My Turkish is quite good if I may say so myself. It might seem like a difficult language, but it’s actually very easy. That is because it is a very logical and consistent language, even though you might think it’s the hardest language in the world. As a matter of fact, I believe that once you find the right learning approach and have the right attitude, there is no such thing as a hard language. But however my level of Turkish is really good and I use the language to express myself on a daily basis, there are still those moments when I literally have no idea what people are saying. Particularly because there are just too many funny and weird expressions in Turkish. Therefore, I’ll share ten funny Turkish sayings you must know before visiting Turkey.
Tip: check also this article, if you are looking for Turkish swear words, curse words, and insults, instead of funny Turkish sayings.
Güle güle kullanin — use it smiling
Almost any time someone buys something, ‘güle güle kullanin’ is an appropriate thing to tell a customer. It’s also used when you give someone a present or with anything else new. It took me a while, but now I finally do get it. Yet, we also say it when you’ve gone to the hairdressers and that I find just weird. In fact, even after hearing this for years, I just still can’t get my head around it.
Güle güle gidin – may you go with a smile
It sounds so weird in English, but if you actually think about the meaning of it I think it’s a really nice expression!
Balık etli – Fish fleshed
You’ll never guess, but this is actually a compliment. Because Turkish men usually like women with a bit of meat on their bones. And this is a lovely way to describe curvy girls.
Göte giren şemsiye açılmaz – The umbrella that enters to the behind, cannot open
This Turkish proverb is used to say when things hit the bottom, at least it can’t get any worse. And no, it’s not the exact translation, it’s a neat one.
Elenize sağlık — health to your hands
To thank your host for cooking a delicious meal you say ‘elenize sağılık’, but you can also say it to a cook at a restaurant or when someone delivered a good job.
Afiyet olsun – may you have an appetit
This might be better translatable as ‘bon appetite’, but actually means ‘may it be good for you’ and that’s why it can be said before, during, or after a meal.
Kafam güzel – my head is beautiful
This is most likely my favorite expression in Turkish. It means that you’re high or drunk. How funny?
Fıstık – pistachio
This word is used in regard to a very attractive young woman.
Kafayı üşüttü – they’ve caught a cold in their head
This has nothing to do with catching a chill, nor with any other illness. If you’ve caught a cold in your head, it means you’ve gone crazy.
Boşver – give empty
Or as we say in English: never mind.