5 Hindi Idioms for Your Language Learning Journey

During your language learning journey you’ve undoubtedly tapped into the films and music of India’s booming Bollywood scene as tools to help you learn – and who wouldn’t? As the largest producer of films in the world, Bollywood is indeed a formidable figure when it comes to promoting predominantly Hindi films. As fun as it may be, understanding colloquial Hindi, even in the movies, can be a huge task for a non-native speaker.  If you don’t have a grasp on frequently used idioms then you may be left confused and unsure of why everyone else in the movie theatre is cracking up while you just don’t get it. So whether you’re trying to get a grip on proper etiquette in India, or just want to add a few clever phrases to your Hindi repertoire, check out these five idioms which will help you do just that:

1. Vahi sabsay tej chalataa hai, jo akela chalataa hai. = One who walks alone walks fastest.

This popular Hindi idiom is referring to, you guessed it, success. The basic meaning is that when you want to achieve success, those who don’t wait for people to propel them forward (i.e. walk with them) but instead take their future into their own hands (i.e. walk alone) will find success the fastest.

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2. Suchchaa prem durlubh hai, suchchi mitrataa aur bhi durlubh. = Finding true love is difficult, but even more difficult to find is true friendship.

This saying is pretty self-explanatory:  when it comes to love and friendship, one has to be very careful. A good friend will stand with you through break-ups and failed love affairs, but finding that true friend may not be as easy as finding that love interest!

3. Samay kisi ki pratikshaa nahi karataa. = Time waits for no one.

You’re probably familiar with this phrase which is pretty common in the English vernacular, so you’ll be delighted to know it also forms a part of popular Hindi idioms! Basically, no one can stop the march of time regardless of how powerful or wealthy they are.

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4. Ek jhooth chhipaanay kay liye dus jhooth bolnay padatay hain. = You must tell ten lies to cover the first lie.

We all do it every now and then and we all know it’s wrong, but according to this Hindi saying it’s also a complicated process to tell a lie. You lie about one thing, and then have to lie about something else to cover up the first lie, and on and on. Keeping all those details straight would be exhausting!

5. Nav varsh mein aap falay, foolay. = May you grow healthy and strong this New Year.

Although the New Year has just passed, this is a great Hindi saying to have in your idioms collection for the next time around. Use it to impress colleagues, friends, and acquaintances when wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

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With these five fun Hindi idioms you may feel ready to tackle a Bollywood movie marathon or raring to dazzle your friends with your newfound knowledge, but remember that having a well-rounded language learning process is key to helping you achieve your Hindi learning goals. Luckily, scholastic resources such as free online placement tests and excellent language classes can be just as much fun as checking out the latest Shah Rukh Khan film, and extremely beneficial to you as a learner. With so many amazing tools at hand you’ll be more than ready to say ‘Namaste!’ to the wonderful and complicated language that is Hindi.

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