Farsi is undoubtedly a colorful language. There are many phrases common to the language that would have us scratching our heads or laughing hysterically if they were translated into English. Although I’m sure if you asked an Iranian gentleman if a cat had his tongue, that he would probably be confused as well. Here is a list of Farsi phrases that I wish we had in English.
1. Pedaram dar oomad (پهدارام دار ووماد) – My father Came Out
Andre Agassi, 8 time Grand Slam Winner, His father who Boxed for Iran must have “Come Out” Image Source: The Tennis Freaks
This is a phrase that could cause quite a bit of confusion if an Iranian said this to an American. In Farsi, however, it has no connotation to your father’s sexual orientation. It means that you really tried hard at something and completed the task. It is a compliment to your father in saying that you really accomplished something with the dedication that your father would have displayed in similar circumstances.
2. Shākh dar āvordam (سهāکه دار āووردام) – I Grew Horns
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This is a common expression in Farsi when you are in complete shock. The English equivalent would be something like I can’t believe it. The Farsi version is a bit more imaginative.
3. Zameen khordam (زامههن کهوردام) – I Ate The Ground
We have a similar rarely used idiom that tells an individual we don’t particularly care for to eat dirt. However, this has a completely different meaning in Farsi. It’s actually closer to our phrase, bit the dust. It means that you took a rather nasty fall.
4. Pedar sag (پهدار ساگ) – Your Father Is A Dog!
I’m not actually sure I wish we had this in English. It’s a pretty nasty insult. In Farsi, it’s used to express extreme displeasure with someone and is not appropriate in polite conversation.
5. Khāk to saret (کهāک تو سارهت) – Dirt On Your Head!
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As long as we are talking about insults, this one may be worse than number 4 on our list. In English, dirt on your head usually means that you’re trying to tell someone that need to clean off their head. In Farsi, it means that you want to put dirt on someone’s head as you bury them. You are literally wishing they were dead.
Farsi Phrases Continue Below
6. Damet garm (دامهت گارم) – May Your Breath Be Warm
On a happier note, this means the opposite of phrase in number 5 on the list. This is usually uttered after someone says something funny or clever and it is a wish that they live a long and healthy life so that they can keep offering up their witticisms.
7. Jeegaretō bokhoram (جههگارهتō بوکهورام) – I Will Eat Your Liver
In English, this may be construed as a homicidal threat, but in Farsi, it is a term of endearment. It is literally the equivalent of I love you in English. This is only something you would say if you felt an intense love or desire for someone. It would seem awkward if you said it to a friend.
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8. Dastam be dāmanet (داستام به دāمانهت) – My Hand To Your Skirt
This phrase could be offensive in English, and may get you fired for sexual harassment if you say it around the office. It is not offensive in Farsi, however, it merely means that you are begging someone for something as if you are down on your knees pleading with them and grasping at her skirt.
9. Moosh bokhoradet (مووسه بوکهورادهت) – A Mouse Should Eat You
Here is another phrase that could be taken as a threat of some sort in English. In Farsi, however, it is a loving term usually reserved for children. It is common for this phrase to be uttered as an adult is pinching a child’s cheek. An English equivalent would be, you’re so cute!
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10. Noonesh to roghane (نوونهسه تو روگهانه) – His Bread Is In Oil
Years ago, most Iranians ate dry bread, but if you were wealthy, you ate your bread dipped in oil. In Farsi, this phrase is used to say that someone is doing well. In English, we might say he has it made, in a similar situation. It indicates that an individual just got an opportunity to make money and be successful.