isiZulu Idioms Translated

Last month one of our subscribers left a comment asking for English translations of a list of Zulu idioms that Nelisiwe had written about back in 2013. Below are both the isiZulu & English meanings of various Zulu idioms that are associated with nature or trees. Thank you to Mbusiswa for the translations!

  • Ukuthunga intebe: Ukwenza into engasoze yaphumelela; To do something that will never succeed
  • Ukuzalelwa esithebeni: Ukuzalwa ngabazali abami kahle, ungasweli lutho; To be born into a rich family and hardly ever want for anything
  • Ukuphind’ iminyane isibhuliwe: Angikwazi ukukhuluma udaba oselukhulunyiwe; To refuse to repeat what has been discussed already
  • Ukudl’ imbuya ngothi: Ukuswela ukudla, umuntu ophila kalusizi; To be poverty stricken
  • Ukuhlub’ dlubu ekhasini: Ukuchaza ingcaca ubeke izinto obala; To explain something that is very clear and obvious
  • Uthinte ubhece esafinya: Ukuba hlwempu, uyisilambi; To be really poor
  • Ukwanda ngomlomo njengebhenge: Ukukhuluma kakhulu kanti ukwenza kuyakwehlula; To have a lot to say, but take little action
  • Ukushaya ngemfe iphindiwe: Ukuhlohla noma ukuyenga umuntu, noma ukumenza ezibukwayo; To deal with a person severely
  • Ukuthukusela [umuntu] ugaba othuthwini: Ukufihlela umuntu iqiniso bese umvezela engasalindele; To hide the truth from someone and only reveal it when they have forgotten about it or least expect it
  • Ukufihl’ induku emqubeni: Ukufihla isu noma into ozomangaza ngayo unqobe; To surprise
  • Ukuthela muva njengembumba: Ukunganakwa noma ubeka iseluleko okumele silandelwe baze bazisole kamuva ukuthi ukuba bebekulalele ngabe ububi abuvelanga; Doing something without a positive outcome
  • Ukukhamel’ ikhambi ekhanda: Ukuphatha ngesihluku nonya, ukufundisa umuntu isifundo angena kusilibala; To teach someone a lesson they will never forget
  • Ukutheza olunenkume: Ukuzilandela inkathazo; To attract bad things to yourself
  • Ukumuka ngendle njengamabele: Ukunyamalala, ukuhamba ungavalelisi; To disappear without a trace and not even say goodbye
  • Ukuthezela entanjeni: Ukuzilinganisela noma ukwenza into engangamandla akho; To do what your strength can carry
  • Ukushisela imbudle: Ukufaka umuntu enkathazweni; To make another person to worry
  • Ukugaya izibozi: Ukuthukuthela kakhulu; To be very angry
  • Ukuba nhlangazimuka nomoya: Ukungabikho kosizo, isimo esibucayi siyabhebhetheka; Things going from bad to worse
  • Ukushiy’ induk’ ebandla: Ukuzala umntwana oyosala wena sewafa noma ukubeka iqhaza kokwenziwayo; Leaving a good mark behind for people to follow your good example
  • Ukuncind’ uthi lomkhangala: Ukulandelwa amashwa; Being followed by bad luck everywhere you go
  • Ukuthint’ ukhuni lombangandlala: Ukwenza into engenampumelelo, ukubuya ulambatha, ukuzifaka enkingeni; When you give advice to people and they don’t listen or pay attention to you until something bad happens, then they regret not listening

Image courtesy of www.thewritepractice.com.

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