To kill two "flies" with one "blow"

Photo: Alvesgaspar, CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported

Today's idiom comes from "Želva" or "Tortoise", a very popular song by the 1960s Czech answer to the Beatles - the band Olympic. The phrase we'll learn today is the Czech equivalent for "to kill two birds with one stone" or "zabít dvě mouchy jednou ranou"...

Photo: Alvesgaspar,  CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported
The Czech phrase "zabít dvě mouchy jednou ranou" literally translates as "to kill two flies with one blow". Although most Czechs know the song and would even be able to recite its lyrics, only few would be able to come up with a creative explanation of what it is about. But the phrase makes sense, so here it is for you again:

You've probably noticed that I say "zabít" while the singer says "zabil" which is the past tense first person singular of "to kill". In fact, the first person singular is actually "zabil jsem" with the auxiliary verb "jsem" meaning "I am". So, if you're a man and want to say I killed two birds with one stone, it would be "zabil jsem dvě mouchy jednou ranou". But, to make it a little more complicated, if you're a woman, then you would have to say "zabila jsem dvě mouchy jednou ranou". And finally, to complicate it a little more, you should know that "zabil" is also the second and third person singular - as in "you killed" which would be "zabil jsi/ zabila jsi" or "he/ she killed", which is "zabil/ zabila".

And that's the end of this edition of SoundCzech. Join us again next week when we'll be back with another new phrase. Until then, review today's phrase on our website -, where this edition and all other editions of SoundCzech are available in text and "zabijte dvě mouchy jednou ranou", kill two "flies" with one "blow" by hearing a popular Czech song as well as learning a new phrase.