Lost, drowned, in a shirt… how do you like your eggs?

Happy World Egg Day!

English is quite a boring language when it comes to eggs. We boil them, scramble them, poach them, fry them. All very ordinary.

Which is why we were delighted to discover that other languages are more dramatic in their approach to eggs!

Over to Italy:

For Italians, poached eggs are literally ‘eggs in a shirt’ – ‘le uova in camicia’ – possibly because the frilly poached egg white looks like the sleeves of a loose blouse.

Alternatively (but still quite theatrically), you can call them ‘le uova affogate’ (literally ‘drowned eggs’). Poor old eggs!

And now to Germany:

Maybe it’s the same idea of drowning that makes Germans call their poached eggs ‘verlorene Eier’ – ‘lost eggs’. The eggs, like sailors lost at sea, drown quietly in the saucepan.

Or, if it’s a fried egg you’re after, the Germans have a pretty expression for that too: ‘Speigeleier’, literally ‘mirror eggs’. Can anyone tell us why..?


In Italian, Slovak and Czech (to name but a few), the fried egg is the ‘bullseye egg’- because, of course, it resembles a bullseye (or a porthole, which is the same word): ‘le uova all’occhio di bue’ (Italian), ‘volské oko’ (Slovak), ‘volská oka’ (Czech).

Eyes in a pan?

A similar idea, though slightly more graphic, applies in Bulgarian and Slovenian where the fried eggs (‘яйца на очи’ and ‘jajce na oko’ respectively) translate as ‘eggs eye-style’! So next time you fry an egg, you may choose to remember this vocabulary by imagining a big eyeball staring up at your from the plate… OR you may choose to stick to the safe, if rather boring, English equivalent.

Got any other interesting egg-related vocabulary? Let us know!


Drowned eggs


1 thought on “Lost, drowned, in a shirt… how do you like your eggs?”

  1. It’s also “mirror egg” in French (oeuf miroir) and in Danish (speljæg). And me neither, I don’t know why! Also, English has a totally fun synonym for “fried egg”: sunny side up! 🙂


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