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Idioms with a Twist Posted by on Jul 7, 2018 in Hindi Language, Uncategorized

Each language has its own stock of colorful and (sometimes) seemingly nonsensical idioms or, as they’re called in Hindi, मुहावरे/muhaavre (मुहावरा/muhaavra, singular). Luckily for the Hindi student, this language is teeming with vibrant turns of phrase that you can slip into almost any conversation. As some of my Hindi teachers have taught me, it is sometimes easier to learn this treasure trove of seemingly endless idioms when they are thematically related. So, I’ve discussed a few idioms below in terms of features of the face. Keep in mind, this is by no means an exhaustive list of idioms that have to do with facial features.

Idioms Concerning Facial Features / चहेरे के अंगों से जुड़े मुहावरे

Image by Tony Bowall Photography on Flickr, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

सिर/सर (sir/sar, the head, masc. noun)

x का सिर/सर खाना (literally: to eat someone’s head, figuratively: to pester or bother someone)

उदाहरण/udaaharan (example): पिता जी: अरे बेटा, मेरा सिर मत खाओ––अपनी माँ से पूछो ! (Pitaa ji: Are beta, meraa sir mat khaao––apni maa se poocho)

Father: Oh son, don’t bother me! Ask your mother.

सिर का बोझ हल्का होना (literally: for the burden of one’s head to grow light, figuratively: for a burden to be removed from one’s shoulders).

शर्मिला पूरे हफ़्ते परीक्षा की चिंता करती रही; लेकिन, परीक्षा देने पर ही, उसके सिर का बोझ एकदम हल्का हो गया! (Sharmila poore hafte pareekshaa ki chintaa karti rahi; lekin, pareekshaa dene par hi, uske sir kaa bojh ekdam halkaa ho gayaa).

Sharmila kept worrying about the test the entire week; but, on taking it, the burden was completely lifted from her shoulders!

X के सिर चढ़ना (literally: to mount on one’s head, figuratively: to take advantage of someone)

सिर्फ़ एक महीने की डेटिंग के बाद वह अपने सारे दोस्तों को छोड़कर पूरे समय अपने बॉयफ़्रेंड के साथ ही बिताने लगी; वह उसके सिर बिल्कुल चढ़ गया । (Sirf ek maheene ki dating ke baad voh apne saare doston ko chorkar poore samay apne boyfriend ke saath hi bitaane lagi; voh uske sir bilkul charh gayaa).

After only a month of dating, she abandoned her friends and began spending all of her time with her boyfriend alone; he took complete advantage of her.


माथा (maathaa, forehead, fem. noun)

माथा पीटना/maathaa pitnaa (literally: to beat the brow, figuratively: to make strenuous efforts)

उदाहरण: मेरी माँ ने माथा पीटकर हमारे नये कुत्ते को ट्रेन करने की कोशिश की लेकिन एक जानवर को ट्रेन करना उसके बस की बात नहीं थी । (Meri maa ne maathaa pitkar hamaare naye kutte ko train karne ki koshish ki lekin ek jaanvar ko train karnaa uske bas ki baat nahin thi)

My mother went to great lengths attempting to train our new dog, but training an animal just wasn’t her thing.


भौंह/भौंहे (bhauh (sing)/bhauhen (plural), eyebrow/s, fem. noun)  

भौंह चढ़ाना/bhauh charhaanaa (literally: for the eyebrow(s) to rise or lift up (the face), figuratively: to frown or scowl)

उदाहरण: वह मिज़ाज से ही ग़ुस्सैल है; बहुत आसानी से भौंह चढ़ा लेगा । (Voh mizaaj se hi gussail hai; bahut aasaani se bhauh charhaa legaa)

He’s quick-tempered by nature; he’ll frown and scowl at the slightest thing (very easily).

Image by lamjfcal on Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.


आँख/आँखें (aankh (sing)/aankhen (plural), eye/eyes, fem. noun)

आँख का तारा होना/aankh kaa taaraa honaa (literally: to be the star/pupil of someone’s eye, figuratively: to be the apple of someone’s eye/be beloved to someone in a non-romantic way).

उदाहरण: वह हमेशा जानता था कि वह उसके पिता की आँख का तारा था––जो भी हो जाए, उसके पिता के नज़रिये में, उस से कोई बुरा नहीं हो सकता । (Voh hameshaa jaanta tha ki voh uske pitaa ki aankh kaa taaraa thaa––jo bhi ho jaaye, uske pitaa ke nazariye me, us se koi buraa nahin ho saktaa).

He always knew that he was the apple of his father’s eye––no matter what, in his father’s view, he could do no wrong.

आखें फाड़ फाड़कर देखना/aankhen parh parh kar dekhnaa (to look at with strained/eager eyes, to stare at with astonishment). फाड़ना/faarhnaa literally means to “tear open/split/to be wide open.”

उदाहरण: नया छात्र इतना ख़ूबसूरत था कि सारी लड़कियाँ क्लास के पूरे वक्त उसे ही आखें फाड़ फाड़ कर देखती रहीं । (Nayaa chaatra itnaa khoobsoorat thaa ki saari larkiyaan class ke poore vakt use hi aakhen paarh paarh kar dekhti rahin)

The new student was so gorgeous that all of the girls kept staring at him wide-eyed throughout the class.

Image by Bollywood Hungama on Flickr, licensed under CC BY 3.0.

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About the Author:Rachael

नमस्ते, मेरा नाम रेचल है/السلام علیکم، میرا نام ریچل ہے۔ Hello, my name is Rachael, but I also on occasion go by Richa––an interesting story for another time :) My two great loves are Hindi and Urdu. I first traveled to India (Jaipur, Rajasthan) in college on a Hindi study abroad program. A little over a year later, I returned to the same city to study Hindi in a yearlong program. I've also spent a summer in Kolkata, West Bengal learning Bengali, and I studied Urdu at the University of California, Berkeley, where I was a graduate student in South Asian Studies. I hope to share with you the fascinating world of Hindi and Urdu literature, society, culture and film through my blogs!