Category Archives: Languages

Pot calling the kettle black

I knew that lexical choice results in the diversity of ways that people talk about the same thing in one language.

However, it was interesting to find out how different cultures use the same idiom, but in different wordings. Being familiar with a few of these cultures, I can tell where for instance, blind in Azeri, camel in Arabic, and pot in English, Turkish, and Persian come from.

  • English: “Pot calling the kettle black.”
  • Arabic: “The camel cannot see the crookedness of its own neck.”
  • Azeri: “If a blind man doesn’t point out the other blind man that his blind, he’ll die.”
  • Basque: “The blackbird to the crow: Black tail”
  • Burmese: “The Son is one month older than the father.”
  • Hindi: “The thief scolding the magistrate in reverse.”
  • Indonesian: “The thief shouting robber.”
  • Chinese: “50 steps laugh at [those who retreated] 100 steps.”
  • Dutch: “The pot reproaches the kettle for looking black.”
  • French: “The hospital mocks the charity.”
  • German: “One donkey calls the other one long ears.”
  • Greek: “The donkey said to the rooster “Your head is too big.”
  • Hungarian: “The owl says the sparrow has a large head.”
  • Irish: “That is the pot calling the kettle black.”
  • Italian: “The ox calling the donkey horned.”
  • Persian: “The pot tells the other pot your face is black.”
  • Portuguese: “The pig talking about the bacon.”
  • Romanian: “Potsherd laughs at the cracked pot.”
  • Spanish: “The donkey talking about ears.”
  • Turkish: “One pot saying to another pot, your bottom is black.”
  • Urdu: “The thief scolding the magistrate in reverse.”
  • Vietnamese: “dog ridicules cat for being hairy.”

The complete list with translations at


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