Chodzić po ścianach


Lit. “to walk on walls”. This expression is used in various contexts and situations to convey lots of meanings. In the past, it seems to me, it’s been mainly used to describe a person that is in stressed out, cannot control her- or himself. Or people doing their very best to achieve something considered unrealistic. I’ve also seen instances of “chodzić po ścianach” referring to someone being extremely bored.

The meaning I’m mostly used to and it seems, a more popular nowadays, is this referring to people being completely drunk or intoxicated with some other drugs, especially if this state is reached at a house party be a couple persons in unison. The spirits (we’re not talking about a beer or two here) lift their spirits so high, that they gain superhuman powers, even if cannot remember it the day after. By the way, if you want to learn about fifty, often poetic, ways to say “drunk” in Polish, head to this page. It has them all.

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Wypić nawarzone przez siebie piwo


Lit. “to drink the beer one has brewed”. This metaphor is used in several variants, but ultimately means the same: you need to face the consequences of your (often unwise) decisions or deeds. Funnily, it is sometimes directed at kids to teach them a sense of responsibility, even though you only can legally buy a beer in Poland once you turn eighteen. The meaning is somewhat similar to “to eat humble pie” but stresses consequences more – and humiliation less.

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Lit. “a donor”. The word itself is most of the time used in expressions related to medicine: “dawca krwi” or “krwiodawca” means a blood donor and “dawca szpiku kostnego” – a bone marrow donor.

So much for the official Polish. But in drivers’ slang this term is only used for motorcyclists, whose sole reason to live is to overtake everyone else on the road, and set new records of accelerating and braking between tight turns. You can find the origin of it in what happens after an unlucky biker hits a car head-on.

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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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Czeski film


Lit. “a Czech movie”, which is used to point that no one understands a certain situation, why something happens and who benefits from it. The expression was actually coined based on a specific movie: “Nikdo nic neví” or “Nobody Knows Anything”, a comedy from 1947 filmed before communists took over of Czechoslovakia. It became popular in Poland in the sixties alongside more recent movies coming from the southern neighbor which sometimes were too avant-garde to be clearly understandable.

The expression is sometimes used to describe a movie with a poor screenplay, in which the plot is unclear, however, this is rare and not justified.

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