11 Georgian Sayings that Will Help You Understand Georgia

To sit on a donkey | © Jeffrey Beall / Flickr
To sit on a donkey | © Jeffrey Beall / Flickr
Photo of Baia Dzagnidze
Writer29 November 2017

The Georgian language is very rich in expressions and sayings, some of which don’t make sense when translated into English. These expressions are a excellent examples for understanding Georgian culture and traditions. The phrases we’ve listed below were commonly used in the past, but travelers still hear them today in everyday conversations. Take a look.

The bird’s milk – ჩიტის რძე

Georgians use this phrase to express abundant food and drink. As birds don’t have milk, the phrase is used to describe situations where a family has everything they could need.

Bird’s Milk | © David Williss / Flickr

Aha, this is where the dog’s head is buried – აი, სად ყოფილა ძაღლის თავი დამარხული

Used when a person finds the cause or truth of a particular situation.

This is where the dogs head is buried | © University of Liverpool Faculty of Health & Life Sciences / Flickr

Pigeon of peace – მშვიდობის მტრედი

Pigeons are the symbol of peace in Georgia, and Georgians use the expression to describe, for instance, someone chosen to mediate an argument or quarrel.

Pigeon of Peace | ©Kashif Mardani / Flickr

Tears of a crocodile – ნიანგის ცრემლები

Used to describe false tears or imaginative compassion. This phrase is frequently used when a child is crying just because he or she wants to get something.

Tears of a crocodile | © Eric Savage / Flickr

Unbelievable Thoma – ურწმუნო თომა

The phrase came from a Biblical scene when Thomas didn’t believe the resurrection of a Christ. Georgians use it to describe a very suspicious person who doesn’t easily believe anything.

You too, Brutus? – შეენც ბრუტუს?

The saying comes from when Caesar was killed in a rebellion, where his dearest friend Brutus delivered the final killing blow. The phrase is used when a close friend betrays someone, but Georgian’s don’t use it in serious situations. It’s more of a mild expression used while joking around with friends.

You too, Brutus? | © Tobias Wrzal / Flickr

To drink water of Chailuri – ჩაილურის წყალი დალია

Used to describe a person who disappears without a trace or is forgotten quickly. Chailuri is the name of a river in the Kakheti region of Georgia. When Dagestians kidnapped Georgians and crossed the river, people would say there was no point in chasing them anymore.

To drink water of Chailuri | © Jussie D.Brito / Flickr

I washed my hands – ხელებიც დამიბანია

This may sound familiar. Georgians use this expression to express the fact that they won’t take responsibility for something or don’t want to get involved in a situation. Often used after a person tried several times to convince another not to do a particular thing, but failed.

I washed my hands | © Leana / Flickr

To have a long tongue – გრძელი ენა აქვს

Used when a person likes to talk too much or said something she or he was not supposed to.

To have a long tongue | © Storeyland / Flickr

Who has ever plucked a rose without spikes – ვარდი უეკლოდ ვის მოუკრეფავს

Similar to the English phrase, “no pain, no gain,” Georgians use this idiom to describe a situation when you need to overcome a challenge to gain something good.

Who has ever plucked a rose without spikes | © slgckgc / Flickr

To sit on a donkey – ვირზე შეჯდომა

Used to describe a person who is very stubborn and never changes his or her mind.

To sit on a donkey | © Jeffrey Beall / Flickr

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