To stretch one's slippers


Welcome to another edition of SoundCzech - Radio Prague's Czech language series in which you can learn Czech idioms through song lyrics. Today we'll be listening to a song "Až natáhnu bačkory" by a popular Moravian band Mňága a Žďorp, which also happens to be the phrase we will hear today:

The Czech phrase "natáhnout bačkory" literally means to "stretch one's slippers" or "to put on one's slippers". However, it is mostly used as a colourful expression for dying, and the closest English equivalent of the phrase would be "to pop one's clogs". Czechs have a long-lasting tradition of wearing slippers at home (you are given a pair even if you come on a visit), so that may explain why slippers got into the phrase.

The lyrics of the song "Až natáhnu bačkory" play with the literal and metaphorical meaning of the phrase. The first line of the song means "when I put on my slippers, I'll switch on the TV" and the singer goes on describing the joy of watching TV and not being bothered by anyone. Listen to the phrase once again:

As in every language there are plenty of idioms that can replace the neutral verb zemřít - to die. Instead of saying "natáhnout bačkory", you could also use the phrase "zaklepat bačkorama" (to knock one's slippers), "jít do kytek" (which is closest to the English phrase "pushing up the daisies") or "natáhnout brka" (literally "to stretch one's quills"). But that's enough of today's rather dark topic. Finally, listen to a few more bars of the song "Až natáhnu bačkory":