HomeQ&A¿Qué dijiste?

¿Qué dijiste?

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Since it's the last day of the year (and many on this forum are probably already celebrating in some time zones), I want to share some funny quotations that I have personally collected over the years. I have heard or read people say these things myself, which only proves that even native speakers often get confused in their own language.

See if you can figure out what the intended phrase was. In many cases, two sayings in English have been conflated, so see if you can figure out what the two were.

Have fun, and happy New Year!

You're skating on thin water.
Put that in your hat and smoke it!
The sooner, the quicker.
She cries at the drop of a dime.
We're all in the same shoe.
It's sort of a parody on words.
We'll just have to grit and bear it.
You'll have it made once you get your door in.
I want to get back to normal quo as soon as possible.
Keep your eye to the ground for any developments.
Wait a minute, it's right on the tip of my head.
I don't mean to beat a sleeping horse, but...
He was hanging on by thin air.
She wouldn't do that for all the money in China.
We need to stay on our p's and q's for the game.
I'm just counting my lucky stars
I was ready to try anything; I was just pulling rabbits out of my head.
(Seen in writing) It was no more than a hare's breath away.
That just goes with the turf.
Everything is just peachy cream.
I don't mean to throw a loop into the works, but?
That's no skin off my teeth.
Nine times out of a hundred that's the way it happens.
It was no bars holed.
He really threw himself into the towel for that project.
It takes two to tangle.
That's really straggling the line between the two.
I'll bet you're walking on sunshine.
She just got back from a world-wind trip.
$600? That's nothing to shake a stick at.
Well, he's not out of the clear just yet.
That went over like a lead brick.
I wanted to give him the benefit of the break.
We'll weigh both sides of the coin before deciding.
He was quiet as a peep.
That's his ace in the card.
Something like that is just cream on the cake.
I don't think this issue is worth losing much sweat over.
He made no beans about it.
It has a ripple down effect.
I've been around the block a few years.
I'm still green behind the ears. (Barack Obama)
For all intensive purposes, ?
That is a mute point.

7625 views
updated ENE 10, 2009
posted by 00bacfba

26 Answers

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samdie said:

Eddy said:

That went over like a lead balloon. That went down like a lead balloon

I don't think I've ever hear an American say "down like a lead balloon". I wonder if that is mere coincidence or reflects a difference in American/British optimism/pessimism (or, perhaps, pollyannaism/realism). Aeronautically, of course, "over" is not an option.

We do, however, say "that went down like a lead sinker, which I presume, refers not to a doughnut (donut) but, rather, to the fisherman's equipment.

It's English. We say "down". I suppose we are assuming that a lead ballon cannot possibly go up.

With regards your other comment, we would use "lead weight". Same principle but here fishermen use weights.

updated ENE 10, 2009
posted by Eddy
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Eddy said:

That went over like a lead balloon. That went down like a lead balloon
I don't think I've ever hear an American say "down like a lead balloon". I wonder if that is mere coincidence or reflects a difference in American/British optimism/pessimism (or, perhaps, pollyannaism/realism). Aeronautically, of course, "over" is not an option.
We do, however, say "that went down like a lead sinker, which I presume, refers not to a doughnut (donut) but, rather, to the fisherman's equipment.

updated ENE 9, 2009
posted by samdie
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Just to add the English slant on some of them

I don't mean to beat a dead horse
I don´t want to flog a dead horse

That went over like a lead balloon.
That went down like a lead balloon

I don't mean to throw a (monkey) wrench into the works
I don´t mean to throw a spanner in the works

updated ENE 9, 2009
posted by Eddy
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If you find these amusing, you can find many more by going to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eggcorn and then following the links for "malapropism", "mondegreen" and "Eggcorn Database".

updated ENE 9, 2009
posted by samdie
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Steve, my corrected versions are just my own guesses as to what was going through the speaker's head, so your guess is as good as mine. I remember the woman who said this. She's a good friend, and we were talking about a mutual friend who is a real llorona, and she was commenting on this. It's impossible to say with certainty how "dime" got itself into her expression, since there are many American expressions that involve that word, but my guess was based on the fact that it means that a car stops very quickly, and that may have been part of the thought process.

At any rate, thanks for the interesting comment.

updated ENE 2, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
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  • She cries at the drop of a dime.
    She cries at the drop of a hat.
    The car can stop on a dime.*

What a great list. I have to question this one's explanation though. I'm pretty sure that the dime dropping comes from an old expression from the middle ages when pay phones cost a dime. Ratting on somebody or turning them in was "dropping a dime" on them. My mother once found my brother's pot back in 1970 or so, She called her brother on the phone, and we got on the extension just in time to hear my uncle say "Drop a dime on him. Drop a dime on him." We then tied her up until we could convince her that our uncle was an idiot. and she would be sending her first born to jail for a long time. A small amount of pot was still a felony in Texas in those days.

updated ENE 2, 2009
posted by The-Steve
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James Santiago said:

(Apparently my post was too long, so I'm adding a second.)

We'll weigh both sides of the coin before deciding.

We'll weigh both sides before deciding.

The other sides of the coin is that...

He was quiet as a peep.

He was quiet as a mouse.

He didn't make a peep.

That's his ace in the card.

That's his ace in the hole.

Something like that is just cream on the cake.

Something like that is just icing on the cake.

It's the cream of the crop.

I don't think this issue is worth losing much sweat over.

I don't think this issue is worth losing much sleep over.

I don't think this issue is worth sweating over.

He made no beans about it.

He made no bones about it.

He's full of beans.

It has a ripple down effect.

It has a ripple effect.

It has a trickle down effect.

I've been around the block a few years.

I've been around the block a few times.

I'm still green behind the ears.

I'm still wet behind the ears.

I'm still green (a greenhorn).

For all intensive purposes, ?

For all intents and purposes, ?

That is a mute point.

That is a moot point.

This has been very generous, James, thank yousmile

updated ENE 1, 2009
posted by 00494d19
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CalvoViejo said:

French benefits Physical year
French benefits'! Now you risk having the thread deleted (especially now that "friends with benefits" has become established as an expression).

P.S. I really do know what you mean but I couldn't resist.

updated ENE 1, 2009
posted by samdie
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"A diamond in the rust."

CalvoViejo said:

French benefits Physical year

>

updated ENE 1, 2009
posted by Erin
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French benefits
Physical year

updated ENE 1, 2009
posted by CalvoViejo
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This cracks me up. I collect quotes as well, so fun!

updated ENE 1, 2009
posted by Erin
0
votes

(Apparently my post was too long, so I'm adding a second.)

We'll weigh both sides of the coin before deciding.
We'll weigh both sides before deciding.
The other sides of the coin is that...

He was quiet as a peep.
He was quiet as a mouse.
He didn't make a peep.

That's his ace in the card.
That's his ace in the hole.

Something like that is just cream on the cake.
Something like that is just icing on the cake.
It's the cream of the crop.

I don't think this issue is worth losing much sweat over.
I don't think this issue is worth losing much sleep over.
I don't think this issue is worth sweating over.

He made no beans about it.
He made no bones about it.
He's full of beans.

It has a ripple down effect.
It has a ripple effect.
It has a trickle down effect.

I've been around the block a few years.
I've been around the block a few times.

I'm still green behind the ears.
I'm still wet behind the ears.
I'm still green (a greenhorn).

For all intensive purposes, ?
For all intents and purposes, ?

That is a mute point.
That is a moot point.

updated ENE 1, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

I'm glad some of you enjoyed these. I have enjoyed compiling the list. For the non-native speakers of English here, I'll go through the list and give (1) the corrupted version, (2) the correct version, and (3) the other related version (when there are two phrases that have been conflated.

Si hay alguien que tenga preguntas sobre el significado de algunas de estas frases, que se usan bastante en inglés, no dudes en hacermelas.

You're skating on thin water.
You're skating on thin ice.
You're in hot water.

Put that in your hat and smoke it!
Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
(Possibly) Your head is too big for your hat.

The sooner, the quicker.
The sooner, the better.

She cries at the drop of a dime.
She cries at the drop of a hat.
The car can stop on a dime.

We're all in the same shoe.
We're all in the same boat.
The shoe is on the other foot.

It's sort of a parody on words.
It's sort of a play on words.

We'll just have to grit and bear it.
We'll just have to grin and bear it.
We'll just have to grit it out.

You'll have it made once you get your door in.
You'll have it made once you get your foot in the door.

I want to get back to normal quo as soon as possible.
I want to get back to normal as soon as possible.
I want to get back to the status quo as soon as possible.

Keep your eye to the ground for any developments.
Keep your ear to the ground for any developments.

Wait a minute, it's right on the tip of my head.
Wait a minute, it's right on the tip of my tongue.
I can't get it out of my head.

I don't mean to beat a sleeping horse, but...
I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but...
Let sleeping dogs lie.

He was hanging on by thin air.
He was hanging on by the skin of his teeth.
He produced it out of thin air.

She wouldn't do that for all the money in China.
She wouldn't do that for all the tea in China.
She wouldn't do that for all the money in the world.

We need to stay on our p's and q's for the game.
We need to stay on our toes for the game.
We need to mind/watch on our p's and q's.

I'm just counting my lucky stars.
I'm just counting my blessings.
I'm just thanking my lucky star.

I was ready to try anything; I was just pulling rabbits out of my head.
I was ready to try anything; I was just pulling my hair out.
He pulled a rabbit out of his hat.

It was no more than a hare's breath away.
It was no more than a hair's breadth away.

That just goes with the turf.
That just goes with the territory.
She's on her own turf.

Everything is just peachy cream.
Everything is just peachy keen.
She has skin like peaches and cream.

I don't mean to throw a loop into the works, but?
I don't mean to throw a (monkey) wrench into the works, but?
I don't mean to throw you for a loop, but?

That's no skin off my teeth.
That's no skin off my nose.
By the skin of my teeth.

Nine times out of a hundred that's the way it happens.
Nine times out of ten that's the way it happens.
Ninety-nine times out of a hundred that's the way it happens.

It was no bars holed.
It was no holds barred.

He really threw himself into the towel for that project.
He really threw himself into that project.
He threw the towel in on that project.

It takes two to tangle.
It takes two to tango.

That's really straggling the line between the two.
That's really straddling the line between the two.

I'll bet you're walking on sunshine.
I'll bet you're walking on air.
(There is a song titled Walking on Sunshine.)

She just got back from a world-wind trip.
She just got back from a whirlwind trip.

$600? That's nothing to shake a stick at.
$600? That's nothing to sneeze at.
He has more money than you could shake a stick at.

Well, he's not out of the clear just yet.
Well, he's not in the clear just yet.
Well, he's not out of the woods just yet.

That went over like a lead brick.
That went over like a lead balloon.

I wanted to give him the benefit of the break.
I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt.
I wanted to give him a break.

updated ENE 1, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

si estás correcto. Muy bien

Gus said:

are my translations correct ?

That is a mute point. Es un punto nudo

For all intensive purposes, Por todas las razones intestinas

I'm still green behind the ears. solo escucho cosas verdes

>

updated ENE 1, 2009
posted by The-Steve
0
votes

are my translations correct ?

That is a mute point. Es un punto nudo
For all intensive purposes, Por todas las razones intestinas
I'm still green behind the ears. solo escucho cosas verdes

updated ENE 1, 2009
posted by 00769608
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