From World of Charun

Idioms and proverbs usually arise from the general outlook on life, religion and environment found with the culture they hail from. Idioms hence tend to confuse those not already familiar with them culturally.


Idioms and Proverbs


Don't draw a sword against a louse = Don't exaggerate

The wound of words is worse than the wound of swords = An insult achieves greater harm than a wound

He licks, where he used to spit = Refers to being wildly inconsistent and/or sucking up to someone

Better be a tail for the lions than the head of the foxes = It is better to be a minor member of a strong group, than a prominent leader of a weak group

Let's pour clear water into the glass = Let's straighten things out between us

One who preaches water and drinks wine = One who is a hypocrite

Sometimes only a pinch of sand is all you need = Even insignifcant ones are important at times

More about: Chugir


There would be work for an axe = Something should be corrected, possibly with quite harsh means.

The cost of your axe = An extremely high price; to pay too much for something, sometimes out of a sense of desperation

If the axe is poor, it is the hammers fault = A poor craftsman blames his tools

Between the hammer and the anvil = Between two problems

A mountain ended up as a sapling = Great expectations turned out to be much less

Ironwheel made of wood = Nonsense

Upon falling, he didn't bother as his beard didn't get soiled = One who manages not to lose face despite defeat gets such compliment.

A single dwarven hammerblow is worth a hundred thrusts of an elven dagger = Used to explain the strength of something when compared to something weaker

Unused iron is ruined by rust = Tools, weapons and persons not put to use go bad

More about: Clainthuror


A threat does not lengthen your sword = Threats won't get you anywhere

My enemy's liver is the sheath of my sword = I do not fear the foe

Make a friend of the wolf, but keep your sword ready = Never trust the foe

If not for your tongue, the crows would have gouged out your eyes = You are a smooth talker

The wolf has a thick neck, because he kills his own prey = If you want something done right - do it yourself.

A crow will not peck out a crow's eyes = Those who are the same do not hurt each other

In the wedding of the mad widow one who has a meal is the clever one = One who manages to get by in a wild and chaotic situation deserves compliments. Only a smart person can manage to find such a wedding and even enjoy a meal there.

Defend me from chickens, for wolves I'm not afraid of = This refers to people: the chicken are the mean people, the treacherous friends, the wolves are the known enemies. Often used to display courage before a battle with the "wolves".

Your elbow is close, yet you can't bite it = It only seems to be easy

More about: Dazak

Desert People

Adding legs when painting a snake = Don't overdo something

Fight poison with poison = Fight fire with fire

Piercing one's shield with one's spear = Self-contradiction (A maker of weapons raised up one of his spears and shouted, "This spear can pierce through any wall!" Then, he raised up one of his shields and shouted, "This shield can deflect anything." When he was asked what would happen if he pierced his own shield with his own spear, he was speechless, since he had contradicted himself.)

A monkey is a gazelle in its mother’s eyes = People are not objective when it comes to themselves and their family

Never say no to a well and its water = Never say never

If your spear is short, lengthen it with a step = Use the resources you have available

Do not blame the gods for having created the lion, but thank them for not having given it wings = Things could be worse

The heat of the sun is felt by everybody, the heat in the heart can only be felt by oneself = There is no point of nurturing a contempt/hate/anger inside us, let it go.

What the wind brings, the wind will take away = Easy come, easy go

More about: Desert People

Eastern Lands

All the human cultures in the Eastern Lands share their ancient idioms.

One day, a thousand autumns = Implies rapid changes

If the wind comes from an empty cave, it's not without a reason = Most seemingly strange events and actions have logical explanations.

The old horse in the stable still yearns to run across the land = Don't underestimate experienced people, old people still may have great ambitions and potential.

A tiger father has no canine sons = The son of a great man is of no less valor than his father

A spark can start a fire that burns the entire steppe = Don't underestimate the potential destructive power that a seemingly minor problems can spread

Jade requires chiselling before becoming a gem = A person needs training and discipline to build character

If you do not enter the tiger's cave, you will not catch its cub = Nothing ventured, nothing gained

Pulling water to your own rice paddy = Doing/speaking about things in a way to benefit yourself.

May you live a thousand years and may each year have a fifty thousand days = May you live your life to the fullest

More about: Easterner


When fate throws a dagger at you, there are only two ways to catch it: by the blade or by the handle = Choose wisely/Actions not carefully considered may have negative consequences

Man is preceded by forest and followed by desert = Human nature is bound to destruction

Thorns themselves will not harm you - you hurt yourself on the thorns = Nature hasn't bad intentions

Drop by drop would make a lake = Be patient

The owl made fun of it's own shadow = "The pot calls the kettle black"

Let the sword and the bow decide only after the plan has failed = Think before you resolve to violence

You can not fire two bows at once = The task is impossible

If you want to see a rainbow you must first sit through the rain = You need to make an effort to gain something

Even the magpie wants a lot but is unable to carry it all = Don't be greedy, take what is enough - not more

If it does not bend as a sapling, will it when it is a tree? = Those who have trouble following rules as young will get worse when they get older

Clouds that thunder seldom bring rain = Those who make the most threats seldom do anything

There is a blade beneath the folded hands = This is a warning about those who speak softly but may pose a threat

You do not require a mirror to see the bracelet = Things that are visible do not need proof for their existence

Like the bow and arrow = Each is dependent on the other for their mutual survival

Like an owl craving for the moon = A person who wishing for something impossible

How do humans get anything done in such short lives? They are able to wage war, destroy everything, repair it, and multiply like rabbits. Such strange beings they are!

More about: Elf


To throw the spoon in the corner = To die

Breaks loose like a grandma's tooth = Goes very, very easily

To have a chicken to pluck = To have unresolved disputes

Into the Hillyfield well = To go to waste

Like two berries = Two people or things that seem extremely alike

From the ditch to the duck pond = From one bad situation to another

Pull a pea up one's nose = To be provoked.

Those are not your onions = It is none of your business

Luck exists in the leftovers = There is luck in the last helping

It is necessary to break the core to have the almond = You need to make an effort to gain something

One must consider both the cabbage and the goat = One needs to consider all points of view

It's not eaten as hot as it's cooked = Things aren't as bad as they initially appear to be

Still has the eggshell on his bottom = A beginner, a young one, inexperienced person

Butter behind the ears = Guilty of something

There are many ways to kill a pig besides choking it with butter = There's more than one way to do something - usually, more simply

Uneaten soup and burned mouth = Applied in situations where one gets in trouble for an action that hasn't committed

If I haven't eaten wheat-bread, I've seen it in people's hands = Eventhough I'm not directly experienced with something, I have indirect experience

More about: Halfling


To have the heart in the hand = To be generous

A bad spouse spells a hundred years of bad harvest = A bad companion is a ruin of the entire person/group

One arrow, two goblins = Killing two goblins with one arrow; Doing two things with one action.

A blacksmith has no need of an axe = The right tool for the right job

If you wish to drown, do not torture yourself with shallow water = If you want to do something, do it properly

A dog has to have its stomach full = Treat those in your service well and they, in turn, will treat you well

To tell the dog to catch, and the rabbit to run = To play your enemies off against each other.

Like a chicken without a head = To act like a fool

When two dogs fight over a bone, a third one carries it away = Quibbling (or worse) between two parties, leads to opportunities for a third party

Like a snail on a barrel of tar = Very slow

It hits like a grip on a pig = It makes no sense at all

Each to his craft, and the cows will be well looked after = One should mind one's own business

Goblin took it all = Applied when something was wasted, or isn't there anymore

More about: Hillfolk


Choosing eggs for your gold = Taking the easiest and safest way out

Throwing the hat at it = Not doing your best

Not being able to reach it with your hat = Not understanding something

Not wrapping it in silk = Saying it exactly like it is, using no euphemisms

To put the horse behind the cart = Doing something really stupid

It's not only cooks that wear long knives = Don't jump to conclusions on the basis of appearances

Gentle healers make stinking wounds = It is better to treat a problem thoroughly even if the treatment is painful, otherwise it may get worse

Better bend than break = Better to adapt/flee than die

More about: Journeyman


Like a frog trapped under a coconut shell = No experience, narrow minded (but acts as if he knows everything)

No meat, roots will do = If you are desperate, you must not be choosy

An empty drum gives good sound = A person who talks a lot usually is empty inside (of knowledge).

In a piranha infested river, monkeys drink water using a straw = Knowing the risks, be careful

More about: Kamale


The Kurashi idioms are also used by the Kurashi Pirates.

Any port in a storm = An unfavourable option which might well be avoided in good times but which nevertheless looks better than the alternatives at the current time.

Not only can water float a boat, it can sink it also = There are opposite aspects of any tool or power.

If you do not know how to fish, do not stir up the water = Don't talk about what you haven't got a clue about.

One hand won't clap = Some things can't be done by one person alone

Not even a donkey hits its head on the same stone twice = One who makes the same mistake twice is a fool

Keep your eye on the sail = Keep checking something

A flag on a mud barge = Trying to make the ugly beautiful

When life permits = When there is time, energy and means to do it - it will happen.

More about: Kurashi


The Mubuluki idioms are found amongst the Corsairs as well.

To run with one's head as a third leg = To be in a great hurry

To be a monkey on a branch = To be at home; in one's natural habitat

When a tree falls, the monkeys scatter = When a leader loses power, his followers become disorganized

Even monkeys fall from trees = Everyone makes mistakes / Nobody's perfect

You can't scare a monkey with a dead baboon = Empty threats won't get you anywhere

Even if a monkey wears a gold ring, it is and remains ugly = One can not fix up something internally bad by a simple outer change

You can't teach an old monkey how to make faces = You can't teach someone old and stubborn new ways

It's better not to poke a lion with a short staff = Measure the danger of the situation before acting

More about: Mubuluk


The Northland idioms are found with inhabitants of the Northlands, be they humans or Nurun. The Eiothar are the exception - they share the elven ways of expression.

To open one's head = To speak provocatively to someone

Not to have a mouth of birch bark = Not to abstain from alcohol (always used with a negative).

Like a bear with an arrow in his ass = Being extremely cranky

As if swallowed a spear = Standing unnaturally or needlessly upright. To be seemingly nervous

Like drinking tar = Extremely slow, difficult, or ardurous

Like ash in the wind = Disappeared without trace

Previous winter's snow = Not relevant anymore, often used of past offences, concerns or sorrows.

Nose-bleaching = Sobering up, as in the sense of not drinking alcoholic beverages for a week or a month.

He who buckles his armour should not boast as the one who opens it = He who goes into battle should not boast as much as the one who has won it

Pissing in your boots won't keep your feet warm for long = This won't help much

A bad rower blames the oar = A bad workman blames his tools

Three feet of ice does not result from one day of freezing weather = A predicament is not formed without a period of events creating it.

More about: Northlands


Knight for (just) three days = Giving up at the first sign of difficulty

The sun won't stay behind the cloud = The truth won't stay hidden and will come out

It's the waterer getting drenched = It's the biter who got bit

It's the melody that makes the song = It's not what you say but the way you say it

The spit of the toad doesn't reach the white dove = Words won't harm me

The sword and shield does not make the knight = Don't judge someone on their appearence

This is written with a pitchfork on flowing water = This is higly unlikely

More about: Sanctia

Three Isles

The idioms found on the Three Isles are widely used by all inhabitants, regardless of race.

Read like the thief reads the law = To deliberately look for loopholes, in order to follow the letter without following the spirit.

To carry one's buttocks on one's shoulders = To be really drunk

Suit ghost = A person who insists on being sharply and formally dressed, but who appears to do little, if any, actual work. Almost always used of men, but sometimes of women too.

As a piece of trash in the broth = As the bad exception in an otherwise good company.

Unless an idiot dies, he won't be cured = Stupid is forever

The ways are many, said the woman while wiping the table with the cat = There's more than one way to do something. Often used when it becomes necessary to resort to unconventional methods.

Measure twice, cut once = Think thoroughly before you act

One likes the priest, and one likes the priest's wife = Different people have different tastes

The priests are sick when the poor are dead = Religion is weak when there are no desperate people

Gold is not found under a horse's hoof = Wealth is hard to come by

Went to the council's treasury = It got wasted

More about: Three Isles


Gold is sharper than a sword = A promise of gold achieves more than a threat of violence

When a thief finds nothing to steal he will steal a dagger made of sand = Those wishing you harm will not settle until they have succeeded even in a minor way

An egg-thief will become a horse-thief = Great misdeeds start from small mistakes.

With a soft tongue(speech) you can even pull a snake out of its nest = You speak very gently - or - try to speak gently

The dogs bark, yet the caravan passes by = Let the others/world say what it will

Once the wine is drawn, it must be drunk = You must finish what you started

Looking for fleas in the straw = Looking for something impossible to find

This caravan is lame until doomsday = This problem is not going to be solved

More about: Umair


A close shot isn't a kill = Almost doesn't count

Don't sell the bearskin before killing the bear = Do things in the right order

Without food the hunter is no good = To achieve something, you need to account for all things - even the most basic

To believe that a frog is a fish because it lives in the water = Appearance can be deceiving

Only mountains never meet = There are none so distant that fate cannot bring together

If the rooster crows on the dung heap, the weather will change or stay the way it is = An opinion that has no influence on the world (Often used to counter a statement that is clearly wrong)

Going barefoot on the thorns = Getting into difficulties unprepared

The bushes don't rattle if there's no wind = "There's no smoke without fire"

Where there are no eagles, I am the one, said the grasshopper = Used about an insiginificant person on a powertrip

Scarce as a white raven = Non-existant

The dogs bark, the bear passes by... = Weak protests won't disturb the powerful.

More about: Woodsman

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