Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Persian Love of Liver



** Updated 27/05/2015: I'm proud and honored to say that this post was mentioned in an article in Marie Claire Italy: Il fegato ha preso il posto del cuore, The Liver Has Replaced the Heart. Be sure to check it out!

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the prevalence of the word ashsoup, in Persian. It not only makes up many vocabulary words, but it's also the basis of several proverbs. Jigar, liver, though not quite as common as ash, also seems to have a special place in the heart of the Persian language. 

I came across a short Iranian movie on YouTube today where the father was talking to his daughter and called her jigar tala, gold liverWhat would you think if your parent or significant other suddenly called you gold liver or said that they wanted to eat your liver? Hannibal Lecter probably comes to mind, right? I like to have fun with literal translations, but of course any Iranian would recognize these as terms of endearment. Liver is, after all, a delicacy. Foie gras, anyone?




Jigar kabobs are a popular street food. Making your way up the winding, mountainous streets of Darband in Tehran, one of the most common cuts of meat that you'll see being skewered in the plethora of eateries is jigar.

Iranians' love for jigar is also evident in the way they use it to express affection. I'm sure it sounds a little odd to call someone jigar or jigaram, my liver, but remember, we Iranians come from the land of literature and poetry; the land of Sa'adi and Hafez, Rumi and Attar, Ferdowsi and Baba Taher

Persian has a few expressions with this beloved vital organ. Once someone refers to you as their liver, you know you've got a bond!

1.جگر طلا 
Jigar tala, gold liver, is an expression of endearment used to show just how wonderful, amazing, and kind-hearted you think the person is.

2. خیلی جگری
Kheyli jigari!, You are really a liver!, means you're such a dear!/You're so lovely!

3. جگرتو بخورم 
Jigareto bokhoram, I'll eat your liver, means you love the person so much that you could just eat them up!

4. جگرتو برم 
Jigareto beram or jigaret besham, I'll be your liver, is when you absolutely love a person to pieces and would die for them! Parents use this expression a lot with their children or grandchildren. In fact, I can just hear my mom saying it now to my nephew! (These phrases are often accompanied by elahi as in elahi jigaret besham man! My God! May I be your liver!)

5.  دندان رو جگر بگذار
Dandoon roo jigar bezaar, put your teeth on the liver, is an idiom involving liver, but not in the sense of endearment. This one is basically the equivalent of bite the bullet.

So remember, as long as an Iranian calls you their liver, it's a good thing!

Thank you so much for reading my blog! Jigare shoma besham!

5 comments:

  1. What if he just called me "jigar" or "pishi, joon or jojo" what does it mean? I am not iranian that's why I'm seeking for the meaning behind the terms he called me. Thank u!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Cha-Cha, just calling you "jigar" is also showing his affection. Men often call a woman this to express what a precious person they have. I wrote about "pishi" as one of the words of the day :) It actually means "cat", but if you call a woman this or "joojoo" it's kind of an affectionate way of calling them "cute". I call my nephew "joojoo" all the time. (They actually use these two words at the beginning of the movie "Shish o Besh".) "Joon" is the most common, universally used word meaning "dear". It's used after the person's name and is nicer than just calling someone by their name alone. Hope that helps! :)

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  2. What does jigaretoe mean. My bf said this to me

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jigareto is just a shorter version of #3 or 4 above. You just love a person to death, so definitely a good thing if your bf says it to you ;)

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