Miss Anna is over the water

Photo: Bryce Edwards, Creative Commons 2.0

Welcome to another edition of Sound Czech in which you can learn Czech phrases with the help of song lyrics. Today's song is by a group called Wanastowi Vjeci and the name of the song is "Slečna Anna je za vodou" or "Miss Anna is over the water".

Photo: Bryce Edwards,  Creative Commons 2.0

"Být za vodou" has two basic meanings in Czech - it means to be far away and safe - beyond the reach of justice or it means you are set up for life and never need to lift a finger again. In the communist years when someone fled the country people would say "on je za vodou" or "he's over the water" or "on je za kopečkama" meaning "he's over the hills". "Být za vodou" can simply mean to be far away and beyond reach - as Miss Anna is in the song titled "Slečna Anna je za vodou". Have a listen to the phrase again:

Today when you say that someone is over the water - it can mean that he is beyond the reach of justice. For instance it is a phrase that applies well to the country's fugitive billionaires Tomas Krejcir and Viktor Kozeny who fled to the Seychelles and the Bahamas when the police started investigating them for fraud. In their case the phrase has the combined meaning of their being safe and set up for life. Miss Anna on the other hand is simply far away.

Another way of expressing that someone is safe and financially well-off is to say "on je v suchu" meaning "he is on dry land". If you say "to je v suchu" - "it is on dry land" you are implying that some problematic situation is now under control. There are two other ways of expressing that someone is set up for life - both of them slang expressions. One is "on je v balíku" - meaning "he's rolling in money" or you can also say "on je ve vatě" meaning "he is in cotton-wool" or in a safe, protective cocoon. It is not quite clear from the song lyrics what Miss Anna's situation is financially - but it is obvious that the guy she left behind is in a bad way. Have another listen to the phrase "slečna Anna je za vodou".

And that brings us to the end of today's SoundCzech. This is Daniela Lazarova saying thanks for learning Czech with me and nashledanou.