9 common phrases from around the world that lose all meaning in English

CucumberPaul Blow / VikingIdioms don’t always make sense, even when they’re in English to start.

We all use idioms.

Has someone pulled the wool over your eyes? Was your annual review a bitter pill to swallow? Or was it an ace in the hole?

These quirks of speech aren’t limited to English speakers. Everyone has their own idioms that make sense in their native language — or maybe only in the moment — but wouldn’t make much sense to those of us who are less than fluent.

After asking their international colleagues to weigh in, Viking, a part of Office Depot that spans 11 countries, worked with British artist Paul Blow to visualise some of the less-translatable phrases people use around the world every day.

See his interpretations, shared with permission from Viking, below:

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