Refranes (proverbs)

One of the things that I find fascinating with languages are proverbs often encapsulating some pearl of wisdom or  folk knowledge from years gone by and sometimes just plain cryptic.

I also love idioms, and find it fascinating how other languages use (often in a very similar) almost identical idioms.

For example, te has comido la lengua el gate ‘has the cat got your tongue’,  (this was often said to me by my grandmother) probably when I had committed some transgression.

Or how about llevarse el gato al agua as in a pesar de que era casi impossibile, finalmente me he  llevado el gato al agua  meaning to achieve something almost impossible. The equivalent in  english is  ‘it was like herding cats’. I.e. herding cats is something that is basically impossible. (I remember trying to place two cats in a cat box. I was wearing thick gardening gloves and still ended up bloody and scratched).

As I seem to be on a cat related theme what about ‘there is not enough room to swing a cat’? I don’t think that there is an equivalent Spanish cat related size idiom. (BTW you do know that the cat doesn’t refer to the four legged creature in this case – don’t you?).

Or how about cuatro gatos  with the meaning very few people, so in Spanish you can say somos cuatro gatos ‘there are only a few of us’ or no no habìa màs que cuatro gatos ‘there was hardly anyone there’ or maybe ‘there were four men and a dog’, ‘it was like a graveyard’, ‘like a ghost town’ …

I bet you can’t guess what ‘she has blond hair and big blue eyes’ stands for in Polish 🙂

Hugs & besos,


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