8 weird Armenian phrases that sound bizarre to foreigners

Weird Armenian phrase example

I am going to talk about weird Armenian phrases today. Some of them are funny and weird when you translate them literally. They have become part of our life and we don’t even notice using them. For an ear of a foreigner, however, they are definitely downright ridiculous. But try to learn one or two, and you will definitely be accepted as “one of us” among Armenians. If you like this list check out my post about funny Armenian insults. 😉

In this post I’ll tell you more about these weird Armenian phrases:

  1. Jigyard outem (English: I will eat your liver)
  2. Boyid mernem (English: Let me die on your height)
  3. Porty teghy dnel (English: To put someone’s belly button into its place)
  4. Khelqid dziun ga (English: Let it snow on your brain!)
  5. Glukhs mi arduki (English: Stop ironing my head!)
  6. Im sev sirt, qo vardaguin trusik (English: My black heart and your pink panties)
  7. Tsak profesor (English: a professor with a hole)
  8. Qti maz (English: nose hair)

Throughout centuries, Armenians have developed some idioms and phrases that are hard to grasp for someone who is not a native speaker. Some of these phrases become a subject of jokes from time to time, and they even inspire the creation of art sometimes. For example, consider an illustrator named Mariam Azatyan, who creates funny illustrations inspired by weird Armenian sayings. I’m going to embed some of her artwork into this blogpost. I really like her work, so check her out on Instagram for more fun examples.

So, let’s go through some weird Armenian phrases together and see what they actually mean. And if you have some favorite weird Armenian sayings of your own, share them with me on Instagram or Twitter, with #ArmeniaTravelTips. I am always curious to learn more!

Weird Armenian phrases expressing love

Some Armenian phrases like “srtid mernem” (I want to die on your heart), “tsavt tanem” (let me take your pain away), or just the word “jan” (used similarly to “dear” or “sweetheart” in English) are commonly used in the Armenian language. Although these phrases express love, they are often thrown into the sentence without adding any extra meaning. But let’s look at some of the more bizarre ones here.

Jigyard outem – Ջիգյարդ ուտեմ

The Armenian phrase “jigyard outem” means “I will eat your liver” if you translate it literally. If an Armenian says that to you, it means they love you so much that they are ready to eat you alive. Horrifying? It shouldn’t be! Of course, it’s not meant literally. Although we’re known for some weird Armenian foods we love that gross out foreigners. 🙂

In reality, there is so much love behind these words. My grandpa used to tell me “jigyard outem.” It is just a way of expressing love in a weird Armenian way. This phrase is mostly used in isolation, as a proclamation of love, rarely in a context of a longer sentence.

Another way of expressing endearment in a similar manner is by saying “arevid mernem” (let me die on your sun). It’s really odd, I know! You can hear Armenians start a sentence with it, or use it immediately before or after the name of the person they’re talking to. Often it’s also just thrown in the middle of the sentence, pretty randomly.

While “jigyard outem” is reserved for conversations between people who’re very close with each other, “arevid mernem” can be used in reference to a total stranger as well. Armenians use it in conversations without taking into account the age or the gender of the person they’re talking to. It’s just a universal phrase we throw into the conversation when we want to show we’re positively minded towards our counterpart.

Boyid mernem – Բոյիդ մեռնեմ

This is yet another weird Armenian phrase of endearment. The translation of “boyid mernem” is “Let me die on your height”. As strange as it sounds, it actually suggests that you wish the other person to grow (become taller) well. Normally it’s proclaimed in isolation and not as part of a sentence.

This expression is often used by grandparents to show how proud they are of their grandchildren. Parents also tell that to their children quite often, although it feels a bit archaic when you say it. So, it’s more common among the older generation.

Weird Armenian phrases expressing anger

Armenians are passionate not only in their expressions of love but also in their anger. Here are some weird phrases that are used when we are upset. They sound pretty harsh, but to tell you the truth, the meaning is not as harsh as it may seem. Again, these words are said without realizing their literal meaning. So, take it lightly!

Porty teghy dnel – Պորտը տեղը դնել

This is one of my favorite weird Armenian phrases! When translated literally it means “To put someone’s belly button into its place”. We use it when we do something to take revenge, or when we want to teach someone a harsh lesson because they made us angry.

I think the story behind this phrase is that when someone misbehaves or doesn’t treat you well, we assume they operate out of order. They sort of lose track of the boundaries, they’re being disorganized and chaotic so that even their own belly button “migrates” somewhere else. So, in response to show them their place, Armenians would “put their belly button into its place”

Khelqid dziun ga – Խելքիդ ձյուն գա

This one means “Let it snow on your brain”. We say that to a person who does or says something stupid or unreasonable. If you want to show your disapproval or say that you don’t believe in what they are saying, you may say “khelqid dziun ga”. In a way, this means that you’re suggesting that the person should freshen up, refresh their thinking, and they should put their feet on the ground.

Glukhs mi arduki – Գլուխս մի արդուկի

This literally means “Stop ironing my head”. You may say that to a person who is BS-ing or talking too much. If you are annoyed and you don’t want to listen to them, that’s when you say it! The English equivalent is “stop beating around the bush” or “cut to the chase”. I have no idea how this phrase came to be, but it’s pretty harsh, and you wouldn’t really use it in Armenia unless you’re really angry at someone.

Funny Armenian phrases

Some of our weird phrases are funny even for the Armenian ear, but they’re still quite widely used. Here are some of them.

Im sev sirt, qo vardaguin trusik – Իմ սև սիրտ, քո վարդագույն տրուսիկ

The word by word translation of this phrase is “My black heart and your pink panties”. Armenians use this weird saying to indicate that someone’s behavior is inappropriate. When do we say that? Well, suppose I am not in the mood and you come to me and act funny. Or maybe I share my struggles with you, and instead, you switch the topic and start telling me how awesome your weekend was. That’s when an Armenian would use that phrase! This is a funny way to say “get the hell out of here”.

My favorite comedian Mary Basmadjian uses the color “red” instead of “pink” in this same exact phrase in this funny episode of the ARM 101 series. The color changes, but the meaning is the same. And it’s equally hilarious. Check it out, it’s on the 3:35 min of the video below.

Tsak profesor – Ծակ պրոֆեսոր

This weird phrase is actually funny, too. It means “a professor with a hole”. Armenians would call someone a “tsak profesor” when they want to call someone’s BS out. When you see someone acting really pretentious, in a know-it-all kind of way, you call them a “professor with a hole”. I guess it indicated the shallow and empty substance of the subject, who is trying too hard to seem smart.

Qti maz – Քթի մազ

This one is pretty gross – it means “nose hair”. I remember my sister called me this way so many times when I was a kid. But I never realized how weird it is when you translate it word by word.

Armenians use this work to say that a person is too picky or pedantic. For example, if a person is too concerned with minor details, you may call them “qti maz”. Just don’t say it as a compliment to someone who has good attention to detail. It won’t work!

Final thoughts on weird Armenian sayings

Of course, this list doesn’t cover the whole range of weird Armenian phrases. We really have a lot of them in our language! They can seem strange to a foreigner, and in fact, they’re also strange to us if we consider their literal meaning. But as with everything else, when it comes to languages, the beauty of it fully unfolds once you start exploring it in the cultural context.

Here are a couple of extra resources for you that you may find useful if our language interests you. Check out my overview post about the Armenian language, and this list of Armenian language learning apps. And if you want to giggle a little bit, check out my post with weird Armenian names. 🙂 And yes, don’t forget “achqi ulunk”! That’s a talisman to protect from evil eye. If curious, read my blog post on the meaning of evil eye among Armenians.

I am sure you found some of these expressions weird and funny. So, let me know which one you liked the most. If you want to know the meaning of other expressions, just ping me on Instagram or Twitter, with #ArmeniaTravelTips. I’m here for you!

Featured image credits: Mariam Azatyan (@maryush) on Instagram

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