Let your knowledge blossom
Welcome to Radio Prague's Czech teaching programme exploring idioms about farm crops and domestic plants. Today's is the last episode, and as of next week we'll be looking at wild flora. In today's lesson we focus on garden flowers and pot plants.
A flower is Czech is květina. It is related to the word kvést - to blossom. In metaphorical use it also means to thrive, to prosper.
If you say about someone, especially a girl, that she is skleníková květinka - a hothouse plant - it means she is delicate and touchy. On the other hand, děvče jako karafiát, a girl like a carnation, is a healthy, rosy-cheeked young thing. Být jako růžička, to be like a rose, means to be pretty, healthy, and flushed. If somebody blushes too much in an embarrassing situation, we can say zrudl jako pivoňka - he turned red like a peony, or, to use an English idiom, he became red as a beetroot. We can also say a person's face is as red as a poppy - rudý jako mák.
Beautiful, long and blond hair can be compared to flax, vlasy jako len, flaxen hair.
The white lily is a symbol of innocence in many cultures around the world. The Czechs, too, say nevinný jako lilie, as innocent as a lily. The lily is also a delicate flower which wanes quickly. Zvadnout jako lilie - is to wilt like a lily.
Back to the generic word květina. There is a saying in Czech ženu ani květinou neuhodí - you must not hit a woman, even with a flower.
And finally, Czech has a similar idiom to the gloomy English expression "to push up daisies". The Czech saying goes čuchat kytky zespoda - to smell at flowers from underneath, meaning to be dead and buried.
And on that murky note we'd better end today's lesson. We'll be back next week with a brand new short series on idioms about wild plants. Until then na shledanou.