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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Tu leży pies pogrzebany


Lit. “that’s where the dog lies buried” which seems to have been adopted from German and is present in multiple other, not only slavic or germanic languages. It’s used to point at the cause or the focal point of whatever is being discussed. Quite often one of people in a discussion jumps in with this expression as soon as he or she hears about whatever seems to be a key factor. It  therefore also serves to stress one’s own opinion.

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Lit. “asscrawler” – as in crawling into other’s ass. In Polish this does not denote any sexual act, instead describing a sycophant who will tell and do whatever it takes to win another person’s sympathy. This is especially often used when talking about work and a colleague who asks “how high?” when told to jump by the boss. In general, this noun is used to condemn people submitting to an authority, be it the state, company or school. An ass-kisser.

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Wiercić dziurę w brzuchu


Lit. “to drill a hole in stomach”. Fortunately it’s only a metaphor for someone’s relentless requests or supplications, the best example being children asking their mother of father to buy a new toy and then throwing a crying/screaming fit if they don’t comply. This phrase especially matches situations in which the pressure is exercised regularly over a long period.

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