Last updated:  
Apr 10, 2018 @ 5:02 PM

Welcome to the Circassian idioms edition of our ‘Idioms (aka Speakwords) Around the World’ series!If you’re a newcomer and are wondering, “What in the world are these ‘Speakwords’ you keep talking about?”, then you should visit our very first article in the series to be enlightened on the meaning behind all this fun.

Circassians, if you haven’t heard of them, are the oldest indigenous people of Caucasus. Their people were displaced in the course of the Russian conquest of the Caucasus in the 19th century. It is estimated that a diaspora of over 2 million Circassians live in Turkey, over 700,000 in Russia, 300,000 in Syria, and around 50,000 in Western Europe and the United States. It is understandable that you may not have come across a Circassian if you haven’t lived or travelled to Eastern Europe/Russia. Especially considering how small that cumulative number actually is in relation to the world population. Because of their history, (having been exiled by Russia to lands of the Ottoman Empire), many Circassians not only speak their own dialect, but also Turkish, Russian, English, and even Arabic.

Now that the history lesson is over, we can get on with learning a few animal-related Circassian idioms!

Wolves in Forests

Circassian Idioms - WolfThis idiom was used this when a traveler would venture alone in the woods at night, only to be found dead (*gasp*) the next day. In other words, it was a way to say, “Don’t do that, ya dummy!”.

King of the Skies

Circassian Idioms - BirdThe meaning of this Circassian idiom isn’t set in stone. Perhaps it is a reminder to stay humble, or to step outside the ‘nest’ and to try something new.

Galloping Horses

Circassian Idioms - HorseCircassians considered the horse to be a majestic and strong animal, and likened losing hope to a horse that stops running.

Milking Cows

Circassian Idioms - CowNo cows were harmed in the making of this idiom.

Bear Fight

Circassian Idioms - BearIn the mountains, Circassians were surrounded by forests full of wildlife (yes that’s right, including bears). When they left their villages, each rider was accompanied by three ‘ovcharka’ dogs because, legends told that it took three ovcharka dogs to kill a bear. Essentially, this idiom is a metaphor to remind you to always be prepared against a particularly daunting challenge.

In case you’re wondering, this is what an ovcharka dog looks like:


It certainly looks like three of those massive dogs could take on a bear! Also, how much do you want to cuddle one of them right now?