Hindi Language Blog

Idiomatic Phrases Posted by on Dec 12, 2017 in Hindi Language


Every language has idiomatic expressions that are derived from cultural traditions, the geographical region, as well as fables and stories. English has no dearth of idioms that, when read literally, make absolutely no sense. However, as the metaphors or the origins are unraveled, the usage प्रयोग(prayog) and meaning अर्थ(arth) become clear, thus adding to the richness of the language.

Similarly, Hindi हिंदी has it’s own store of idiomatic phrases. In हिंदी, they are known as मुहावरे (muhaavre).
Here are some common हिंदी मुहावरे that you could use to communicate with more flair.

1. दूध का दूध पानी का पानी हो जायेगा। 

Doodh ka doodh, paani ka paani ho jayega.
Literal meaning: The milk and water will separate.
Idiomatic meaning: The truth will surface.
 दूध (doodh) = milk

 पानी (paani)= water

 हो जायेगा (ho jayega) = will become



2. बन्दर क्या जाने अद्रक का स्वाद। 

Bandar kya jaane adrak ka swaad.

Literal meaning: What does a monkey know of the flavor of ginger?

Idiomatic meaning: Don’t expect appreciation from those who have
no aptitude or capacity to do so.
  बन्दर (bandar) = monkey

 अद्रक (adrak) = ginger

  स्वाद (swaad) = flavor



3. नौ सौ चूहे खाके बिल्ली हज को चली। 

Nau sau choohe khaake billi Haj ko chali.
Literal meaning: After eating 900 mice, the cat heads to the Haj pilgrimage.
Idiomatic meaning: To display sage or noble behavior
after committing many a sin or crime.
 नौ सौ (nau sau) = 900 

 चूहे (choohe) =  mice

 खाके (khaake) = after eating

 बिल्ली (billi) = cat

 हज (Haj) = the Haj pilgrimage


4. नाच न जाने आँगन टेढ़ा। 

Naach na jaane aangan tedha.
Literal meaning: To call the dance floor uneven or crooked just because one can’t dance.
Idiomatic meaning: A bad workman blames his tools. In other words, to blame your failures on external factors.
 नाच (naach) = dance

 न जाने (na jaane) = not know

 आँगन (aangan) = courtyard;   here, it means dance floor

 टेढ़ा (taydhaa) = crooked



5. ईंट का जबाब पत्थर से देना। 

 Eenth ka jawaab patthar se dena.
Literal meaning: To reply to brick with stone.
Idiomatic meaning: An eye for an eye;  to retaliate with full force.
  ईंट (eenth) = brick

 जबाब (jawaab) = reply/answer

 पत्थर (patthar) = stone




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About the Author: Nitya

Namaste, friends. My name is Nitya. I was born and raised in Mumbai (formerly Bombay). I'm a native Hindi speaker. However, as life took me through school, college, work, and waves of friends from different parts of India, my repertoire of Hindi flavors and dialects grew and added dimension to my native fluency. Casual, formal, colloquial, and regional ... Hindi is a language with incredible variety and localization. Through this blog, I will help you learn Hindi through conversations, vocabulary, colloquialisms, and glimpses of Indian culture. आओ, मिलकर हिंदी सीखते हैं। (Aao, milkar Hindi seekhte hain!) Come, let's learn Hindi together.


  1. Heather:

    I love these! More, please.

  2. Mihika:

    It was so interesting to read