Dělat z komára velblouda

Czech Idioms, Part 1: Do you want to understand Czech better?

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 01.06.2011 09:25:09 (updated on 01.06.2011) Reading time: 2 minutes

Have you ever heard anyone say that somebody “Dělat z komára velblouda” (is making a camel out of a mosquito) and wondered what he was doing? Might there have been some magic or an experiment? You may have wondered about the rapid progress being made in the field of genetic engineering

You have experienced something commonly used in every language which at first glance makes no sense at all. They are called idioms (phrases which mean something different from what the individual words mean), and twice a month we will try to introduce you one.

Let´s focus now on the first one which is mentioned above. The person really isn´t trying to be Harry Potter, and they´re not taking a cue from an obscure sci-fi novel. He is simply conveying that a small problem is really a crisis. They are stressing over nothing. In English, you might say they are “making a mountain out of a molehill.”

(with literal English translation)

Q: Klára říkala, že se šéf opravdu zlobí. Je to pravda?
A: Šéf se nezlobí. Jen byl překvapený. Klára vždycky dělá z komára velblouda.

(Q: Klara said that the boss is very angry. Is that true?
A: The boss is not angry, he was just surprised. Klara is always making a camel out of a mosquito.)

Tomáš dělá z komára velblouda. Zbytečně se stresuje. Napsal jeden špatný test. To neznamená, že nakonec nebude úspěšný.

(Tomas is making a camel out of a mosquito. He is stressing out unnecessarily. He had one bad test, that doesn´t mean that he won´t be successful in the end.)

Note: In Czech we first use the “molehill”, then the “mountain”.

Grammar note: “Dělat” is always connected with an “accusative”, and if you make it out of something else it is “Z + genitive”


Other Czech idioms:

Part 1. – Dělat z komára velblouda (making a camel out of a mosquito)
Part 2. – Zlom vaz (break your neck)
Part 3. – Zabít dvě mouchy jednou ranou (kill two flies with one hit)

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