10 Beautiful Phrases That Will Make You Fall in Love With the Czech Language

Library in Prague
Library in Prague |  © izoca/Pixabay
Diana Bocco

As the official tongue of the Czech Republic, Czech can be a funny, twisted language, where words don’t always describe what they mean. Here are 10 fun phrases that will surprise and inspire, and maybe even make you curious about learning more of the same.

Hladit hada bosou nohou

Translation: To pat a snake with bare feet

Meaning: This is the Czech equivalent to ‘walking into the lion’s den.’ It’s a fun phrase considering there are basically no poisonous snakes in the country. The sentence rhymes in Czech, making it a delight to say out loud.

To je jiné kafe

Translation: A different kind of coffee

Meaning: This is what you say when you’re telling somebody that “it’s apples and oranges.”


Mít knedlík v krku

Translation: To have a dumpling in your throat

Meaning: A fun way to say you’re speechless. Dumplings are a major part of Czech cuisine and are often served as a side dish with meat.

Snesl bych ti modré z nebe

Translation: I would take the blue from the sky for you

Meaning: A very poetic way of saying you would do anything for somebody.

Mluviti stříbro, mlčeti zlato

Translation: Speaking is silver, silence is gold
Meaning: A slight variation of the English ‘silence is golden’ version, as the Czech proverb implies there’s value in talking and explaining – but more in being quiet and just listening.

Malé ryby taky ryby

Translation: Even small fish are fish
Meaning: Czechs have a knack for appreciating the small things in life – perhaps something left over from difficult times under Communist rule. This expression means that even the smaller successes should be celebrated, as they are still successes, no matter how tiny.

V noci každá kočka černá

Translation: Every cat is black at night
Meaning: When you can’t see things clearly, everything might seem the same to you.

Bez peněz do hospody nelez

Translation: Never go to a pub without money
Meaning: Technically, don’t go unprepared anywhere, especially when it’s obvious you should be prepared. A hospoda is a typical Czech pub where people congregate to socialize and drink.

Kdo se moc ptá, moc se dozví

Translation: He who asks too much, learns too much

Meaning: Sometimes it’s wise to let things go. If you get too involved, ask too many questions or dig too deep, you might end up finding out information you didn’t want to know in the first place.

Trpělivost růže přináší

Translation: Patience brings roses

Meaning: There’s a reward in waiting.

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