11 Farsi idioms that have no equivalent in English

Translating slangs, idioms, and sayings into other languages is always an exercise in humor often, you’ve repeated them so many times without thinking about what is literally being said. We have prepared a list of the 11 funniest Persian sayings and translate them literally into English, along with a photo accompaniment of their literal meanings. Please try to take a guess at what they actually mean before reading the explanations below.

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1. mush bokhoradet

While literally meaning “A Mouse Should Eat You” in the Farsi language, this phrase means “You are cute”. You’ll hear adults saying this to children all the time (especially while pinching their cheeks). moosh bokhoré torō! is another way to say this idiom. It’s also used when someone says something adorable- but beware, sometimes this idiom could be used in a slightly demeaning way, or to belittle someone. The equivalent is if an adult says something in English, and another person answers back ‘Oh, you’re so cute!’ In fact, cute isn’t always the highest compliment in that context…

2. zahre mâr

Though it literally means ‘the poison of a snake,’ this idiom means ‘Shut up!’ in the Farsi language. Just as shut up is not a nice thing to say in English, zahre mâr can be quite insulting in the Farsi language as well, unless when someone is teasing us and then we find out that he/she is teasing us, then we can say this phrase to him/her with a laugh.

3. jigareto bokhoram

This is another endearing statement in the Farsi language, and means something along the lines of ‘I love you’ or ‘I’ll do anything for you.’ You can say it to a lover, friend, or family member, but only to a person, you have strong feelings toward. Actually, it’s a way of expressing some intense love.

4. havâ-to dâram

Although literally meaning I have your weather or air, this statement is the Farsi equivalent of the English ‘I have your back.’ So in other words, ‘I’m there for you buddy!’

5. jigare man-ee

Similar to “I want to eat your liver”. It is actually one of the most loving terms of endearment you can direct to someone is to tell them that they are your liver. While this may not sound romantic in English, it has quite an effect in the Farsi language. You can tell someone ‘jigare man-ee’, and they will be yours forever.

6. bâ namak

Although this saying literally means ‘salty’, but it has the opposite meaning of what you might think. When you call someone bâ namak, you are saying that they are funny, interesting, cute, or charming. Conversely, “bi namak” refers to a humorless and dry person.

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7. ghorbânat beram

Although this is an extreme saying, it is used quite frequently in the Farsi language. It literally means “I would like to be sacrificed for you”, but actually is used simply as a term of affection.

8. saram kolâ gozâshtan

This Farsi phrase is used to mean “they tricked me”. Either someone else can put a hat on your head, or you can also do it to someone else- saret kolâ gozâshtam (I tricked you).

9. jât khâli-ye

This is a very common Persian saying, and it means “You were missed”. Anytime you speak of an event that was very enjoyable, but the person you are talking to was not present, you can tell them that they were missed in the situation. This way, they know that you were thinking of them and that it would have been better if they’d been there. Another way of saying this phrase is jât sabze, which literally means ‘your place is green’, or there is green grass growing where you should have been and actually this idiom has a similar meaning to the jât khâli-ye.

10. zameen khordam

Although this idiom doesn’t literally mean ‘I ate the ground’, khordan can be used either to mean “to hit” OR “to eat”. This idiom is used to signify ‘I fell to the ground’ or “I fell down”.

11. khâk bar sar-am

This is an idiom that is in the not-so-nice category. It literally means ‘dirt on my head’, which is another way of saying “I should die”, and it’s hard to translate the phrase into the English language without using some not-so-good English words. But basically, this idiom used when you’ve made a mistake or realized something terribly wrong has happened. You can also flip it around and say khâk bar sar-et, meaning dirt on your head, but remember this is insulting, and it means something along the lines of ‘You should die!’


So there you go, 11 Farsi phrases that when translated into the English language literally, are quite hilarious. Can you think of any that we’re missing? Leave them for us in the comment section below- maybe we can do another illustrated series for all to see.

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