To have an extra cog


Welcome to another edition of SoundCzech - Radio Prague's Czech language series in which you can learn idioms through song lyrics. Today, we'll be listening to a song called “Je to blázen” from a Czech musical called Hamlet. The phrase to listen out for is “mít o kolečko navíc”:

The phrase “mít o kolečko navíc” literally means “to have an extra cog”. The meaning of the phrase is actually suggested by the title of the song - “je to blázen” - which means “he’s a madman”. The closest English equivalent to the Czech phrase “mít o kolečko víc” is “to have a screw loose.” Now, let’s listen once again:

There are many colourful ways to express that someone is a blázen, cvok or pošuk– in other words, a madman. One of them is “šplouchá mu na maják”, which literally means “it’s splashing on his lighthouse”. A rather less common one is “kape mu na karbid”– “it’s dripping on his carbide”. Not surprisingly, this idiom has its origin in the north Bohemian mining region, where miners used carbide to light their lamps in the past.

That’s all we have time for now. I hope so many new phrases haven’t made you feel as if you have an extra cog in your head. Thank you for listening and nashledanou!