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.