Czech Idioms - Mushrooms

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 12.03.2012 15:34:42 (updated on 12.03.2012) Reading time: 2 minutes

If you read these idiom articles regularly you know that the last two idioms come from two Czech TV advertisements. Today we will focus on another TV-advert idiom, which is used in the same commercial for a mobile operator where CO TĚ ŽERE is used as well.

In the above-mentioned advert there is a mother-mushroom, father-mushroom and son-mushroom talking to each other in a forest. At the end, it says “Kdo si nevolá, je houby rodina” (Who is not calling each other is a mushroom family).

At first, it might seem that the authors are just referring to the mushroom family in the spot. However, the truth is that the whole advertisement is based on the meaning of the idiom HOUBY. It can either be normally understood as the plural form of the noun HOUBA (mushroom) or in the idiom it is taken as an adjective or, let´s say, slang for an expression of an amount that means nothing/no. Therefore, if you are not calling, you are not really a family.

Note that this expression is a slang one so we do not recommend that you use it in formal situations.

CZ: To je houby šéf, vůbec se neumí rychle rozhodovat.
ENG: He is a mushroom boss, he can´t (decide) make decisions quickly.

CZ: A – Takže ty jsi tam šel a řekl jim, že do Brna nepojedeš?
B – Ale houby, já jim jen řekl, že ještě nevím.

ENG: A – So you went there and told them that you wouldn´t go to Brno?
B – But mushrooms (Rubbish, I didn´t); I just told them that I didn´t know yet.

If you’re considering a course to learn the Czech Language, you can find a great selection right here.

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