32 Funny Albanian Sayings And Phrases
Your quest for Albanian fluency wouldn’t be complete without learning some of the country’s most popular sayings and phrases!
Learning Albanian sayings is a great way to improve your Albanian skills, while also amusing yourself with the sheer ridiculousness of their literal meanings.
Idioms and proverbs give you insight into a culture’s values and beliefs, and can be fun to use in conversation (especially the translated versions that would sound bizarre in English!).
We’ve put together a list of 32 popular Albanian sayings, along with their general and literal meanings in English. Do bear in mind that some of these aren’t used in certain parts of Albania, as you would expect. Also, the translations are rough estimates, as some of these idioms are quite difficult to translate directly.
Okay, ready to get started? Let the hilarity commence!
1. S’pin më ujë
It doesn’t work.
Literal translation: It doesn’t drink water.
2. I bie fyellit në një vrimë
To talk about the same thing again and again, to the point of becoming annoying.
Literal translation: Playing the flute in only one key.
3. Ta ha zemerën
Used to express affection.
Literal translation: I’ll eat your heart.
4. Mos ha shum burek
You’re talking garbage!
Literal translation: Don’t eat too much burek. (Burek is a traditional Albanian pastry dish)
5. Do dru?
Do you want to get beaten up?
Literal translation: Do you want wood?
6. Ta ha synin
Used as a compliment to someone who looks attractive.
Literal translation: I’ll eat your eye.
7. I jep dorën, të merr krahun
Said when you help someone and they try to get more out of you/take advantage of you.
Literal translation: Give them a hand, they take your whole arm.
8. Copë mish me dy sy!
Said about or to a useless person.
Literal translation: A piece of meat with two eyes!
9. Ik/shko mbushu!
Literal translation: Go fill yourself up!
10. Fry sytë
You can’t do anything about it.
Literal translation: Blow your eyes.
11. Flet si e ëma e Zeqos në majë të thanës
Talking nonsense or say silly things.
Literal translation: Talk like Zeqo’s mother at the top of the cranberry tree.
12. Ta ha shpirtin
Used to express affection, usually to something or someone cute (like a baby).
Literal translation: I’ll eat your soul.
13. Nuk bie rrufeja në hale
Nothing bad can happen to an evil person.
Literal translation: The thunder doesn’t strike in the toilet.
14. S’mban me uje pilafi!
Literal translation: The rice doesn’t keep more water.
15. Fshati digjet, kurva krihet!
Refers to someone who does nothing when something bad is happening.
Literal translation: The village is burning, the b*tch combs her hair!
16. Ke ngrënë gazetë për mëngjes?
Something you say to someone who’s very talkative early in the morning.
Literal translation: Did you have a newspaper for breakfast?
17. Mere veten met mir
Literal translation: Take care of yourself.
18. I ke bërë lekët rrush e kumbulla
It means that you’ve messed something up.
Literal translation: Spend your money on grapes and plums.
19. Kam lënë leshtë!
Said when you spend or lose a lot of money.
Literal translation: I have left my hair!
20. M’u prish gjiza mua
Said when you don’t care about something or someone.
Literal translation: As if my cottage cheese will go bad.
21. Të njoh dhëmbe e dhëmballë!
Something said when you know someone really well.
Literal translation: I know your teeth and your molars!
22. T’rafte pika!
Literal translation: May the point fall on you!
23. Dhi e zgjebosur e bishtin përpjetë
Applied to someone who’s trouble but refuses to acknowledge it.
Literal translation: A sick goat but with its tail upwards.
24. Në të sëmës
An ironic phrase said about somewhere that’s actually far away.
Literal translation: At the mother’s.
25. Të bësh një vrimë në ujë
Said to a useless person who can’t do anything.
Literal translation: To make a hole in the water.
26. T’u bëftë dita një mijë
Said to express a great deal of thanks/gratitude.
Literal translation: May your day become one thousand.
27. Shih me sy e plas me zemër
To see something and know you won’t ever get or achieve it.
Literal translation: See with your eyes and burst with your heart.
28. Më iku zari!
Said when you’re really bored or annoyed.
Literal translation: My dice left me!
29. Të ka xhepi lekë!
Literal translation: Your pocket has money!
30. Fshati që duket s’do kallauz
Something obvious needs no further explanation.
Literal translation: The village that can be seen doesn’t need a guide.
31. Sa për sy e faqe
Doing something just for show.
Literal translation: Just for eyes and cheeks.
32. Më hape barkun!
Said when you want to express your dislike of someone or something; when something makes you sick.
Literal translation: You open my belly!
We hope you had as much fun reading these as we had discovering them! Your challenge now is to try to use as many of them as possible in conversation with your Albanian friends. They’ll be both impressed and amused, we promise!