Być w proszku


Lit. “to be powdered” – as in “powdered milk” or instant cocoa. This seems to be a metaphor for a state of not being fully prepared as the above don’t become beverages until dissolved in water. You will find many expressions containing the above like: “zupa w proszku”, “mleko w proszku” and even “oranżada w proszku“.

In most cases, you use the above to point that somebody or a group of people are far from being prepared for something: a meeting with a client, an exam, not packed up for a holiday. It might also refer to enterprises.

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Musztarda po obiedzie


Lit. “mustard after dinner” which means that a key/desirable element of your meal is being delivered too late and does not make any sense on its own, as no one eats spoonfuls of mustard. This can be roughly translated as “too little too late” and if somebody direct this comment at you, they no longer have use of what you bring now and are unhappy with your performance.

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Lit. “ass-cover”. This noun is a recent addition to Polish language and means an action or an object that covers your ass in case of an emergency. It is widely used in the offices of Warsaw’s Służewiec (a.k.a. “Mordor”) business district and usually refers to an Email that you send to another party to say what may (and probably will) go wrong if they don’t remediate a risk or to confirm in writing what you have agreed upon in a previous meeting/call. This neologism consists of two words: “dupa” (ass) and “-chron” (protector), the latter being as well used in the word “piorunochron” (lightning rod) while the “piorun” means “lightning”.

The word may also refer to legal disclaimers that we know all to well from various Terms and Conditions, contracts and medication pamphlets.

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Między wódkę a zakąskę


Lit. “between the vodka and the… chaser(?)” preceded by a verb describing movement. The problem here is that the word “zakąska” in this context, or colloquially “zagrycha”, is not really a chaser as it is a bite of food you follow a shot of pure vodka with to kill its taste or/and reduce the risk of your stomach refusing to take it. It is usually a pickled cucumber, mushroom or a marinated herring but never a liquid which has another name in Polish: “przepitka”. You could simply call zakąska “a snack” but then you lose the connection to the alcoholic beverage.

Anyway, the clou of the expression is that you cut in between two inseparable parts or interrupt when one or more people are talking or disrupt another activity which is not really of your business. It is used as a means of rebuking or condemning an action and pointing a finger at the culprit.

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