Here’s the thing: Punjabis have a way with words. They can lift your spirits just by talking to you in their inimitable and unique style filled with joie de vivre! And what is better than to throw in some colorful Punjabi idioms to up the fun quotient while speaking this fun language? In today’s post, we’ll learn just that —a few Punjabi ਮੁਹਾਵਰੇ (pronounced as Muhāvarē) to add spunk and color to your conversations. So, let’s get started!
Learning idioms in Punjabi can help improve your understanding and fluency in the language. Idioms are often used in everyday conversation and can add depth and nuance to your communication. Knowing a few can also give you insight into Punjabi culture and how people think and express themselves. In the next section, let’s go over the best ones to learn when you’re starting with this language.
Punjabi Idioms To Swear By
#1 O Kehri Gali, Jithe Bhago Nahi Khali (ਉ ਕੇਹਰਿ ਗਲੀ, ਜਿਥੇ ਭਾਗੋ ਨਹੀਂ ਖਲੀ)
Literal translation: There is not an alley where Bhago can’t be spotted.
This is said to a person who is so jobless that they are seen any and everywhere, even at irrelevant places, doing irrelevant things. So, the next time you visit a friend being utterly nonchalant with their time, you know what to say to them.
#2 Saddi Na Bulayi, Main Laarhe Di Taayi (ਸੱਦੀ ਨਾ ਬੁਲਾਈ, ਮੈਂ ਲਾੜੇ ਦੀ ਤਾਈਂ)
Literal translation: (I) wasn’t invited, (but) I am the groom’s aunt.
This idiom talks of a person who turns up uninvited to an occasion. In the broader sense, it holds for a person who has a habit of poking their nose in everyone’s affairs.
#3 O Din Dubba Jad Ghori Chareya Kubba (ਉ ਦਿਨ ਡੁੱਬਾ, ਜਦ ਘੋੜੀ ਚੜ੍ਹਿਆ ਕੁੱਬਾ)
Literal translation: It would be the day of the apocalypse when a hunchback would ride a mare.
This Punjabi idiom is said when a person is assumably set for failure when he is striving to do an impossible task.
#4 Khaane Chhole, Dakaar Badaama De (ਖਾਣੇ ਛੋਲੇ, ਡਕਾਰ ਬਦਾਮ ਦੇ)
Literal translation: Eating chickpeas, (but) burping almonds
This is literally an artistic expression when it comes to the Punjabi language. It refers to a person who makes a big show of performing even little tasks. It could also be used for someone who leaves no opportunity to project themselves as something they are not in reality.
#5 Naahti Dhoti Reh Gi, Muh Te Makhi Behgi (ਨਹਾਤੀ ਧੋਤੀ ਰਹਿ ਗਈ, ਮੂੰਹ ਤੇ ਮੱਖੀ ਬਾਈ ਗਈ)
Literal translation: Bathed and cleaned (oneself), and yet flies are swarming on (one’s) face
This Punjabi expression talks about how one can make all the efforts, yet success sometimes evades them. Or, in a narrower context, a person puts a lot of hard work into something, but it doesn’t result in what they expected it to be because something or the other is always lacking.
#6 Aate Naal Ghun Vi Pisda Hai Hor Lakkad Naal Loha Bhi Tarda Hai (ਆਟੇ ਨਾਲ ਘੁਣ ਵੀ ਪਿਸਦਾ ਹੈ ਹੋਰ ਲੱਕੜ ਨਾਲ ਲੋਹਾ ਵੀ ਤਰਦਾ ਹੈ)
Literal translation: The mite (that infests the wheat) gets crushed along when the wheat is turned into flour. Similarly, iron meets the same fate as wood.
In just a few words, this Punjabi phrase tells one to beware of the company they keep; otherwise, their name also might get spoiled.
#7 Singaa Naal Dosti, Poochha Naal Vair (ਸਿੰਗਾ ਨਾਲ ਦੋਸਤੀ, ਪੂਛਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਵੈਰ)
Literal translation: Being comfortable with the horns and discomforted by the tail.
This Punjabi idiom paints quite a funny picture! It points out how a gullible person assumes good things for bad and bad for good.
#8 Sau Siyaane Iko Mat, Murakh Apo Apni (ਸੌ ਸਿਆਣੇ ਇੱਕੋ ਮੱਤ, ਮੂਰਖ ਆਪੋ ਅਪਨੀ)
Literal translation: 100 wise men are of the same opinion, but a fool follows his own version.
This one is aptly said for a rebel without a cause who plays his own tune despite being wrong. So, the next time you see a person foolishly clinging to their wrong ideas, you know what to say to them.
#9 Itt Kutte Da Vair Hona (ਇੱਟ ਕੁੱਤੇ ਦਾ ਵੈਰ ਹੋਣਾ)
Literal translation: Being enemies like a brick and a dog.
This Punjabi proverb might sound bizarre. Usually, bad people scare away dogs by throwing bricks at them. This Punjabi phrase refers to the pinnacle of animosity that can be reached between two people.
#10 Kucchar Kudi Te Shehar Dhindora (ਕੁਛੜ ਕੁੜੀ ਤੇ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਢਿੰਢੋਰਾ)
Literal translation: Screaming for a missing baby while it is literally in your lap.
This is one of those highly exaggerated Punjabi Muhavare which paints quite a picture. This describes an exact situation in which a person creates a ruckus looking for something while having the same thing.
#11 Siro Ganji, Hath Kanghiya Da Joda (ਸਿਰੋਂ ਗੰਜੀ ਹਠ ਕਾਂਘਿਆ ਦਾ ਜੋੜਾ)
Literal translation: Possessing a comb even when (one is) bald.
What would a bald person do with a comb? The same question arises when someone is adamant about using/ doing something without having an actual need for it.
#12 Kar Punn Kha Ghasunn (ਕਰ ਪੁਨ ਖਾ ਘਸੁਨ)
Literal translation: Doing a good deed but getting punched in return.
This is one of the most poignant Punjabi Muhavare, in my opinion, that refers to the sad reality that one doesn’t always get thanked in return for their good deeds. Sometimes, their goodness is met with ungratefulness at the receiver’s end.
#13 Kutte Bhaunkde Rehnde Ne, Hathi Langh Jande Ne (ਕੁੱਤੇ ਭੌਂਕਦੇ ਰਹਿੰਦੇ ਨੇ, ਹਾਥੀ ਲੰਘ ਜਾਂਦੇ ਨੇ)
Literal translation: Dogs keep barking, and elephants pass by.
This is the most commonly used Punjabi proverb to motivate someone to keep pursuing their goals without heeding naysayers. In simpler words, this Punjabi idiom encourages you to be steadfast in your own decision and not think of what society thinks.
#14 Garhe Nu Hath Laaya, Sara Tabar Tihaaya (ਗਾੜ੍ਹੇ ਨੂੰ ਹੇਠ ਲਾਯਾ, ਸਾਰਾ ਟੱਬਰ ਤਿਹਾਯਾ)
Literal translation: The thicket was brought down, and the entire family got divided.
The Punjabi idiom makes a funny comment on people’s sheep-like behavior, referring to how when someone needs something for their own, many heads pop up to clamor for the same.
#15 Aap Na Vassi, Lokaan Nu Matti (ਆਪ ਨਾ ਵੱਸੀ, ਲੋਕਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਮੱਤੀ)
Literal translation: Not settled onself but advising people to do so.
No one likes to be told what to do. This Punjabi proverb points out exactly how some people have a tendency to unsolicitedly advise others on what to do when they don’t follow their own advice.
Interested In Learning More Punjabi?
Punjabi is a fun language to learn, mainly because of the rich cultural background it hails from. If you want to learn more of these Punjabi language idioms and proverbs and bring out the best of your language skills, then you better try out the Ling app. Download the Ling app on the Play Store or App Store and learn more about Punjabi today!