Vocabulary: Idioms


If you think of English or any other language, then people quite do not speak so literally. For example, by saying the above, I am not pulling your leg

When an expression conveys a figurative (sometimes literal) meaning, then they are called idioms. Their figurative meanings are different from literal ones. Such kind of expressions are vital to learn in any language if you are to speak it fluently. Here are some example sentences in English that make use of idioms (in italics):

She hung up on me.
We should cut out our carbon emissions. 
The murderer killed him in cold blood.

Of course, she did not literally hang you up on a rope. They did not literally grab a pair of scissors and started chopping carbon dioxide molecules (if that were only possible!). The murderer did not drown the victim in a bathtub full of icy blood. Instead, they carry figurative meanings. 

The above two are of a particular kind and are called Phrasal verbs. Together with the last one, they are called idiomatic expressions.

Idioms are called टुक्का (tukka) in Nepali. 


The below is a non-exhaustive list. They are listed in the following format:

Nepali Text (Transliteration)
Literal Meaning
Figurative Meaning or English Equivalent (if any)
Example Sentence (transliteration)
= Translation of the sentence.


आलु खानु (aalu khanu)
To eat potato
To fail/ To be unsuccessful
रामले परिक्षामा आलु खायो (ram`le pariksha`ma aalu khayo)
= Ram failed in his test.

टाप कस्नु (taap kasnu)
To tighten hoof
To run away/ flee
राम कक्षादेखि टाप कस्यो (ram kaksha dekhi taap kasyo)
= Ram ran away from class.

हात छाड्नु (haat chadnu)
To release hand
To beat (someone)
रामले भाइको माथि हात छाड्यो (ram`le bhai`ko mathi haat chadyo)
= Ram beat up small brother.

आँखा फुट्नु (akha phutnu)
To shatter eyes
A scolding used for people who can’t see something in plain sight or in an obvious place
तेरो आँखा फुटेको छ हो? त्यो हिमाल पनि नदेखेको? (tero akha puteko ho? tyo himal pani nadekheko?)
= Are you blind? Not even seeing that mountain?

सिलटिमुर खानु (siltimur khanu)
To eat Siltimur (a type of wild Sichuan pepper)
To die/ To kick the bucket
बुढो बाजे अस्ति सिलटिमुर खानुभयो (budho baje asti siltimur khanubhayo)
= Old grandfather died day before yesterday.

आँखा लाग्नु (akha laagnu)
To keep eyes
1) To be a recipient of bad omen of people who dislike your successes/beauty etc.
2) To feel greedy

दुश्मनको आँखा लागेर मेरो परिक्षा बिग्र्‍यो (dushman`ko akha laagera mero pariksha bigryo)
= Because of the evil omen of my enemies, my test went horribly. 

औंला भाँच्नु (aula bhaachnu)
To break fingers
To count/ calculate
मेरो उमेर थाहा पाउनुको लागि उसले औंला भाँच्यो (mero umer thaha paunu`ko lagi usle aula bhaachyo)
= To find out my age he calculated.

नाक काट्नु (naak kaatnu)
To cut nose
To be ashamed/dishonoured
तैले सुन चोरेर मेरो नाक काटिस् (taile sun chorera mero naak katis)
= Since you stole gold, you have dishonoured me.

कुरा काट्नु (kura kaatnu)
To cut talk
To backbite/slander
जन र मेरी मिलेर मेरो कुरा काटे (jan ra meri milera mero kura kate)
= John and Mary together backbit me.

ठीक पार्नु (thik parnu)
To make right
To take revenge/ retaliate/ redress
त्यो घमण्डीलाई गाली गरेर ठीक पार्यौ (taile tyo ghamandi`lai gali garera thik paaryau)
= You have redressed that vain person after scolding him/her.

नाक थाप्नु (naak thaapnu)
To support/receive nose
To support a person/thing in question (think this as the prevention of ‘naak katnu’)
घमण्डीको कति नाक थापेको! (ghamandi`ko kati naak thapeko!)
= Why are you supporting that vain person!

हावा बोल्नु (hawa bolnu)/ हावा कुरा गर्नु (hawa kura garnu)
To speak wind
To say nonsense/ unrealistic things
राम अमेरिका गएको छ भनेर हावा बोल्यो (ram amerika gaeko cha bhanera hawa bolyo)
= Ram uttered nonsense when he said he had been to America.

सिकसिक लाग्नु (siksik laagnu)
To feel siksik (onomatopoeia)
To be disgusted/ feel repulsed
फोहोर देखेर कस्तो सिकसिक लाग्यो (phohor dekhera kasto siksik laagyo)
= I felt disgusted after seeing filth.

भाउ खोज्नु (bhau khojnu)
To search for price
To aggress/ quarrel
मसँग धेरै भाउ नखोज (ma`sanga dherai bhau nakhoja)
= Don’t pick a fight with me.

कान थाप्नु (kaan thaapnu)
To support ear
To listen
विद्यार्थीहरु कक्षामा कान थापे (bidyarthi`haru kaksha`ma kaan thaape)
= The students listened in the class.

Vocabulary: Terms Related With Death

For some reason the earlier lesson with the same name got deleted and I still don’t know how. So, this is just the same thing, intended to fill that ‘Dead’ link that had stayed for some pretty long time.


To Die = मर्नु (marnu)

To Die (euphemistic) = खस्नु (khasnu)/ बित्नु (bitnu)

For the end to come = काल आउनु (kaal aunu)

Death/Demise = मृत्यु (mrityu)

Corpse = लास (laas)

Death God = यमराज (yamaraaj)

Funeral = मलाम (malaam)

Mourner = मलामी (malaami)

Final Rites = अन्त्येष्टि (antyeshti)

Cremation Pyre = आर्यघाट (aaryaghat)

Graveyard = चिहान (chihan)

Soul = आत्मा (aatma)

Heaven = स्वर्ग (swarga)

Hell = नर्क (narka)

To kill = मार्नु (maarnu)


Here are some more specific words in Nepali:

दागबत्ती (dagbatti) = A rite where the son or the closest kin keeps a burning entity over the mouth of the mortal remain

वैतरणी (baitarani) = A mythological river filled with foul and disgusting things like Blood, Flesh, Pus etc. It is believed that this is the river one must cross after he/she dies. 

निर्वाण (nirvana) = Emancipation from the cycle of Rebirth

Vocabulary: Interjectory Words

Interjectory Words are called ‘नीपात’ (nipaat) in Nepali. Some books use ‘निपात’ (nipaat) as an alternative spelling. Interjectory words are very important in Nepali Everyday speech! Some people also call them ‘Emphasis’ words or Particles (since I already call something else particles, I will call them interjectory words instead). These interjectory words provide Emphasis on sentences. It also makes sentences sound more ‘Native-ey’ or sound casual in tone. 

Interjectory words themselves have little or no meaning to themselves but they influence the sentences very much! It is like, they have no true meaning to themselves but rather give the sentence a ‘tone’. So, rather than adding some other meaning to a sentence…it gives more ‘richness’ to the sentence.

So, Interjectory words are those words which do not really have a standalone meaning to themselves but when used in a sentence, it increases the emphasis on certain words, adds flavour to the sentence and/or changes the tone of the sentence.

An important note is that nipats can occur anywhere in the sentence.


त (ta)

Fundamentally the most, if not most, one of the most used Interjectory in Speech. Also, it has NO EXACT TRANSLATION. Since English has no such words, then I guess you can say these Interjectory are usually ‘untranslatable’. Well, sort of. If you know Hindi, then ‘त’ (ta) translates into ‘तो’ (toh).

Ta is used to place an extra emphasis on the thing you are talking about. This can be a bit confusing as to WHERE the emphasis goes, but a rule of thumb is that it emphasizes the word (or a whole phrase) it succeeds. 

त्यो कुरा त ठूलो छ (tyo kura ta thulo cha)

= That thing IS big. (Basically, putting an emphasis on that thing as being big)

यो भए त राम्रो हुन्थ्यो (yo bhae ta ramro hunthyo)

= If THIS happened it would had been good.

ऊ त आज आउँदैन (u ta aaja aaudaina)

= HE won’t be coming today.


Ta is also used to assert agreement to a previously-made sentence or affirming what had been said before.

भोलि पोखरा जाने हैन ? (bholi pokhara jaane haina)

= (We) are going to Pokhara tomorrow, right?

हामी भोलि पोखरा त जाने नि! (haami bholi pokhara ta jaane ni)

= We ARE going to Pokhara tomorrow!

यो त राम्रो रहेछ ! (yo ta ramro rahecha)

= THIS is pretty good, (I didn’t expect that).

यो त राम्रो त छ! (yo ta ramro ta cha)

= THIS IS pretty good, (you see)!


Ta can also be used to emphasize a group of words rather than one.

यहाँका रुखहरु त कति विशाल! (yaha`ka rukh`haru ta khati bishal)

= The trees here are very massive!


It can also work to act as a topic marker (something that shows the topic of the sentence) but not always. 

यहाँको स्याउ त मीठो हुन्छ (yaha`ko syau ta mitho huncha)

= As of apples here, they are delicious.


अँ (a)

A nasalized a, it has a meaning of ‘Yeah’ or ‘Yes’. It is used in front of sentences to show affirmation. When used, it appears in the beginning of the sentence.

अँ, म भोलि जान्छु (a, ma bholi jaanchu)

= Yeah, I will go tomorrow.

तिमी साची हिजो गयौ ? अँ, गएँ। (timi sachi hijo gayau? a, gae)

= Did you really go yesterday? Yes, (I) went.


रे (re)

It is used to show incomprehension or unfamiliarity about a subject.It is very similar to Agyaat Tense! It is used in reported speeches so we can translate it into as ‘They say that…’ or something similar. We attach ’re’ in the end of the sentence. An alternative spelling is ‘अरे’ (are)

छिमेकीको घरमा चोरी भयो रे! (chimeki`ko ghar`ma chori bhayo re)

= They say that there was a thievery at neighbour’s house!

दाइ घरमा आउनुभएको छ रे!  (dai ghar`ma aaunubhaeko cha re)

= Brother has come home!


We can also translate this into as ‘I didn’t know’, ‘I see’ or something similar to that.

पोखरामा पानी पर्‍यो रे! (pokhara`ma pani paryo re)

= It rained in Pokhara, I see.


आ (aa)

आ (aa) is used to display protest, dissent, objection oror disapproval. This is usually kept in the beginning of the sentence. Somewhat similar to urgh.

आ, कति कराइरहेका होलान्! (aa, kati karaairaheka holaan)

= Urgh, how much can they shout!


कि (ki)

कि (ki) is used to express a doubt or a question. It is usually used in the end of the sentence. You can think of this as a pronounced question mark, but it isn’t a substitute for a question mark! The reason why is because it expresses uncertainty in the statement.

यो हो कि ? (yo ho ki)

= Is this the one?

पानी पर्छ कि ? (pani parcha ki)

= Will it rain? 

हामीले पो जित्ने हो कि ? (hami`le po jitne ho ki)

= Will it be us who will win?


क्यारे (kyaare)

क्यारे (kyaare) also denotes uncertainty on the statement. However, it is not used in to form questions. It can loosely be translated into as ‘I guess’, ‘Probably’ or something similar to that. It is attached in the end of the sentence.

यो होईन क्यारे (yo hoina kyaare)

= This isn’t it (thing you want), I guess.

उनीहरु आउँदैनन् क्यारे (uni`haru aaudainan kyaare)

= They won’t be coming, probably.


खै (khai)

खै (khai) has multiple uses. An alternative spelling is खोइ (khoi). One of the uses is to request, demand or plea for something. A usually used expression is  खै खै (khai khai) which is one the closest things you can get to ‘Excuse me’ (eg. while you want someone out of your way) but can also be interpreted as being rude. 

खै, अलिक नजिक आइदिनु त (khai, alik najik aaidinu ta)

= Excuse me (but) can you come a bit closer (for the picture).


Khai is also used to express disappointment or dissatisfaction. Please note that the sentences below are not that literal as you would like.

खै त! (khai ta)

= Where is it! (expresses frustration)

खै आएको (khai aaeko)

= Why didn’t you come? 


Khai is also used to express unfamiliarity to something. When done so, it is usually pulled for some time. (like a long aaaaaaaaaaahh instead of a short ah)

राम आयो ? खै…. (ram aayo? khai) 

= Did Ram come? Don’t know……


चाहिँ (chahi)

चाहिँ (chahi) is used to focus a subject in the sentence. This subject is always succeeded by this word. It can be translated into as ‘Especially’, ‘Particularly’ or something similar.

हामी चाहिँ पोखरा गएको है  (hami chahi pokhara gaeko hai)

= [Particularly] us are going to Pokhara. (In this sentence, it focuses or gives extra emphasis on ‘us’)

उ चाहिँ आज आउँदैन (u chahi aaja aaudaina)

= (Particularly) him won’t be coming.

यो चाहिँ सही छ! (yo chahi sahi cha)

= This is especially good!


न (na)

It is used to show insistence or persistence. It is used in the end of the sentence. It is kind of like the word ‘please’. So, we can say it gives emphasis to imperative sentences. It also softens harshness of a sentence.

यो गर न (yo gara na)

= Do this, please.

यहाँ आऊ न (yaha aau na)

= Come here, please.


नि (ni)

नि (ni) gives an emphasis on answers. When used as such, it appears in the end of the sentence.

यो हो नि ?(yo ho ni)

= This is the one, (you see).

हामी हो नि (hami ho ni)

= It is us, (you see).


This doesn’t mean that it is used to answer only. It is also used in questions sometimes, to give an emphasis on why the speaker doesn’t know,

किन नि ? (kina ni)

= Why, (I don’t see a reason)?

त्यो के हो नि (tyo ke ho ni)

= What is that, (I can never guess)


नै (nai)

नै  (nai) is used to give an emphasis on the notion of the sentence. So, it is used to augment or emphasize a point on the sentence. It emphasizes the word it succeeds. 

यो नै हो (yo nai ho)

= This IS the one.


Compare it with and without nai:

त्यो चरा रुखमा बस्छ (tyo chara rukh`ma bascha)

= That bird sits on a tree.


त्यो चरा रुखमा नै बस्छ (tyo chara rukh`ma nai bascha)

= That bird sits ON A TREE.  (you are trying to say that the bird sits nowhere else)


The position of नै (nai) also changes the emphasis:

म नै काठमाडौंमा आएँ (ma nai kathmadaun`ma aae)

= I came to Kathmandu. (extra emphasis on I, stating of people who came to Kathmandu, it was ‘I’ who came)


म काठमाडौंमा नै आएँ (ma kathmadaun`ma nai aae)

= I came to KATHMANDU. (extra emphasis on Kathmandu, indicating of all places, ‘I’ came to Kathmandu)


पो (po)

This interjectory word is used to emphasis the opposite of what has just been stated. For example, you invited John but Mary turned up instead. You proceed to open the door and to your surprise, you see Mary! So, you say ’Mary po aayecha’ [oh, it’s you Mary (I thought you were John)]. Bascially, you expect one but something else happens.

राम भनेको त श्याम पो रहेछ! (ram bhaneko ta shyaam po rahecha)

= Thought it was Ram, it turned out to be Shyam!

मासु खान्छु भनेको थिए सब्जी पो खानुपर्‍यो! (maasu khanchu bhaeko thie sabji po khanuparyo)

= I thought of eating meat but I ended up eating Vegetables instead.


ल (la)

This interjectory word is used to show either agreement or request. The meaning depends on how you say it or where you keep it. A standalone ‘la’ (or a la in the begining) shows agreement whereas an end ‘la’ shows a request. 

ल, म यो काम गरिदिन्छु (la, ma yo kaam garidinchu)

= Okay, I will do this work.  (agreement)

यो चिट्ठी लेखिदेऊ ल (yo chitthi lekhideu la)

= Write this letter, okay?  (request)


लौ (lau)

लौ (lau) indicates a surprise. When used, it mostly appears in the beginning of the sentence.

लौ, के गरेको! (lau, ke gareko)

= Wait there, what (are you) doing?

लौ, हामी त अर्कै ठाउँ पो आएछौँ (lau, hami ta arkai thau po aaechau)

= Wait a minute, we arrived somewhere else!


है (hai)

है (hai) is used to insist something. It is kind of like ‘okay?’ or ‘right?’

तिमीलाई यो चहियो है (timi`lai yo chahiyo hai)

= This is what you wanted, right?

भोली जाऔँ है (bholi jaao hai)

= Let’s go tomorrow, okay?

Vocabulary: Flowers

Flower = फूल (phul)

Bud = कोपिला (kopila)

Rose = गुलाब (gulaab)

Lotus = कमल (kamal)

Camellia = क्यामेलिया (kyameliya)

Rhododendron = गुराँस (guras)

Gladiolus = ग्लेडुलस (gledulas)

Chrysanthemum = गोदावरी (godavari)

Blue passion flower = घडीफूल (ghadiphul)

Jasmine = चमेली (chameli)

Tulip = ट्यूलिप (tyulip

Hibiscus = जिभ्रे फूल (jibro phul)

Indian trumpet flower = टोटला (totala)

Moss-rose Purslane = दशबजे फूल (dashbaje phul)

Angel’s Trumpet = धोक्रे फूल (dhokre phul)

Night-flowering Jasmine = पारिजात (paarijaat)

Jacaranda = भँगेरी फूल (bhangeri phul)

Purple globe amaranth = मखमली (makhamali)

Poinsettia = लालुपाते (lalupate)

Marigold = सयपत्री (sayapatri)

Orchid = सुनगाभा (sungabha) 

Hydrangea = सुगन्धराज (sugandharaaj)

Sunflower = सूर्यमुखी (suryamukhi)

Night-blooming cestrum = रातकी रानी (raat`ki rani)

Canna = सर्वदा फूल (sarwada phul)

Vocabulary: Polysemous Words (Homonyms)

Polysemous Words are Equivocal Terms. An equivocal term is a word which sound the same and spell the same but have two or more than two different meanings. Such words are called अनेकार्थक शब्द (anekarthak sabda) in Nepali. For example, the word ‘Ring’ is a Equivocal Term, with two meanings ‘Ornament’ and ‘Phone Noise’.


कर (kar) 

  1. Tax
  2. Insistence      
  3. Hand    
  4. Elephant’s Trunk


हात (haat) 

  1. Hand    
  2. Role in something


कलम (kalam)

  1. Pen  
  2. Pruned Stalk    
  3. Line


कल (kala)

  1. Fight  
  2. Apparatus  
  3. Water Tap


खोटो (khoto)

  1. Defective Banknote  
  2. Tree Sap    
  3. Something with a mark


अर्थ (artha)

  1. Meaning  
  2. Riches  
  3. Reason


साल (saal)

  1. Year  
  2. Pine  
  3. Umbilical Cord


लाई (lai)

  1. A postposition  
  2. Aphid


चुक (chuk)

  1. A very sour additive made by boiling lemon juice    
  2. Violation


तान (taan)

  1. A form of the verb ‘to pull’  
  2. A singing quality    
  3. Fly Shuttle/ an apparatus used to weave


पर्दा (parda)

  1. Curtain    
  2. A verb form of ‘Parnu’  
  3. Veil; Net


दर (dar)

  1. Rate (cost)  
  2. Food eaten before Teej


टीका (tika)

  1. A thing worn on the forehead    
  2. The 10th Day of Dashain


पत्र (patra)

  1. Newspaper    
  2. Page  
  3. Leaf  
  4. Layer/ Coating


पुतली (putali)

  1. Butterfly      
  2. Pupil (eye)      
  3. Toy


हार (haar)

  1.  Defeat        
  2.  Garland  


साँचो (saacho)  

  1. Truth    
  2. Key 


तार (taar)

  1. Wire  
  2. A verb form of ‘To cross’  
  3. Telegram



साँचो (sacho)

Truth: सधै साँचो बोल्नु पर्छ (sadhai sacho bolnu parcha)

= We should always speak the truth.

Key: साँचो कहाँ छ ? (sacho kaha cha)

= Where is the key?


कर (kar)  

Tax : समान किन्दा कर लाग्छ (saman kinda kar laagcha)

Tax is applied in eveything we buy.

Insistence : यो काम गर्छु नि! कर लगाई राख्नु पर्दैन (yo kaam garchu ni! Kar lagai rakhnu pardaina)

= I will do it okay! No need to keep insisting!

Hand : करले काम गर्छ (kar le kaam garcha)

= The hand does the work.

Elephant’s Trunk: कर कति लामो छ! (kar kati laamo cha)

= The elephant’s trunk is so long!