Basque Idioms!


Nire izena Kathleen da. This will be my first blog post for Spring ’15 BASQ 401. In this submission, I would like to introduce a couple Basque idioms and phrases. We learned in class that the younger generation of Basque speakers may not be familiar with vulgar terms like swear words because these are generally not taught in academic settings. However, as a language buff, I’d like to think that idioms are the next best thing! Below is a selected list of translated idioms and phrases in Basque.

Hori ez da atzo (gaur) goizekoa.”

Literal translation: That isn’t something from today (yesterday).

Meaning: That’s very old.

Diruz josia (josita).”

Literal translation: Sewn with money.

Meaning: Someone wealthy.


Literal translation: Word recipient.

Meaning: Chatterbox.

Ezkerreko begiz begiratu.”

Literal translation: To look with the left eye.

Meaning: To have a grudge against someone.

Ez kendu babak altzotik.”

Literal translation: Don’t take the beans out of your lap.

Meaning: Don’t get up on your high horse; don’t lecture me.

And here are two of my personal favorites to practice saying:

Zirt edo zart.”

Meaning: Decidedly.


Meaning: Occasionally; now and again.

Try saying these out loud! Which Basque idioms are your favorite?

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4 Responses to Basque Idioms!

  1. Soohun says:

    My favorite idiom is describing the wealthy people as “sewn with money”

  2. ldurdan2 says:

    It’s interesting to know that so many phrases exist when it is not common to use “slang” or vulgar terms in the schools!

  3. rwhalen2 says:

    This is really interesting! I hope I can remember some of these to use; colloquial sayings are always really cool.

  4. dahanse2 says:

    I really like the connection between literal translation and the phrase we use in English – I think “word recipient” for chatterbox was my favorite. Also how pervasive left anything is throughout cultures (like how “ezkerreko begiz begiratu” means “to look with the left eye” and that’s synonymous with holding a grudge) is really neat to see. Thanks for sharing!

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