Forest fruit and mushrooms
Welcome to Radio Prague's Czech language series in which we look at Czech idioms concerning wild flora. Today we take a closer look at wild berries and mushrooms.
Mushroom picking is a popular pastime in this country and maybe that's why there are quite a few idioms using the words mushroom - houba or høib - the boletus, a kind of edible mushroom.
Let's hear the first idiom: Nové domy rostou jako houby po de¹ti - new houses are springing up like mushrooms after the rain. New houses - or anything like that; such as restaurants or factories - are shooting up everywhere and very quickly.
It something fits into its surroundings very well, if it sits prettily in the middle of something, such as a house in a garden, we can say that it sits there like a mushroom in moss - jako høíbek v mechu.
To describe someone in sterling health, we can say je zdravý jako høib - he's healthy as a mushroom, he's hale and hearty, he's as fit as a fiddle.
In informal language the word houby! can be also used instead of the word ne - no, as an expression of strong disagreement or it can be used as a synonym for the word nic - nothing. Mùj ivot stojí za houby - my life is worth nothing, my life isn't worth living.
And one last expression using the word mushrooms or houby: If parents or grandparents talk to little children about the time before they were born, they say To jsi jet¹tì byl na houbách - "it was when you were still picking mushrooms", it was when you were just a twinkle in your father's eye. But why unborn babies are thought to be picking mushrooms is a mystery to me.
Now onto the berries: A pretty girl can be likened to a strawberry - dìvèe jako jahoda, or a raspberry - dìvèe jako malina. The same comparison can be used to describe appealing red lips: rty jako jahody, lips like strawberries or rty jako maliny - lips like raspberries. If somebody is really hungry and wolfs down his food, we can say slupnul to jako malinu - he gulped it down like a raspberry.
And that's it for today, but please join us next time for the closing episode of our Czech language series. Until then na shledanou.