Będzie pan zadowolony


Lit. “you will be content, sir”. The phrase is used by service provider if the customer asks too many questions or voices doubts. It is associated mainly with specialists as car mechanics, builders, plumbers, house renovators, and quite often used ironically  – in connection with several memes showing examples of sloppy work which Polish has a nice word for: “fuszerka“.

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Na czarną godzinę


Lit. “for a black hour” which usually refers to financial problems, for instance, losing your job. The expression is usually coupled with the Polish verb “to save” – “oszczędzać” or “odkładać” and used when you are or have saved some money as a contingency for possible crises. May refer to cash you keep under your pillow or your secret bank account.

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Pocałować klamkę


Lit. “to kiss the doorknob”. This is used to say that someone tried to meet a person or enter a building in order to buy something, get some information or, say, attend a concert, but wasn’t let in or the person she/he wanted to meet wasn’t there.

The expression itself is fairly neutral, not necessarily suggesting bad intentions of the hosting party, but is quite often used to say that, for instance, the manager actually was at the office,but simply did not want to talk to an employee and instructed her/his secretary to say she/he’s out.

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Brać na klatę


Lit. “to take on the chest” which figuratively means to take responsibility, take over some difficult or inconvenient task, especially if multiple people could take over but only one of them volunteers. This colloquial expression stems from the most common bench press exercise in which you are able to “take on” a specific weight attached to barbells. In Poland’s gyms you can quite often hear that somebody “bierze na klatę 120” which means he is able to do bench pressing with 120 kilograms on the bar. A similar expression “przyjąć na klatę” is used to describe trapping ball with chest in football.

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Kowal zawinił, Cygana powiesili


Lit. “it’s the blacksmith who’s guilty, but they hung the Gypsy”. You use this expression to point at an injustice and suggest that a person or an institution with more power (social, financial or political) got away with their wrongdoing while another actor with much less influence took the blame and was punished.

The source of this saying is obviously with an important role wealthy smiths have played in rural Poland while travelling Roma traditionally being outcasts and blamed for whatever crime happened while they were around.

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