toe the line

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How do you say "toe the line" like in....if we don´t toe the line we can be thrown out...

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updated NOV 7, 2008
posted by nomi

3 Answers

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James Santiago said:

I was thinking the pila there referred not to battery but to the baptismal font (which is one of the meanings of the word). To make amends, I'll pull out my better dictionary, which says "conformarse; someterse a las reglas."

That makes much more sense here, even if it lacks the flavor of the English.

Thanks for the correction.
It does indeed lack the flavour (a sop to our British friends). I had been thinking of "pila de(l) bautismo" in connection with the thread on sink/basin. Off topic here (but on topic there), I have heard people say "wash basin", albeit far less frequently than "(bathroom) sink" in post indoor plumbing days.

updated NOV 7, 2008
posted by samdie
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Yeah, you're right. I withdraw that suggestion. For some reason I was thinking the pila there referred not to battery but to the baptismal font (which is one of the meanings of the word). You know, Catholicism, toeing the line. Seemed to make sense. As long as you don't think about it too much, which I didn't.

To make amends, I'll pull out my better dictionary, which says "conformarse; someterse a las reglas."

That makes much more sense here, even if it lacks the flavor of the English.

Thanks for the correction.

updated NOV 7, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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James Santiago said:

My dictionary gives "ponerse las pilas."
I just looked at what this site's dictionary had to say on the subject (of "pila") and it seems to me to mean something different. "ponerse las pilas (informal figurative) -> to get moving o cracking" I can see how one would (fairly easily) arrive a "to get moving" from "install the batteries" and I have a (faint) recollection of having heard "toe the line" with something like "get going". However, I think it's usually used to mean "fall into step" or "follow the rules" or "get with the program" as opposed to simply make an/more effort or "get off (of) your duff".

updated NOV 7, 2008
posted by samdie