All Slavic languages: when hell freezes over

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by cyanista, May 23, 2006.

  1. cyanista

    cyanista законодательница мод

    Inspired by a similar thread in the German forum I would like to ask what expressions your language has to express the idea of the day that will never come.

    -Will you go out with me?
    -Yeah, wenn hell freezes over.

    The Russians have "после дождика в четверг" (when it rains on Thursday). I've read it comes from the fact that people would pray to Perun, the god of thunder, asking to send them rain. It was mostly done on Thursday, the day of the week dedicated to Perun. Naturally, the prayers were all too often unsuccessful, which gave birth to the abovementioned expression. :)
  2. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    Až naprší a uschne - "as soon as it rains and becomes dry again"
    Na svatého Dyndy - "on St. Dynda Day" (Saint Dynda does not exist and the word sounds funny)

    I have always been puzzled by the former. :) It rains reasonably often in our latitudes, and yet, we use it as a way of saying never.

  3. alby Senior Member

    In Croatian we have:
    Na sveto nigdarjevo - On the Saint Never
    Kad na vrbi rodi grožđe- when the willow gives grapes
    This two sentance are most common...

  4. Marijka

    Marijka Member

    Lublin/Eastern Poland
    Same in Polish ( hmm..almost the same:)) :
    Na świętego Dygdy ( of course St. Dygda doesn't exits either:))
    Na świętego Nigdy = On the St. Never.
    I think this St.Dygda is somehow connected with word "nigdy" = never

    Kiedy piekło zamarznie = When hell freezes over.

    Za ruski miesiąc/gdy minie ruski miesiąc = after the Russian (Ruthenian) month will pass
    Russian month= very very long, neverending

    Ohhh and:
    Kiedy wyrosną gruszki na wierzbie = when willow gives pears
  5. Maja

    Maja Senior Member

    Binghamton, NY
    Serbian, Serbia
    In Serbian:
    "Kad na vrbi rodi grožđe" (Cyrillic: "Кад на врби роди грожђе") - which (loosely) means "when grapes start growing on willows". :)

  6. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    Maybe because the second part of this saying is: go nie ma nigdy. :)

    I've never heard this one, I must admit.

    Here are a few that I know:
    W grudniu po południu. (In December in the afternoon)

    Ad Kalendas Graecas. This one is kinda sophisitcated one.

    W Lipnie jak pies dupę wypnie. (In Lipno when a dog moons) And this one is really very informal, I don't advise using it among people you don't know. ;)

    30 lutego (on 30th February)

    Prędzej mi kaktus tutaj/na ręku wyrośnie niż...
    Sooner a cactus will grow here/on my arm than...
  7. cecoll Member


    very nice topic :) what we say here is:

    "на куково лято" (na kukovo liato) or = on a cukoo`s summer :p
    "На марта в сряда" (na marta v sriada) or = in March on Wednesday (very strange don`t u think?)

    these are the most commonly used, we also say:

    ...ама друг път (ama drug pat) = some other time (more likely never)

    I think there are more, but only my granny knows them...:D

    P.s by the way I know what "dupę" in polish is so this translation (In Lipno when a dog moons) doesn`t seem very full to me...;)
  8. Maja

    Maja Senior Member

    Binghamton, NY
    Serbian, Serbia
    We also say, in Serbian, "na kukovo leto" (Cyrillic "на куково лето"). I've totally forgotten about that one. Thnx :)
    Although I am not sure if it has to do with cuckoo (bird in Serbian "kukavica") or rump, shellbone (cul. "kuk/rebnjak")??? Or smt completely different...???

  9. cecoll Member

    I have always thought it has something to do with the bird (kukuvica) the other meaning is unknown to me :rolleyes:

  10. cyanista

    cyanista законодательница мод

    Wow! It has been very interesting so far! And many expressions are indeed very mysterious. :) Thank you all for your detailed answers!
  11. cecoll Member

    Ok I found more expressions in Bulgarian, so here they are:

    1) когато си видя врата (kogato si vidia vrata) or = when i see my neck (without mirror of course)
    2) когато цъфнат налъмите (kogato tzafnat nalamite) or = when my wooden slippers blossom
    3) на конския Великден (na konskia Velikden) or = on the Horse Easter ,

    /now about that one to be honest, I thought this Easter didn`t exist, but after consulting my granny it turned out to be the day called Todorovden (a name`s day) which happens to be in March :) , but always on Saturday :confused: . Actually this is the first saturday of the Easter fasting and it is believed that on that day St.Todor wears nine fur-coats and goes to God to beg for summer :) . I don`t know if that has anything to do with the other expression or the very meaning of the expression. It is called a Horse Easter cause on that day horse racings take place./

    And finally i got a more modern saying that has developed here in the past years:

    4) when we beat Sweden in football :D (I`d really like to see that day)
  12. aleksk Senior Member

    македонски, Macedonian
    In Macedonian:
    We have the one about the willow and the grapes (the most common one in speech I think) - Кога врбата ќе роди грозје;
    and also "на куково лето" (which I'm not sure what it means).
  13. stargazer

    stargazer Senior Member

    Slovenia, Slovenian

    in Slovenia we also say "on Saint Never's day", i.e "ob svetem nikoli".
  14. cecoll Member


    I found also this expression in Russian:

    Когда рак на горе свистнет (Kogda rak na gore svisnet) When the crayfish on the hill whistles.

    I`m not very sure what it means, so maybe someone from Russia will explain or confirm it does exist as an expression. :)
  15. cyanista

    cyanista законодательница мод

    Blimey, how could I have forgotten this one! Well, it's much more imaginative than the English " when pigs fly". :D
    Thank you for reminding me of it, Cvetan.

    By the way, I've found many more suggestions here (Задание 2) but honestly speaking I've never heard or seen any of them before. Still, some are quite nice:
    Когда восток с западом сойдется.When east meets west.
    Когда песок на камне взойдет. When sand sprouts on stone
    Когда черт помрет, а он еще и не хворал. When the devil dies and he's not ill yet. :)
  16. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    Interesting idiomatic thread. Slovak, Ukranian?
  17. sesperxes

    sesperxes Senior Member

    Burgos (Spain)
  18. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
  19. marco_2 Senior Member

    I think the Russians also say На турецкую пасху (на русский байрам) - "When the Turks will celebrate Easter (and the Russians - Bayram)"
  20. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    There is another strange saying in Czech:

    jednou za uherský měsíc = once in a Hungarian month (it means: very rarely, hardly ever);
    jednou za uherský rok = once in a Hungarian year;

    colloq. abbr. jednou za uherák

    For example:
    Auto tudy projede jednou za uherský měsíc.
    Mám sex jednou za uherský rok.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
  21. TKD Member

    Slovak - Slovakia
    Až / Keď naprší a uschne. (most common)
    Na Svätého Dindy.
    Keď v pekle začne mrznúť.
  22. swintok Senior Member

    English - Canada
    Since I'm not a native speaker of Ukrainian and did not grow up with the language, my knowledge of idioms depends on what I've come across and I've not come across this one before. Sorry, you'll have to wait for someone else to answer with the Ukrainian equivalent.
  23. marco_2 Senior Member

    The Poles from Lvov used an expression Gdy rak świśnie na Świętego Jura, which sounds very abstract ("When a crayfish whistles on St.George's Day", or maybe "on St.George's Hill" - a place in Lvov where a Greek-Catholic St.George Cathedral is located).
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
  24. osemnais Senior Member

    This one, used also without ама, comes from a joke:
    -Тате каза, че ще ми купи колело, ама друг път.
    -Dad said, that he'll buy me a bicycle, but another time.

    There are also the words дрънки and грънци(thorns~brush and pots~jars, both diminutives), used alone, that sometimes are used with the same meaning:

    Дрънки ще дойде утре = 'Thorns' he will come tomorrow
    Ще успее да продаде нещо грънци = He will manage to sell something 'pots'

    In such cases both words are void of their semantic meaning and carry only the element of doubt/impossibility.
  25. FelipeC New Member

    In the Slovak it is the same as in the Czech.I don't know another sayings
  26. There is a beautiful Czech expression "až pokvetou hrábě" (when the rake will bloom).
  27. swintok Senior Member

    English - Canada
    Actually that does remind me of one politically incorrect phrase in Ukrainian: ... на жидівську Пасху.

    I also remember in the early 1990s I was in Kyiv and I heard the following phrase in Russian: ... когда построется варшавское метро. I was told at the time that it had a similar meaning to "when hell freezes over." I only heard it once or twice, though, so I doubt that it had wide currency. It's also moot now that Warsaw has a metro :)
  28. swintok Senior Member

    English - Canada
    Another one I used to hear not infrequently in Russian in Kyiv in the early 90s was: ...когда построится коммунизм.

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