‘Kill two birds with one stone’ in European languages

by Jakub Marian

Tip: See my list of the Most Common Mistakes in English. It will teach you how to avoid mis­takes with com­mas, pre­pos­i­tions, ir­reg­u­lar verbs, and much more (PDF Version).

Did you know that the animal proverbially killed in the expression “kill two birds with one stone” differs from country to country? The map below shows the type of animal killed (birds are red, flies are brown, and rabbits/hares are green) together with a literal translation of the expression into English (please note that minority languages are not included in this particular map due to space reasons):

Kill two birds with one stone in European languages

Please note that in some cases I encountered two or more variants of the expression, in which case I chose the one that seemed to be the most common on the internet. Here’s a list of the expressions shown in the map in the source languages:

LanguageExpression
Albanianme një gur vret dy zogj
Belarusianадным ударам забіць двух зайцоў
adným udáram zabíc’ dvuch zájcóŭ
Bosnianubiti jednim udarcem dvije muhe
Bulgarianда убиеш с един куршум два заека
da ubieš s edin kuršum dva zaeka
Croatianubiti jednim udarcem dvije muhe
Czechzabít dvě mouchy jednou ranou
Danishslå to fluer med et smæk
Dutchtwee vliegen in één klap slaan
Englishkill two birds with one stone
Estoniantapma kaks kärbest ühe hoobiga
Finnishtappaa kaksi kärpästä yhdellä iskulla
Frenchfaire d’une pierre deux coups
Germanzwei Fliegen mit einer Klappe schlagen
Greekμε ένα σμπάρο δυο τρυγόνια
me éna smpáro dyo trygónia
Hungariankét legyet üt egy csapásra
Italianprendere due piccioni con una fava
Latvianar vienu šāvienu nošaut divus zaķus
Lithuanianvienu šūviu nušauti du zuikius
Luxembourgishwou Mécken mat engem Schlag (fänken)
Macedonianсо еден удар две муви тепа
so eden udar dve muvi tepa
Norwegianslå to fluer i ett smekk [Bokmål]
Polishupiec dwie pieczenie na jednym ogniu
Portuguesematar dois coelhos com uma só cajadada
Romanianîmpușca doi iepuri dintr-un foc
Russianубить одним выстрелом двух зайцев
ubít’ odním výstrelom dvuch zájcev
Serbianубити једним ударцем две муве
ubiti jednim udarcem dve muve
Slovakzabiť dve muchy jednou ranou
Sloveneubiti dve muhi na en mah
Spanishmatar dos pájaros de un tiro
Swedishslå två flugor i en smäll
Turkishbir taşla iki kuş vurmak
Ukrainianвбити двох зайців (одним ударом)
vbýty dvoch zájciv (odným udárom)

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