Wise & Meaningful Polish Phrases To Live By

13 April 2023
By Sarah Angela Almaden
Japanese House
Unsplash: Clem Onojeghuo

A lot can happen in a moment. A lot can also happen when a random string of words are said at the right time. For example, when one says “I love you” to someone, deep feelings of love, care, affection, and happiness are popping up. And when one says “this is not my circus, not my monkeys” thoughts of “yeah, I’m not getting involved in any hullabaloo going on that isn’t mine” or possible thoughts of confusion might be appearing, especially if one hasn’t heard of such expression. The expression actually comes from a Polish phrase “nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy” which translates to “not my circus, not my monkeys.” As silly as it may sound, the statement kind of makes sense because if the circus isn’t yours, then the monkeys are also not yours. Just like that funky expression, which by the way you can definitely use when you’re alluding to something that is not your business, the Polish language is full of many more interesting sayings that are perfect for any occasion. These idiomatic expressions add a bit of flair and rarity to this beautiful West Slavic language. Read on this list and see for yourself!

  • Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy
    Translation: not my circus, not my monkeys
    Meaning: it’s none of my business, so I’m not getting involved
  • Myśleć o niebieskich migdałach
    Translation: thinking of blue almonds
    Meaning: to daydream
  • Bułka z masłem
    Translation: roll with butter
    Meaning: to describe something easy to do
  • Nie wywołuj wilka z lasu
    Translation: don’t call a wolf out of the woods
    Meaning: leave things as they should be and don't stir the pot
  • Gruszki na wierzbie
    Translation: pears on a willow
    Meaning: something will most likely not happen
  • Oliwa sprawiedliwa zawsze na wierzch wypływa
    Translation: just oil always ends up surfacing
    Meaning: the truth always comes out
  • Miłość jest ślepa
    Translation: love is blind
    Meaning: when you are in love, you cannot see someone's flaws
  • On ma węża w kieszeni
    Translation: somebody has a snake in their pocket
    Meaning: a way to describe a greedy person
  • Wypchać się sianem
    Translation: go stuff yourself with hay
    Meaning: to tell someone to go away