Best Albanian Expressions

Part 2: Compliments, offenses and ironies

In Albania, we have colorful ways of describing people - generally those we do not like or respect. In the expressions below, you'll see how sarcasm plays an enormous role in our communication with one another. To borrow a nice expression from English, we don't bite our tongues when it comes to judging people's faults of character. Derr me zile Translation: Pig with bells Meaning: A person who

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attracts attention with his stupidity Dhi e zgjebosur e bishtin përpjetë Translation: Mangy goat who wags its tail Meaning: Someone with no substance who is cocky; Someone who lacks finances and is flashy Hip këtu e shih Stambollin Translation: Stand up here and look at Istanbul Meaning: A sarcastic expression which basically lets someone know his/her aspirations are too high. (Obviously, one cannot see Istanbul just from stand up on a step, or on physically higher ground) I rrahur me vaj e uthull Translation: Marinated with oil and vinegar Meaning: Someone with a lot of experience; One who has tried many things in life I hurit e i litarit Translation: Of the stick and rope Meaning: A person who is capable of doing horrible things Të çan dërrasat Translation: [He/She] cuts through wood Meaning: A person who is extremely annoying Nuk lëshon pe Translation: [He/She] doesn’t let the string out [from the roll] Meaning: An intolerant person Të lësh nam Translation: To leave or drop off one’s reputation or good name [somewhere] Meaning: To do something shameful; to become infamous E bën qimen tra Translation: Turns one strand into a branch Meaning: Makes a big deal out of something; Equivalent of “makes a mountain out of a molehill” I jep dorën, të merr krahun Translation: You give the hand, [he/she] takes your arm Meaning: Equivalent of “Give an inch and they’ll take a mile”; Someone who takes advantage of concessions; someone who is ungrateful and always wants more Të hipte vetja në qejf! Translation: I hope you fall in love with yourself! Meaning: In Albania this is a curse as it is thought that liking yourself brings about trouble, bad decisions, and an unraveling of your life (Connected to the myth of Narcissus) Thëngjill i mbuluar Translation: Covered embers Meaning: Someone with a false appearance; A hypocrite I bëhet zemra mal Translation: [His/her] heart becomes a mountain Meaning: A moment of extreme happiness U hap si vaji në lakra Translation: [He/she] spread like oil in [a] cabbage [salad] Meaning: A person who spreads out too much and does not concentrate on anything; a person who in a conversation talks too much/reveals too much about him/herself Të merr gjak në vetull Translation: [He/she] draws blood from the eyebrow Meaning: Someone who is very capable; A person who can achieve the impossible Uthulla e fortë prish enën e vet Translation: Strong vinegar ruins its own container Meaning: Extreme anger/rage with another, harms the self Ka gjetur tenxheria kapakun Translation: The pot has found its lid Meaning: Two people who are made for each other (In a negative sense) As mish, as peshk Translation: Neither meat, nor fish Meaning: A lack of identity or distinct character Copë mishi me dy sy Translation: A piece of meat [with two eyes] Meaning: A person of no substance; a stupid person* *As insults, Albanians also like to use such nouns as petull (pancake) for someone who is not a capable person, qofte (meatball) for someone stupid, mafishe (merengue) for someone spoiled and lacking in substance.

More expressions in the coming weeks: Daily Expressions; The vulgar ones