26 Lithuanian Expressions That Sound Absolutely Hilarious When Translated Into English

Learning a new language is like going on an adventure: you might get lost in a magical maze, you might end up having to overcome challenge after challenge the size of giant angry dragons, but there’s always a chestful of rewards at the end. In this case, inside the treasure chest lies the satisfaction that you’ve mastered another gorgeous language—like Lithuanian.

The oldest Indo-European language that’s still being spoken today and a source of pride for Lithuanians the world over, Lithuanian is chock-full of fun little idioms, neat expressions, and metaphorical sayings that spice everything up with their Baltic charm. But here’s the thing: they sound incredibly weird when translated word for word and they’re bound to make you giggle.

Below, you’ll find some of the funniest Lithuanian expressions translated into English by the Matador Network. Upvote the ones that brought a smile to your face and we’d absolutely love to hear all about the most hilarious sayings in your native language if English isn’t your first, dear Pandas!

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Idioms are artistic expressions that are peculiar and can’t be understood from the individual meanings of their elements. In short, they rely very heavily on metaphors, playfulness, and creativity to put across a point. Without knowing the language, culture, and context, you’d be lost… in translation (sorry, the joke was there—I had to make it).

While people have been speaking Lithuanian in one form or another for ages and ages, Lithuanian as a literary language has only existed since the start of the 16th century, with the translations of the Lord’s Prayer, the Ave Maria, and the Nicene creed being the earliest documents.

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Lithuanians are generally a humble people and you might mistake them for Finns at first glance. That is, unless you mention basketball (their national team nearly thrashed the US at the 2000 Olympics!) or their language.

Any Lithuanian worth their salt will immediately start bragging, (subtly at first, more overtly once they warm up) about how their language is the oldest on Planet Earth. And while several different languages and dialects can make that claim, you can safely say that Lithuanian ranks among the most ancient ones still in use today. The similarities to Sanskrit are absolutely amazing if you’ve ever had the pleasure of looking through dictionaries from both languages.

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One of the most influential French linguists, Antoine Meillet, stated that “anyone wishing to hear how Indo-Europeans spoke should come and listen to a Lithuanian peasant,” and Lithuanians have been quoting him pretty much every chance they get.

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