Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Giving Flowers to the Water- Persian Idiom of the Day

We've seen how flowers are usually used in a positive light in Persian. You might call a person a flower as you tārof, or if you say something is mesle gol, like a flower, it means it's spick-and-span. For example, someone may visit your house and later say it was mesle gol

There is an idiom involving flowers, though, that's a bit different. 
چه دسته گلی به آب دادی؟ / che daste goli be āb dādi? / literally, what flower bouquet did you give to the water?

When someone asks this question, they mean what did you do that you weren't supposed to do?/How did you mess things up? In the first clip, one of the soldiers always seems to do something wrong and gets in trouble for it. This time, he's done something that he's ashamed to admit. His superior, who often bails him out, comes in and says, "I've been on assignment for just two hours. Bāz che daste goli be āb dādi?", What have you done this time?

In the second clip, the two men pull their brother-in-law off to the side to tell him in private that their cousin, Naghi, has a life-threatening illness. They're making such a production about how to tell him that the brother-in-law finally asks what this man [Naghi] did, che daste goli be āb dāde in āghā? The cousin replies, ay kāsh daste gol be āb dāde bud, if only he had given a flower bouquet to the water... [if only it were something he did...].

The more I watch these shows and movies, the more I realize just how many idioms are used in Persian. Sometimes entire scenes composed almost exclusively of idioms pass and make me think, how could anyone possibly understand this if they don't know these idioms!? Hope you found this one useful.


  1. Such an interesting blog , a really pleasure to read about all those things, to learn about all those expressions. Thank you, Pontia joon : )

    1. Thank you for reading! :) I'm so glad that you like it and find it helpful.


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