (that) damned thing!
  • damn!

anasInIn gözü

his/her mother's eye

  • the most [deceitfully] intelligent one in the family
  • very intelligent
  • clever
  • tricky
  • self seeking
  • deceitful
  • sly, shifty
AnasInIn gözüdür o, isini bilir!

She's clever, she knows her business!

AnladImsa Arap olayim.

Let me be a [black African] Arab, if I understand [that/it].

  • I don't understand [it] at all.
  • I'll be damned if I understand it.

may be used as shown...


Don't seek!

  • It's too much to expect.
  • Nevermind. Forget it.

may be used as shown...

Aramakla bulunmaz.

You don't find [it if] you look for it.

It is/was very lucky.

may be used as shown...

Arap olayIm.

…[then] let me be a [black African] Arab.

I swear that…

Casus degilse Arap olayIm.

I swear that he's a spy (If he's not a spy, then let me be a [black African] Arab).

Is this similar to the American idiom, '…then I’ll be a monkey’s uncle"...?

Arkadas degil, arka tasI.

(Note the play on words and the nice rhyming quality of the phrase...)

Not a friend, just a backload of stones...

He's supposed to be a friend -- but all he does is cause me worry, pain, and injury.

may be used as shown...

ArkasInda yumurta küfesi yok ya!

There's no egg basket behind him!
[Of course, he/she's not carrying a basketful of eggs on his/her back!]

He'll reverse direction, change his mind, or break his word anytime it suits him.

may be used as shown...

aslan sütü

lion's milk

rakI (the Turkish national alcoholic drink)


AstIgI astIk, kestigi kestik.

Hanged is the one she says 'hang', cut is the one she says 'cut'.
[We hang what he/she wants to hang, we cut what he/she wants to cut.]

  • What she says goes.
  • Nobody can object to what he says/does.
  • She doesn't have to account to anyone for what she does.

may be used as shown...

AsagI tükürsem sakal, yukarI tükürsem bIyIk.

If I spit down (I'll hit my) beard, if I spit up (I'll hit my) mustache.

  • I'm torn between two sides or situations. If I select the one, I'll reject the other.
  • I can't decide in favor of one thing without jeopardizing the other.
  • I'm faced with an impossible choice.

may be used as shown...

asagIlIk duygusu (kompleksi)

vulgar feeling (complex)

inferiority complex


ask çekmek

to pull love

to suffer the pangs of love


at kosturmak

to let a horse run about

This may have a variety of meanings; such as:

  • to fool around, to 'chase rainbows'
  • to have a free hand
  • ates bacayI (saçagI) sarmak

  • alev saçagI sarmak

for the fire to spread to the chimney

  • a situation is dangerous, and has taken a turn for the worse
  • for things to get out of control
Ates bacayI sarmadan gerekli önlemleri almalIyIz, yoksa is isten geçer.

If we don't want things to get out of control, we have to take the necesssary precautions -- or else this [problem] is going to spread from job to job.

atI alan Üsküdar'I geçti.

The one who took the horse has (already) passed Üsküdar [aka Scutari, a section of Istanbul, on the Asian side].

  • The opportunity at hand, is lost.
  • It's too late now (to rectify it).
  • There's nothing more that can be done.

BIrak pesini, atI alan Üsküdar'I geçti.

Stop persisting, it's over -- we lost our chance.

avucunu yala

lick your paw, lick your palm

  • to not expect anything
  • to be left empty handed
  • to not hope for anything

Sürekli çalIsmasan sInavI kazanamaz, avucunu yalarsIn sonra.

If you don’t study diligently [continuously], you won’t pass the exam and you’ll be left with nothing.

ayaga kaldIrmak to elevate foot
  • to excite, arouse (a group)
  • to incite, stir up a (group) to rebellion

Belediye baskanInIn haberi sehri ayaga kaldIrmIstI.

The mayor’s news incited the village to the point of rebellion.

ayagInIn altIna karpuz kabugu koymak to put a watermelon skin under someone's foot
  • to cause someone's downfall, to cause someone to be ousted from office
  • to lay a trap for someone, to intrique against someone

Yerini alacagImdan çekiniyor, bunun için de buradan ayagImIn altIna karpuz kabugu koymaya çalIsIyordu.

She's afraid I'll take her place, so she's trying to trip me up!

Click here for The Rest of the Idiom Story!

ayaklar atamaz

can’t throw feet

can’t make a fool out of

Hiç kimse bana böyle ayaklar atamaz!

Nobody can do this to me (make a fool of me)!

ayazda kalmak

to remain in the cold

  • to end up getting nothing
  • to go home empty-handed
  • to lose out
  • to be left out in the cold

AyIkla pirincin tasInI.

Pick [separate] the stones from the rice.

  • What a mess!
  • How am I going to do this?
  • This business is messed up, so get out of it if you can.

may be used as shown...

AyIptIr söylemesi (ama)...

Saying may be a shame (but)...
[It may be improper to say (but)...]
  • "I'm sorry, I feel I have to say this, though it may seem disrespectful..."
  • "Excuse me for saying so, but…"
  • "Excuse the expression, but…"

may be used as shown...

aynI tüfegin demirinden

from the iron of the same gun…

  • two physical things that share the same characteristic
  • two situations or things of a negative nature that resemble each other

Bizim evdeki masa da aynI tüfegin demirinden galiba, ne zaman öfkelenip fIrlatsam daima benim avradI topugundan vuruyorum, demis.

"We have a pair of tongs at home that's probably made from the same material, because every time I get angry and throw it at my wife I hit her right in the heel!" he said...

Click for, The Rest of the Idiom Story!

ayvayI yemek

to eat a quince (fruit)

  • to be in trouble
  • be in for it…
  • be done for…
  • for one's goose to be cooked
az buçukLPTCDlittle and a half
  • scanty, hardly enough a little, somewhat
az buz olmamakLPTCDto not be a little iceto be of no small matter, to be a significant amount 
az çokLPTCDlittle, muchmore or less 

Az degil (o kisi).

(That person...) He's not small.

  • (That person)…just because he's quiet, it doesn't mean he doesn't know his job; In fact, he's a nice guy, quite intelligent and competent.
  • He's quite different than what he seems to be.

may be used as shown...

az kaldI
(az kalsIn)
[a] little remained (let a little remain)[for a job to be] almost, nearly [done, finished] 

Idioms beginning with 'B'
Idioms beginning with 'G'
Idioms beginning with 'Z'
'House favorite' idioms...

We wish to extend thanks to
Emin Özdemir, Osman Çizmeciler, and Ömer AsIm Aksoy
for their Turkish source material -- on which this page is based.
And, to Avni Aksoy
-- for helping us gain greater insight and appreciation of this nifty subject --
we are most gratefully indebted...

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