Connecting on the Universal Dance of Words





IDIOMS are figurative expres­sions enriching everyday lan­guage, often rooted in cultural or historical contexts.


They transcend literal mean­ings, aiding in conveying complex ideas succinctly. While enhancing communication, idioms can be perplexing for non-native speak­ers.


They reflect the diversity of languages, sometimes lacking equivalents across cultures. De­spite challenges, idioms remain vital in expressing emotions and ideas vividly, adding depth and colour to conversations.




• အသွ ားအလာ များပြား ရှု ပ် ထွေးစွ ာ။

• မြို့လယ်မှာ လူတွေပျားပန်းခပ်မျှ ရှုပ်ထွေးနေသည်။


• bustle about, swarm around.



• The bees sucking the juice of flowers.

Bees are highly active when gathering nectar from flowers, constantly buzzing from one flow­er to another without rest. Even during moments of rest, they continuously flap their tiny wings. Therefore, the phrase “moving like busy bees gathering nectar from flowers” describes the inces­sant activity and movement rem­iniscent of bees collecting nectar.


Idiomatic expressions in­spired by insect behaviour offer vivid descriptions of human ac­tions and behaviours.


They range from highlighting diligence, as seen in “busy as a bee collecting pollen,” to depicting frenetic activity, such as “buzz­ing around like bees in a flower garden”.


Phrases like “working like bees in a hive” underscore collab­oration, while “flitting from task to task like butterflies in a garden” captures a lack of focus.


“Bustling about like ants in an anthill” conveys energetic activity. These expressions, rooted in na­ture, enrich language and provide insights into human endeavours.



Busy as a bee

Definition: Very active and industrious.

Example: Sarah has been busy as a bee preparing for her exams.


Like a beehive

Definition: Full of activity and noise, similar to the buzzing ener­gy of a beehive.

Example: The market was like a beehive, with people rush­ing around and vendors shouting their prices.


Buzzing like bees

Definition: Refers to a place or situation filled with lively activ­ity and excitement.

Example: The nightclub was buzzing like bees with music, laughter, and dancing.


As busy as a swarm of bees

Definition: Extremely busy and bustling with activity.

Example: During the holiday season, the shopping mall is as busy as a swarm of bees.


A hive of activity

Definition: Refers to a place or situation that is bustling with activity, much like a hive full of bees.

Example: The office was a hive of activity as everyone pre­pared for the upcoming deadline.



/lei hpan wa dan chi/

• ဝါးလုံးတန်းကို ချည်နှောင်နှောင် ရာတွ င် အခိ ုင် အမာစွ ဲကပ် ရန ် တိ ုင် ၊ဝါး၊ သစ်ပင်၊ တန် းစသည့်အမှီအ တွ ယ်လိ ုအပ် ပေရာ ထိ ုသိ ု့အခိ ုင် အမာ မှ ီရာမရှ ိဘဲလေထဲ တွ င် ဖမ် း၍ ဝါးလု ံးတန် းချည်သည်ဟု ဆိ ုလိ ုသည်။ မ ဖြစ် နိ ုင် သောအရာက ိ ုပြုလု ပ် ရာတွ င် လည်း ကောင်း၊ အခိုင်အမာ မဟုတ် သောစကားကို အခြေပြု၍ ကြံစည် လုပ်ကိုင်ရာတွင်လည်း ကောင်း ရှု တ် ချသောအနေဖြင ့်သု ံးနှု န်းသည် ။

• အခိုင်အမာမရှိသော အပြုအမူ

• အခိုင်အမာ မဟုတ်သောစကား

• လေဖမ်းဝါးတန်းချည် စွပ်စွဲမနေဘဲ သက် သေအထောက် အထားနှ င့်ပြပါ ဟု ပြောသောအခါ ဟိုလိုလို ဒီလိုလို နဲ့ ရူးချင်ယောင် ဆောင်နေ၏။

• အသံကြားတာနဲ့ လေဖမ်းဝါးတန်း ချည်တဲ့ကောင် ...


• Lack of clarity about the goals: If we’re unsure of what we’re aiming to achieve, it’s impossible

• to plan for it effectively.


To fasten a bamboo to the air.

It’s impossible to attach a bamboo to the air because there’s no solid object to anchor it to. So, speaking absurdly or replying to a question with an unsound argu­ment is likened to trying to attach a bamboo to the air.



The Myanmar idiom “to fas­ten a bamboo to the air” illustrates the folly of trying to connect in­compatible entities, using bamboo and air as symbols of solidity and intangibility, respectively. This im­possibility serves as a metaphor for irrational behaviour, particu­larly in speech and discourse.

Engaging in absurd speech, akin to fastening bamboo to air, lacks logic and coherence, leading to confusion.


The idiom underscores the importance of rationality in com­munication and warns against futile pursuits. Ultimately, it high­lights the need for clarity and pur­pose in both speech and actions.



“Flying blind”: This idiom re­fers to proceeding without clear direction or guidance. Without a clear understanding of where one is headed, it’s challenging to make informed decisions or take appropriate actions.


Example sentence: “With­out a proper roadmap, the team felt like they were flying blind as they attempted to navigate the project.”ၐ


“Lost in the woods”: When someone is lost in the woods, they lack clarity or direction in a particular situation. It implies confusion or uncertainty about what steps to take next.


Example sentence: “After the sudden change in management, the employees felt like they were lost in the woods, unsure of how to proceed with their tasks.”


 “Shooting in the dark; this” idiom suggests taking random or untargeted actions without a clear objective or plan. It reflects a lack of precision or strategy in achieving a goal.


Example sentence: “Without market research, launching the new product felt like shooting in the dark, unsure if it would meet customer needs.”


“Wandering aimlessly”: When someone is wandering aimlessly, they are moving without purpose or direction. It highlights a lack of clarity about what one is trying to achieve.


Example sentence: “After graduating, she spent a year trav­elling, feeling like she was wander­ing aimlessly before deciding on her career path.”



/ Yay dain nit/

• To drown in shallow water

If someone drowns in deep water, it may be considered a typ­ical incident. However, if someone drowns in shallow water, it’s seen as an unexpected and unusual event, leading to pity or blame for the victim. Therefore, experienc­ing unnecessary or undeserved hardship is metaphorically de­scribed as “drowning in shallow water.”


Deep water is commonly as­sociated with swimming or activ­ities where drowning is a known risk, whereas shallow water is of­ten perceived as safer. So, when someone drowns in shallow water, it can challenge our assumptions and evoke different reactions. It’s a reminder that danger can lurk where we least expect it.



That Myanmar idiom trans­lates to “danger can be hidden in unexpected places.”


A wolf in sheep’s clothing

Definition: Someone or some­thing that appears harmless but is actually dangerous.


Example: The friendly stranger turned out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing when he tried to scam us.

Don’t judge a book by its cover.


Definition: Don’t form an opinion about someone or some­thing based solely on appearance.


Example: I thought the old house would be run down, but in­side, it was beautiful. It just shows, don’t judge a book by its cover.


The devil is in the details.

Definition: Problems or diffi­culties are often found in the small details of a plan or situation.

Example: We thought the project was smoothly going until we started examining the details. The devil is definitely in the details with this one.


All that glitters is not gold.

Definition: Not everything that looks valuable or desirable is actually so.

Example: The flashy car seemed like a good deal, but after a month, it started breaking down. All that glitters is not gold, indeed.


Walking on thin ice

Definition: Being in a risky or precarious situation.

Example: Sarah felt like she was walking on thin ice when she forgot her anniversary.


Tip of the iceberg

Definition: A small, visible part of a much larger problem or issue.

Example: The accounting dis­crepancies we found are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s likely more to uncover.


Hidden dangers

Definition: Risks or threats that are not immediately obvious.

Example: When hiking in the forest, be aware of hidden dangers like uneven terrain and poisonous plants.


Pandora’s box

Definition: A source of many unforeseen problems or troubles.

Example: Opening up that old investigation could be like opening Pandora’s box. We might discover things we’re not prepared for.


Snake in the grass

Definition: Someone who seems harmless but is actually treacherous or deceitful.

Example: Watch out for Bill. He’s a snake in the grass, always looking for an opportunity to be­tray someone.


Ticking time bomb

Definition: A situation or is­sue that is likely to become dan­gerous or harmful in the future.

Example: The company’s out­dated infrastructure is a ticking time bomb. Sooner or later, it’s going to cause a major problem.



• မြန် မာ စာလုံး ပေါ င်း သတ် ပုံ ကျ မ်း (မြန်မာစာအဖွဲ့၊ ၂၀၀၃ ခု နှစ်)

• Myanmar Idioms, written by Saya Hla Thamein