[Repost] If You’ve Never Used These English Idioms, You’re Probably Not a Native English Speaker (by Lana Winter Hébert)

If You’ve Never Used These English Idioms, You’re Probably Not a Native English Speaker


 Those of us who grew up with English as our first language have been exposed to idioms and idiomatic expressions for most of our lives. They may have confused us a little when we were children, but explanation and constant exposure not only increased our understanding of them, but likely drew them into our own vernacular. If you’re in the process of learning the English language, you may come across some of these and not be entirely sure what they mean. Here’s a list of 20 that you’re likely to come across fairly often:

1. A Chip on Your Shoulder

No, this doesn’t mean that you’ve dropped part of your snack. To have a chip on one’s shoulder implies that the person is carrying around some grudge or bad feelings about something that happened in the past… like having walked through the wreckage of a building, and ended up with a chip of that building stuck to them for years afterward.

2. Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Like taking a HUGE bite of a sandwich that will fill your mouth up so much that you can’t move your jaw, this idiom implies that you’ve taken on more than you can handle successfully. An example would be agreeing to build ten websites in a week when normally you can only handle five.

3. You Can’t Take It With You

You can’t take anything with you when you die, so don’t bother hoarding your stuff or not using it except for “special occasions”. Live now, because all your stuff is going to be around long after you’re gone.

4. Everything But the Kitchen Sink

This implies that nearly everything has been packed/taken/removed. For instance, if someone said: “The thieves stole everything but the kitchen sink!” it meant that they took everything they could carry; it’s damned hard to remove a sink and carry it around.

5. “Over My Dead Body”

When the only way you’ll allow something to happen is if you’re no longer alive to stop it.

6. Tie the Knot

To get married. This is left over from the old tradition of handfasting, wherein the hands of the bride and groom would be tied together with a length of ribbon to symbolize that their lives were fastened together permanently.

7. Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover

Things aren’t always what they appear to be at first glance, so it’s a good idea to give something a chance, even if its outward appearance isn’t immediately attractive.

*The exception to this might be actual books that have hideous covers: those tend to be terrible all around, and in cases such as these, it’s best to contact the author or publisher and recommend a good graphic designer.

8. When Pigs Fly

This means “never”. Pigs aren’t about to sprout wings and take flight anytime soon, so if someone says to their kid that they can get a forehead tattoo when pigs fly, it’s not gonna happen.

9. A Leopard Can’t Change His Spots

Basically: you are who you are. Just like a leopard can’t concentrate really hard and change the pattern on its skin, people can’t change who they really are at heart.

10. Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve

To freely show and express all of your emotions, as though your heart were on the outside of your body.

11. Bite Your Tongue!

Stick your tongue between your teeth (gently), and then try to speak. You can’t say a word, can you? To bite one’s tongue means to stay quiet: literally to hold the tongue still so it can’t make a sound. This goes along with:

12. Put a Sock In It

The idea behind this is that if you stuffed a sock in your mouth, you’d be quiet… so if you tell someone to “put a sock in it”, you’re telling them to shut up.

13. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

If a couple of dogs had been fighting and are now sleeping peacefully, it’s best to just leave them alone. The idea behind this one is to avoid bringing up old arguments so they’ll just be argued about again.

14. Foam at the Mouth

To hiss and snarl in anger like a rabid dog (whose mouth would be foamy as he jumps around like crazy and tries to bite people).

15. A Slap on the Wrist

A very, very mild punishment. To be slapped on the wrist doesn’t hurt much, and isn’t a deterrent from misbehaving again.

16. You Are What You Eat

This is the idea that everything you eat influences your health and well-being. If you eat nothing but junk food, you’ll end up unhealthy and malnourished, so be sure to eat a well-balanced diet.

17. “It’s a Piece of Cake!”

…meaning that it’s incredibly easy. No-one has a difficult time eating a piece of cake, do they?

18. It Takes Two to Tango

A person can’t dance the tango alone, nor can they fight by themselves either. If an argument has occurred, there were two people involved, so two were responsible.

19. Head Over Heels

To be incredibly excited and joyful, particularly with regard to being in love. Imagine someone so happy that they do cartwheels down the street: like that.

20. An Arm and a Leg

When something is so ridiculously expensive that you might have to sell your own body parts in order to afford it, it’s said to cost “an arm and a leg”.

Featured photo credit: Opened book with letters flying out of it on bright background via Shutterstock

[Repost] Up the apples, she’s got a lovely pair of bacons – what do East Londoners mean? (by transpanish)

Up the apples, she’s got a lovely pair of bacons – what do East Londoners mean?

Cockney rhyming slang is jam-packed with references to fruit, vegetables and other kinds of foods. This East London working-class slang, structured around a simple rhyming system, was the East Londoner’s language code which prevented bosses, the police and other authority figures from understanding what was being said.

Some of the most popular food-related cockney rhyming phrases include “apples and pears,” “bacon and eggs” and “custard and jelly.” Below, we’ve compiled a fairly extensive list of food rhymes and their East London meaning…


apples and pears

The phrase “apples and pears” rhymes with “stairs” and so is commonly used to refer to anything which might be going on above. You might say to someone, looking for an item they’ve lost, “It might be up the apples,” meaning it might be upstairs and therefore worth checking.

bacon and eggs

Bacon and eggs rhymes with legs and is used when you want to compliment a woman. You might say, “You’ve got a lovely pair of bacons,” meaning that she has a really good looking pair of legs.

custard and jelly

“Shall we watch a bit of custard?” might be a question someone would ask if they wanted to watch the television, as custard and jelly refers directly to the telly (television).

loaf of bread

If you’re ever told to, “use your loaf,” in the East End of London, it’s because you’re being told to “use your head” or to think/act smarter. “Head” rhymes with “bread,” and so the phrase is shortened from “use your loaf of bread (head)” to “use your loaf!”

mince pies

When a guy from the East End of London wants to chat up a lovely lady that he sets his eyes on, he might say, “You’ve got lovely mincies.” “Mince pies”, rhymes with “eyes” and… the conclusion to be drawn from the rest is quite clear.

peas in the pot

When you walk into a room and someone says, “It’s a bit peasy in here,” they mean that it’s a bit hot. “Peas in the pot” rhymes with “hot,” hence the use of the phrase, “peasy.”

plates of meat

“Plates of meat” rhymes with “feet.” You might hear someone say, “Be careful of me (my) plates,” if they’re frightened that someone else is about to stand on their feet.

potatoes in the mould

A shortened version of “potatoes” in the East End of London is the word “taters.” The phrase “potatoes (taters) in the mould” rhymes with “cold” and is used when someone is feeling a little nippy. You might hear someone say, “It’s a bit taters in here.”

rabbit and pork

If you happen to be spending a lot of time with someone who talks and talks and talks and never seems to want to just be quiet, you might want to say, “Wow! You can really rabbit, can’t you!” The phrase “rabbit and pork” rhymes with “talk” and is used to talk about the big chatterboxes in our lives.

tea leaf

“He’s a little tea leaf,” is used to accuse someone of being a “thief.”

As is made evident from the examples above, the parts of the rhymes which don’t actually match the sound of the word they are referring to is the word that is normally used in Cockney Rhyming Slang. For instance, in “bacon and eggs”, “eggs” rhymes with “legs”, but “bacon” is the part of the phrase which is used when you want to tell a woman she has a lovely pair of “bacons” (legs).

By opting for the section of the rhyme which doesn’t actually rhyme, the secret meaning of the phrase was kept even more of a secret amongst the working classes of East London. Secrecy to Cockney Rhymers means everything.


Cf. original: http://www.transpanish.biz/translation_blog/examples-cockney/


[Repost] «I love you an egg», traducciones literales que triunfan en la red (by Aurora Flórez de ABCEDESEVILLA)

Sono creativi. Sono bravi. Sono Nicholas Isard, inglese, laureato in Lingue Moderne; Marielle Lambrun, francese, laureata in Filologia Ispanica; e il fondatore Daniel Vivas, sivigliano ed economista
Hanno creato “Superbritánico” e traducono letteralmente i modi di dire spagnoli in lingua inglese
Un fenomeno virale che trionfa nella rete! 🙂

Cfr. articolo originale: http://www.abcdesevilla.es/sevilla/20140316/sevi-traduce-literal-ingles-201403132041.html#.UygyPFhvDDw.twitter



«I love you an egg», traducciones literales que triunfan en la red

Día 16/03/2014 – 08.16h

Tres emprendedores triunfan desde Sevilla con «Superbritánico» y su idea de trasladar lo más granado de nuestras frases al inglés

«Oh pity, little pity, pity!», o lo que es lo mismo: «¡Ay pena, penita, pena!», «Life is a lottery, lot lot lotery!» («La vida es una tómbola, tom tom tombola», «Today, donŽt have the pussy for litte lanterns» -«Hoy no tengo el chichi pa farolillos», son algunas de las frases que están haciendo furor en Internet en traducciones literales al inglés de las expresiones más populares, más graciosas y más repetidas de este nuestro país.

Están en Twitter, en @superbritanico, que las planta en tazas, delantales, bolsos y otros artículos que venden desde una tienda online. «Superbritánico» es idea de tres jóvenes emprendedores en Sevillaque no llegan a los 30 años de edad: Nicholas Isard, británico, licenciado en Lenguas Modernas, Marielle Lambrun, francesa, licenciada en Filología hispánica, y el fundador, Daniel Vivas, sevillano y economista. Cuentan con más de 250.000 seguidores en las redes sociales.

En diciembre, mes en que abrieron sutienda online se agotaron las existencias en pocos días. Vidas asegura que «entre traducción y traducción surgió la idea de hacer las traducciones literales y comenzamos a compartirlas a través de las redes sociales». Nunca imaginaron que esta idea alcanzaría tal éxito. Y tampoco pensaron en que, «a nivel de vocabulario puede ser de ayuda para todas aquellas personas que están aprendiendo el idioma. Nos llama mucha gente para darnos la enhorabuena porque gacias a «Superbritánico» han aprobado su examen de inglés».

Divertido y original es, no cabe duda. Y ahí va una muestra de ello, ésta para que practiquen: «Go to fry aspargus», «You are the joy of the vegetable garden», «Female monkey painter» o «I love you an egg», de un amplio catálogo en el que no faltan frases de canciones archiconocidas, en las que hasta se recupera a las Mama Chicho:«Mum, Chicho touches me, he is touching me more and more».

Hay para elegir, además entre lo más granado del panorama musical y de su repertorio de respuestas. Raphael: «Scandal! itŽs a scandal», Lola Flores: «If you love me, go away!» (¡Si me queréis, irse!), «What’s wrong with the blackberry which cries and cries at all hours around the corners?» («¿qué tiene la zarzamora que a todas horas llora que llora por los rincones?»); Rocío Jurado: «It’s been a while since I don’t feel anything when doing it with you» («Hace tiempo que no siento nada al hacerlo contigo»); o Isabel Pantoja: «Sailor of lights, with soul of fire and tanned back» («Marinero de luces, con alma de fuego y espalda morena», «Teeth, teeth, that’s what fucks them» («Dientes, dientes, que eso es lo que les jode»)… Pues eso, en dos palabras made in Jesulín de Ubrique: «In two words: im pressive».

English Oddities: 10 modi di dire bizzarri sugli animali

Animal Idioms (Articolo in ITALIANO)

Further Examples here: http://www.idiomconnection.com/animal.html

Help Traduzioni - Studio di traduzioni e comunicazione web

IDIOM - Help Traduzioni

di Angela Di Giorno

L’immaginario inglese non finisce mai di stupire. Di pappagalli e asini avevo avevo già parlato in un post precedente dedicato agli idiomi inglesi. Ecco qui di seguito altri 10 modi di dire bizzarri aventi come protagonisti gli animali.

Rane - Help Traduzioni

1. To juggle frogs: letteralmente il verbo to juggle significa ‘fare il giocoliere’ o in senso figurato ‘destreggiarsi’, quindi l’espressione suonerebbe tipo ‘maneggiare le rane’. È usata in situazioni complicate in cui si sta svolgendo un compito particolarmente difficile e impegnativo. Se immagino la scena direi che sono d’accordo: le rane sono piuttosto viscide!

2. In a pig’s eye: indica incredulità e scetticismo. Dire che qualcosa si verificherà in a pig’s eye equivale a dire che è molto improbabile. L’implicazione si basa sull’idea che il punto di vista di un maiale non può essere molto attendibile…

scimmie - Help Traduzioni3. To have more fun than a barrel…

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