10 Interesting Latvian Idioms And Their Meanings Explained

Latvian idioms - Ling

Idioms are cultural phrases full of wisdom – and sometimes humor. Latvian idioms are no different! In this article, you will learn ten interesting Latvian idioms, along with their meanings and literal translations, so you can understand them when you visit this beautiful country.

Top 10 Latvian Idioms You Should Know

Now that you know the benefits, let’s learn some of the most commonly used Latvian idioms, with their literal translations and actual meanings.

1. Dancing In Turns – Dancis Pēc Kārtas

Meaning: Taking turns.

This idiom is a sign of the importance order and discipline have for Latvian people. It means taking turns, and you can use this phrase when you want to tell someone to wait their turn patiently.

2. Where There Is A Person, There Is A Path – Kur Cilvēks, Tur Trakts

Meaning: No matter where you go, you create your own way.

This phrase is a sign that Latvian people value personal space and independence. The idea is that wherever people go, they create their own way.


3. Screaming Feet – Kājas Kliegšana

Meaning: To be in a hurry.

This is a funny Latvian phrase, and it refers to someone who is in a hurry or running around like crazy.

4. To Go Through Fire And Water – Iet Cauri Ugunij Un Udenim

Meaning: To be ready to face a challenge.

It refers to someone who is ready to face any challenge found along the way to achieve their goal.

5. To Twist Nuts – Grozīt Riekstus

Meaning: To deal with futile activities.

Another humorous idiom, this means to perform a futile or pointless activity. It’s similar to the English phrase “spinning your wheels.”

6. To Go To The Trees – Let Pie Kokiem

Meaning: To disappear, to be lost.

You can use this phrase when someone leaves a party early without letting anyone know, because it refers to someone who has disappeared or gone missing without notice.

7. Stretching Like A Puppy On A Pie – Pleši Kā Kuciņš Uz Pīrāga

Meaning: Being lazy and idle.

This peculiar phrase refers to someone being incredibly lazy or idle, not showing any interest in getting up or working. It’s similar to the English idiom “lounging around like a sloth.”

8. Like A Bird Immersed In Its Wings – Kā Putns Spārnos Iegrimis

Meaning: Someone who is immersed in their thoughts or an activity.

This idiom refers to someone who is lost in deep thought or someone so immersed in what they’re doing that they seem unaware of their surroundings. Latvian people picture it as a bird immersed in its wings.

9. Like A Snake In One’s Chest. – Kā Cūska Krūtīs

Meaning: Feeling bothered by something or someone.

The phrase describes an emotion of discomfort caused by something or someone that is bothering you. Latvian people describe this feeling as a snake slithering in their chest, causing unease.


10. To Run Away Like A Hare – Kājgalī Atskriet

Meaning: Escaping from difficult situations on purpose.

Finally, this idiom is used to describe someone who escapes or runs away quickly, often to avoid a difficult or unpleasant situation. It pictures the act of fleeing like a hare running away when faced with danger.

Why Learn Idioms As A Latvian Learner?

Idioms are phrases that don’t necessarily make sense when reading their literal translation, as their meaning doesn’t come from each individual word, but from the phrase as a whole. For example, when we say “break a leg,” we mean “good luck,” not literally break a leg!

Latvian speakers frequently pepper their conversations with idioms, which is why learning them offers numerous advantages:

1. Understand native speakers better in everyday conversations.

Latvian idioms can be hard to understand for non-natives, as they are deeply rooted in the culture and language. However, learning commonly used idioms can help you understand casual dialogues between native speakers and keep you from falling behind in conversations.

2. Getting familiar with Latvian culture and people.

While there may be similar idiomatic expressions in other languages, Latvian idioms are unique to their own culture, which makes them an interesting way to learn about Latvian people and their history.

3. You will surprise native speakers when you speak Latvian.

Usually, native speakers don’t expect non-native speakers to use idioms. So they will probably be very surprised by how well you speak their language.

Start Learning Latvian With Ling!

Latvian idioms, like idioms in any language, are bridges to understanding. Learning them can provide outsiders with valuable insights into Latvian culture and help build connections. They are more than just linguistic curiosities; they are windows into a vibrant culture. This is why exploring them can be an enriching experience for Latvian learners. And if you want to learn the Latvian language or other Baltic languages, Ling has got you covered!

The Ling app is designed to help anyone who is passionate about learning a new language. It offers a Latvian course with features such as interactive writing and listening exercises, fun quizzes, vocabulary matching, and an AI chatbot so you can practice your conversational skills.

Ling offers you everything to learn Latvian (and 60+ other languages!) from scratch. All you have to do is download the Ling app from the App Store or Play Store and spare as little as 10 minutes a day for learning!

That’s not all! Check out Ling’s Latvian blog weekly for articles that will teach you more about this fascinating language and its culture!

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