Karadeniz’de gemileri batmak: A Turkish idiom for deep sadness


Today is my Dad’s birthday – he has been gone for three years – but I still  miss him.  Recently, I learned of a Turkish idiom that is used to express deep sadness.  Really, the Turks have an idiom for everything.

As the tears streamed down my face, Perihan Hanim, the fairy Godmother puppet came up and said “Karadeniz’de gemileri batmak.”  I knew it was something about the Black (Kara) Sea (deniz), but not much more.

Yehuda Rebbe, the sage elder puppet filled me in.  He said “If you owned a ship and it sank you would probably feel really sad about your loss. Turkish has an idiom that draws on this metaphor to express deep sadness. The expression is “Karadeniz’de gemileri batmak” which literally translates as to have one’s ships sunk in the Black Sea. It is generally used in questions, for example: ‘Çok üzgün görünüyorsun. Ne oldu? Karadeniz’de gemilerin mi battı?'”

For those of you who knew him, I think you might agree that my Dad would appreciate the boat metaphor! And now on to celebrating his life in a more positive manner!

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8 Responses to Karadeniz’de gemileri batmak: A Turkish idiom for deep sadness

  1. My dad shared a birthday with your dad, although he died on this day in 1965. That ship sailed a long time ago, but I still feel the loss. I am so sorry for your loss.

  2. Alan says:

    Geçmiş olsen – life is ever a tear and a smile!

  3. Jack Scott says:

    My Dad died nearly forty years ago but the feelings still run deep, Thinking of you.

  4. lizcameron says:

    Thanks so much, Jack!

  5. lizcameron says:

    Isn’t it true? Thanks, Alan.

  6. lizcameron says:

    What a coincidence! Thank you so much for your thoughts!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Lovely! We think of Henry often. We also have chuckles “What would Henry think about this?” or “What would Henry do in this situation?”

  8. lizcameron says:

    So glad to hear that you think of him often!

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