4 Serbian Idioms Taken Literally

A “boy throwing an eye on a girl,” or someone “cutting his ears to patch his ass” these are very common expressions in Serbian. In these illustrations, you can see the literal meaning of some of the most popular phrases in Serbian.

Cvetaju im ruže u braku – “Roses are blooming in the marriage”

When two married people are so much in love and live their “perfect” common life, in Serbia we usually say that roses are blooming in their marriage – everything is hunky dory. In short, that means the marriage is “perfect” and everything goes smoothly.

(C) Zoran Jovanović

Bacio je oko na nju – “He threw an eye on her”

When a man is interested in, or likes, a woman, people say that he “threw an eye” on her, the way you might say in English that he “has his eye on her,” without any connotation of surveillance. But despite his feelings, she not show any interest in return and “throw her eye back.” Bad luck!

Seci uši, krpi dupe – “Cut off your ears to patch the ass“

Facing difficult situations in life, especially in a financial sense, simply pushes you to manage all that by yourself. So you have to make compromises, sacrifices or even lose something in order to get something else. In such a situation, you may have to invest your money in something you didn’t plan so you don’t lose the thing you wanted.

So, when that time comes, in Serbia we “cut off our ears” and use them to “patch” the other thing we need more.

(C) Zoran Jovanović

Idu preko grane – “They are going over the branch”

When someone wants to move abroad, we describe it as going “over the branch” – a word Serbians use as slang for border – short for granica, border, probably derived from the German word Grenze – so when someone passes over the Serbian border and moves abroad, we say that he has just gone over the branch.

Aleksandra Mikić
Aleksandra Mikić is a journalist from Belgrade, who recently made Vienna her home. She is passionate about photography, exploring and running her travel blog on Instagram: @ms.fluffy.

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