Literal: “to poop in the blue cupboard”
July 21, 2019 8:22 PM   Subscribe

Twitter user @jazz_inmypants says
everyone please share your favorite not-english word or phrase. here’s one i just learned.

“Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy"

Language: Polish

English Equivalent: “not my problem”

Literal: “not my circus, not my monkey”
posted by Johnny Wallflower (102 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite
 
(title source)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:22 PM on July 21


“to poop in the blue cupboard”

Is it February again already?? Man, the years go fast...
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:35 PM on July 21 [2 favorites]


(SHHHH! I was hoping to sneak that one past the poop patrol)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:38 PM on July 21 [6 favorites]


Er war ein Punker und er lebten in der großen Stadt
Es war in Wein, s'war Vienna wo er alles tat

Between Rock Me Amadeus, One Night In Bangkok, and that railroad piece at the beginning of The Music Man, I can freak people out in a totally White Guy Rap kind of way that isn't at all creepy.
posted by hippybear at 8:38 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]


(well, okay, yes, it's creepy. I admit that)
posted by hippybear at 8:39 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]


Takav mi grah pao.

Language: Bosnian.

English equivalent: it is what it is

Actual translation Metafilter: That’s the beans that fell on me

posted by rodlymight at 8:41 PM on July 21 [14 favorites]


"Not my circus, not my monkey" has definitely crossed over into English at this point.
posted by Merus at 8:43 PM on July 21 [58 favorites]


I use "not my pig, not my farm" but same thing.
posted by jwest at 8:52 PM on July 21 [2 favorites]


Some weird Dutch expressions:

Stront aan de knikker : Shit on the marble = Here comes trouble
De kat aan het spek binden : To tie the cat to the bacon = To create temptation
Of je worst lust! : If you like sausage = (in response to "Excuse me?") Never mind!
posted by monospace at 9:00 PM on July 21 [9 favorites]


I saw this this other day, and shared it with Mrs. Ghidorah. I was honestly surprised at the origins of Not my circus, not my monkeys, because I used that all the time.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:19 PM on July 21 [4 favorites]


Well, yes, but you literally have a circus and monkeys and competitors with monkeys and circuses, and so it's understandable that you'd use that phrase thinking it was just describing your life.
posted by hippybear at 9:21 PM on July 21 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: Hey, that's my monkey!
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:44 PM on July 21 [8 favorites]


these links represent reasons #3914 & 3915 why Twitter must be burned to the ground and the ashes shoved into Donald Trump's mouth.

There are far better sources for literal translations of foreign sayings. It took me 10 seconds on the Ducky search engine to find this collection of German idioms that started with...
Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei.
Everything must end.
Literally: Everything has an end; only the sausage has two.

posted by oneswellfoop at 9:46 PM on July 21 [9 favorites]


Circus/monkeys - it’s more than “not my problem” though. Like, it’s perfect to use when as a manager, people complain to me about other departments. It captures the craziness of the situation / people and lack of controllability. Look I’d like to help you there, but it’s not my circus and those are definitely not my monkeys.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:50 PM on July 21 [6 favorites]


Another Swedish one I didn't see in the thread:

Ut och cykla: out bicycling = mistaken, with a suggestion of craziness
posted by St. Oops at 9:55 PM on July 21 [2 favorites]


This was in the new season of Queer Eye! Kenny's episode was SO. FUCKING. GOOD.
posted by weewooweewoo at 9:56 PM on July 21


I am...dubious. Some of the responses sound like they're from people who might be taking the piss and the OP seems a little gullible.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:00 PM on July 21 [2 favorites]


Here's Google Translate to help you pronounce the circus/monkey phrase in the original Polish.
posted by bryon at 10:16 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]


"Not my circus, not my monkey" has definitely crossed over into English at this point.

Good lord, yes. My septuagenarian mother uses it whenever she wishes to wash her hands of someone else’s drama.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:34 PM on July 21 [2 favorites]


Well YOU guys can be cynical. I scrolled all the way to the bottom and there are some real sausages in the thread.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:46 PM on July 21 [2 favorites]


Australian English: I’m flat out like a lizard drinking
English English: I’m busy
posted by um at 11:13 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]


"Not my circus, not my monkey" has definitely crossed over into English at this point.

Are we sure it didn't go the other way? Because that seems like a really common English expression for a while.
posted by bongo_x at 11:17 PM on July 21


SHHHH! I was hoping to sneak that one past the poop patrol)

🤬
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:27 PM on July 21 [2 favorites]


A couple of Finnish ones I didn’t see there:

”Ei ole kaikki Muumit laaksossa”
Approximately: to not be all there
Literally: to not have all of their Moomins in the valley

”Aina ei mene nallekarkit tasan”
Approx.: life’s not fair
Lit.: the gummi bears are not always divided evenly

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t include one of the seemingly countless profane ones we employ regularly:

”Naama norsun vitulla”
Approx.: to look grumpy
Lit.: to have one’s face look like an elephant’s c**t
posted by jklaiho at 11:33 PM on July 21 [27 favorites]


From what I'm seeing, if you see something about Spanish and it ends with "and I think it's beautiful" ... double check it.

So.

Spanish (Spain): El chocolate del loro
Literal: the parrot's chocolate
Meaning: a small budget change that won't make a nick in your huge debt.
posted by sukeban at 11:36 PM on July 21 [6 favorites]


jklaiho: ”Ei ole kaikki Muumit laaksossa”
Approximately: to not be all there
Literally: to not have all of their Moomins in the valley


Oh my god, I just watched a Finnish movie that used this phrase, except the person was explaining to his colleague/friend that HR wanted to do a psychological evaluation on him “to make sure all your Moomins are in the valley.” I was tickled by the phrase but thought it was original to the scriptwriters!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:38 PM on July 21 [15 favorites]


Spanish: Para ese viaje no se necesitan alforjas / no hacían falta alforjas
Literal: You didn't need saddlebags for that trip
Meaning: You took too many unnecessary precautions/ preparations, you did all that work for nothing
posted by sukeban at 11:39 PM on July 21 [2 favorites]


I live in Sweden and love some of the phrases here. Apparently shitting in the blue cupboard is wrong because the blue cupboards were always for kitchenware, and the bedpans were kept in another cupboard.

Other favourites:

Det finns ingen ko på isen
'There's no cow on the ice'
I.e., there's no need to worry.

Ha skägget i brevlådan
'With your beard in the letterbox'
I.e., caught red handed

Rund under fötterna
'Round-bottomed feet'
I.e., drunk.
posted by twirlypen at 11:49 PM on July 21 [12 favorites]


Spanish: En casa del herrero, cuchillo de palo
Literal: At the blacksmith's home, wooden knife
Meaning: Someone who has specialized knowledge but fails to use it in their own benefit.
posted by sukeban at 11:51 PM on July 21 [9 favorites]


Literal: At the blacksmith's home, wooden knife

An English equivalent would be something like “the cobbler's sons go barefoot”.
posted by acb at 1:23 AM on July 22 [13 favorites]


In Dutch, someone with a large bust can be described as having 'een flinke bos hout voor de deur'... a hefty bundle of (fire)wood in front of the door.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:45 AM on July 22 [2 favorites]


Danish: goddag mand, økseskaft.

Literal: hello man, axe handle.

Meaning: that makes no fucking sense, what the hell.
posted by Dysk at 1:53 AM on July 22 [5 favorites]


I heard a great variation of the monkey phrase when I was asking how their new job was. he said "same circus, different monkeys"
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:53 AM on July 22 [11 favorites]


“Der er ingen ko på isen"

Language: Danish

Literal: “there is no cow on the ice”

English Equivalent: “we have no problem/everything is OK”
posted by alchemist at 2:05 AM on July 22 [2 favorites]


Meaning: that makes no fucking sense, what the hell.

In Spain that would be "manzanas/patatas traigo" (I bring apples/ potatoes).
posted by sukeban at 2:14 AM on July 22


Saying: 杀鸡吓猴 (shā jī xià hóu)
Language: Chinese
Literal: "Kill chicken scare monkey"

Once I was in a teaching seminar and I asked the speaker how he dealt with academic dishonesty. The speaker paused for a moment, looked at me and said: "In my country, we have a saying ... to kill a small animal to frighten the large animal." One website claims that this is the Chinese equivalent of the french saying pour encourager les autres (literally: to encourage the others), from Voltaire writing about the execution of Admiral Byng.

I'm actually not sure if this is an actual thing, but a language dictionary once claimed:
Saying: Du hast einen Koffer stehen lassen
Language: German
Literal: You have left a suitcase standing
Actual: You farted.
posted by Comrade_robot at 2:57 AM on July 22 [2 favorites]


We English-speakers have a phrase that confuses non-native speakers a lot. I've been asked about it at least twice while helping international PhD students prepare to take the the TOEFL exam. "Excuse me," they will say, "But what are these 'American thighs'?"
posted by staggering termagant at 3:32 AM on July 22 [7 favorites]


staggering termagant: We English-speakers have a phrase that confuses non-native speakers a lot.
So what's the phrase? Or do you expect me to look up TOEFL now?
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:38 AM on July 22


We English-speakers have a phrase that confuses non-native speakers a lot. I've been asked about it at least twice while helping international PhD students prepare to take the the TOEFL exam. "Excuse me," they will say, "But what are these 'American thighs'?"
posted by staggering termagant at 11:32 AM on July 22


From "You Shook Me All Night Long" (by AC/DC)?
posted by faceplantingcheetah at 3:52 AM on July 22


Good stuff here. Much of it very useful for the future or right now!
posted by DJZouke at 5:00 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


German: Die Morgenstunde hat gold im munde
English: The early riser has gold in his mouth
posted by kinnakeet at 5:09 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


Yes, American thighs, from AC/DC's You Shook Me All Night Long. I've had two students, years apart, ask me what this phrase means.
posted by staggering termagant at 5:16 AM on July 22 [3 favorites]


Danish: kan ikke stikke en pind/slå et søm i en lort uden at ødelægge begge dele

Literal: can't stick a twig/hammer a nail into a shit without breaking both

Meaning: not very good with their hands/not very good with practical skills


German: Die Morgenstunde hat gold im munde
English: The early riser has gold in his mouth


We have this in Danish too: morgenstund har guld i mund
posted by Dysk at 5:22 AM on July 22


Det finns ingen ko på isen
'There's no cow on the ice'
I.e., there's no need to worry.


So glad to see this, as I was going to ask - the phrase I heard was "the cow is on the ice" and/or "we have to get the cow off the ice", and I am wondering if this exists in German as well?

Anyways I love it, such an evocative phrase.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:30 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


I dunno, I was always partial to some of the ones I picked up in high school French.

French: faire du lèche-vitrines
Approx: go window-shopping
English: go window-licking

French: avoir le cul bordé de nouilles
Approx: to be very lucky
English: to have an ass full of noodles
posted by Mayor West at 5:37 AM on July 22 [5 favorites]


Polish: Ty chuju niedomyty!
English: You dirty prick!
Literal: You inadequately washed prick!
posted by disconnect at 5:50 AM on July 22


Hebrew: kos ruakh laMET.

English: too little. Too late.

Literal: Cupping a dead man. Refers to anything similar in futility to cupping a cadaver.
posted by ocschwar at 6:00 AM on July 22


Spanish: sin/mal educado
Meaning: boorish, coarse
Literal: uneducated
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:02 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


That's almost exactly like the Malay 'kurang ajar', both in literal meaning and in actual usage. Does it carry the same sense of grave insult? It's like you're so badly raised/taught/acculturated you're not fit to be in civilisation, for the Malay one.
posted by cendawanita at 6:28 AM on July 22


German: "Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof"
Literally: "I only understand train stations"
English: "I couldn't understand that"
posted by quacks like a duck at 6:45 AM on July 22 [3 favorites]


I admire the Russian phrase, “Tebya ne ebut, ti ne podmakhivai” which is used to mean “Mind your own fucking business.” but is literally “You're not being fucked, so don't wiggle your ass.”.
posted by w0mbat at 6:52 AM on July 22 [22 favorites]


I like the Spanish phrase bailar en Belen, which I am told means “woolgathering.”

“Carlos, are you with us?”

“Hmm? Yes — sorry, everyone. I was dancing in Bethlehem for a minute there.”
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:03 AM on July 22 [2 favorites]


Dutch: "mierenneuker"
English: Somone who is too nit picky, inappropriately detailed oriented.
Literally: "ant fucker"
posted by mmascolino at 7:11 AM on July 22 [8 favorites]


Excuse me, the German expression mentioned above, „einen Koffer stehen lassen“, refers to a particular kind of fart, the kind whose smell lingers in the room long after the farter has departed.

Hence the visual of a left behind suitcase.

It‘s not for any old toot.
posted by Omnomnom at 7:14 AM on July 22 [11 favorites]


Greek: Stamata ti vlakias
Literal: Cease your masturbatory activities
English (UK): Stop f*cking about
posted by Chairboy at 7:20 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


J’ai des fourmis dans les jambes

French for “my leg is asleep”. Literally it means “I have ants in my legs”
posted by Automocar at 7:32 AM on July 22 [3 favorites]


Cuban Spanish: ese le zumba el mango
Literal: this flings the mango
English: used in the same sense as "this really takes the cake"

variation is ese le zumba el aparato ("this flings the apparatus")
posted by jquinby at 7:45 AM on July 22 [3 favorites]


That's almost exactly like the Malay 'kurang ajar', both in literal meaning and in actual usage. Does it carry the same sense of grave insult? It's like you're so badly raised/taught/acculturated you're not fit to be in civilisation, for the Malay one.

In my experience as a second-language Spanish speaker, it's not a grave insult but it is a classist one. It has the connotation both of "your parents should have taught you better than that" and also "you're trashy".
posted by capricorn at 7:49 AM on July 22 [2 favorites]


Ukrainian: "Hай тебе качка копне!"
Literal: "May a duck kick you!"

This is just a general curse.
posted by Kabanos at 8:39 AM on July 22 [9 favorites]


In Indonesian, it's "kurang halus" which translates to "less than polite/well-mannered" because you want to be indirect. You'd never call someone flat out rude, because that would be rude.

In Bali, "pergi ke Bangli" > literally "go to Bangli", ie you're crazy. There is/was a mental hospital there.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:41 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


Italian: in bocca al lupo/crepi (il lupo)
Meaning: break a leg (theatre good luck)/thanks
Literal: into the wolf's mouth/may the wolf die
posted by ellieBOA at 9:01 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


More favourites from Dutch:

"Vooruit met de geit!"
Meaning: Let's go!
Literal: Forward with the goat

"Afgelebberde Boterham"
Meaning: An overly promiscuous person
Literal: A thoroughly licked sandwich

"Optiefen"
Meaning: Go to hell
Literal: Get Typhoid Fever
posted by 256 at 9:09 AM on July 22 [8 favorites]


Austrian German has the very versatile word „Schas“ which means fart, probably related to the High German „Scheiß“ which means shit.

Anyway, Schas is used in a number of contexts:
„So ein Schas“ (What fart = oh crap)

„ Schas im Wald“ (it‘s a fart in the woods = not worth mentioning, will blow over soon)

„Herumrennen wie ein Schas im Nylonsackl“ (Running about like a fart in a plastic bag = running about doing stuff hectically and annoying the speaker)

Abschasln (etymologically derived from the French „chasse“, to hunt or chase, nowadays more like „to fart off the other person“ = bullshit someone and put obstacles in his way until he leaves. As in „Lass Dich nicht von der Versicherung abschasln“ = don‘t let the insurance company fart you off.)
posted by Omnomnom at 9:19 AM on July 22 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure if this is doing the rounds in English, or a translation, but if anyone knows the origins? I'd like to know:

"I'm not saying he's nuts, but the squirrels are sending out search parties"
posted by cstross at 9:20 AM on July 22 [2 favorites]


I like the Spanish phrase bailar en Belen, which I am told means “woolgathering.”

Here we use "estar en los cerros de Úbeda" ("to be in the hills of Úbeda") for the same thing. And "Estar entre Pinto y Valdemoro" ("to be between Pinto and Valdemoro", two towns to the south of Madrid) means to be unable to make a decision.
posted by sukeban at 9:47 AM on July 22


> "Afgelebberde Boterham"
Meaning: An overly promiscuous person
Literal: A thoroughly licked sandwich


ugh. this reminds me of the "chewed bubblegum" analogy used in misogynist abstinence education programs1 in the united states.

1: a somewhat repetitive description, because they're all misogynist.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:51 AM on July 22 [3 favorites]


There's a lot of this and more in a previous thread.
posted by hanov3r at 10:09 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


cstross: "I'm not saying he's nuts, but the squirrels are sending out search parties"

Most likely originated in English; I've never heard of any other language that uses the word 'nuts' to mean 'crazy'.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:12 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


My mom - who is Dutch (actually Friesland) has one. I don't know the original spelling, but the actual translation is: "It matters not to the farmer whether the shit came from the bull or the cow"; basically just saying that it doesn't matter where the problem originated, it just needs to be dealt with.
posted by nubs at 10:13 AM on July 22 [4 favorites]


My absolute favorite one in any language I know:

Hindi: chullu bhar paani mei doob mar
Meaning: For shame!
Literal: Drown yourself in a cupped palmful of water.
posted by MiraK at 10:16 AM on July 22 [5 favorites]


So glad to see this, as I was going to ask - the phrase I heard was "the cow is on the ice" and/or "we have to get the cow off the ice", and I am wondering if this exists in German as well?

apparently there's "die Kuh vom Eis holen".

My favorite cow-based idiom (and I bet there are many across all countries) is "dastehen wie die Kuh vorm neuen Tor" (literally: "to stand like the cow in front of a new gate" - used when someone's looking puzzled or unable to cope with a situation).
posted by bigendian at 11:00 AM on July 22 [2 favorites]


Canadian English: You can want in one hand and shit in the other.
English English: You can't have what you want.

(The full phrase is actually, "You can want in one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills up first", but no one ever bothers with the second half anymore.
posted by dobbs at 11:09 AM on July 22 [2 favorites]


Interesting dobbs, I've usually heard it as "wish in one hand, shit in the other"
posted by nubs at 11:18 AM on July 22 [4 favorites]


Canadian English: You can want in one hand and shit in the other.

Definitely have heard that in the American South. "Want in one hand and shit in the other. Now tell me which one weighs more."
posted by jquinby at 11:19 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


Here's some more in Dutch:

Van achteren kijk je een koe in de kont.
Meaning: Afterwards, it's easy to analyse something that's happened.
Literally: From behind, you can look a cow in the ass.

Dat kun je op je buik schrijven.
Meaning: Forget about it, it's not going to happen.
Literally: You can write that on your belly.

Met de gebakken peren zitten
Meaning: To be stuck with an unpleasant outcome
Literally: To sit with the baked pears

Haar op de tanden hebben
Meaning: To be verbally assertive
Literally: To have hair on ones teeth
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:21 AM on July 22 [3 favorites]


The Hindi expression "Kabab mein haddi" is used to call someone a third wheel. The literal translation is calling someone a "bone in a kebab."

And theres one in Tamil where I cant remember the exact phrase, but it's so wonderfully descriptive. The English equivalent is a backhanded compliment. The literal translation is "slipping a needle in a banana."
posted by scruffy-looking nerfherder at 11:35 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


A few popular sayings in Mexico:

Me la pase metiendo sillas y sacando bancos
Meaning: Spent all day on busy work but accomplished nothing
Literally: I spent all day bringing in chairs and taking out stools

Ya sali de ese maiz podrido!
Meaning: I am done with that dreaded task
Literally: I'm done with that spoiled corn

!Aqui si truenan mis chicharrones!
Meaning: I cannot control other areas but here, I rule!
Literally: Here my pork rinds are crunchy!
posted by 10thmuse at 12:26 PM on July 22 [19 favorites]


HERE MY PORK RINDS ARE CRUNCHY
posted by Omnomnom at 12:40 PM on July 22 [17 favorites]


a while back i was at a party where an acquaintance from bulgaria regaled us with traditional bulgarian idioms. i can't remember them exactly, but recall one being something like "the goat is in the lemon tree now!"

mostly i'm posting this in the hopes that someone from bulgaria tells me whether i'm remembering the goat thing right, and/or whether my bulgarian friend was just trolling us.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:41 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


Oh man. My Portuguese colleagues have shared a phrase about “well you can take your little horse out in the rain!” to mean “that is never going to happen.”

There has been some discussion among them if it’s “you can” or “you can’t” and what exactly the phrase means.

I think it’s hilarious and encourage this discussion whenever possible.
posted by sio42 at 12:57 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


¡Hurra dormir! ¡Aqui si truenan mis chicharrones!
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:32 PM on July 22 [6 favorites]


Speaking of fart-based sayings:

Mandarin: 放屁 (fàng pì)
Meaning: nonsense/bullshit
Literal: to fart
posted by rather be jorting at 2:12 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


Yiddish: tuchus oyfn tish
Meaning: We need to talk seriously
Literal: ass on the table
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:38 PM on July 22 [4 favorites]


Danish: den der gemmer til natten gemmer til katten.
Literal: who saves for the night saves for the cat.
Meaning: if you try and save your food for later I will eat it.
posted by Dysk at 4:19 PM on July 22 [3 favorites]


Two Cuban phrases:
Kikiribú Mandinga.
Meaning: To kick the bucket.

Tirarse con la guagua andando.
Literal: Getting off while the bus is moving.
Meaning: To act rashly.
posted by abakua at 7:08 PM on July 22


'The French saying "Je m'en fou."
Meaning: I don't care, or better said, I don't give a fuck.
Literal: I fuck myself about that.
posted by megatherium at 7:13 PM on July 22 [2 favorites]


Filipino: Bahala na si Batman
Meaning: It's in the hands of fate/whatever happens happens/I have no control over the upcoming events
Literal: It's all up to Batman now
posted by Rush-That-Speaks at 8:53 PM on July 22 [17 favorites]


Ukrainian: "Hай тебе качка копне!"
Literal: "May a duck kick you!"


I wonder how many of the sorts of twee/absurd insults of this form originate as minced curses; i.e., bowdlerisations of sacrilegious sayings (perhaps “may God/the Devil strike you” or similar), with words replaced with homophones.
posted by acb at 2:41 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]


Spanish: Sobremesa - the time after lunch or dinner you spend talking with the people you shared the meal with.
Literally - dessert
posted by Homer42 at 6:59 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]


Swedish: Även solen har fläckar
Meaning: Nobody's perfect
Literal: Even the sun has spots

I am not remotely Swedish and don't speak a word of it otherwise. I love the rhythm of the words in this saying.
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:03 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]


I'm a Polish native speaker and had never heard the monkey/circus phrase until a friend from the Chicago area dropped it. I find its pedigree dubious.

Polish: Syf
Meaning: Dirty, unkept
Literal: Syphilis

Polish: Lata mi to koło chuja
Meaning: I don't care about it
Literal: It's flying around my dick
posted by jedrek at 12:31 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


So many in Chinese...
One is 把死马当活马医 -- to make a last-ditch, Hail Mary attempt. Literally: give treatment to a dead horse as if it were still alive.
posted by of strange foe at 12:39 PM on July 23 [1 favorite]


HERE MY PORK RINDS ARE CRUNCHY

Excellent news! Forward with the goat, then!
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:51 PM on July 23 [1 favorite]


I wonder how many of the sorts of twee/absurd insults of this form originate as minced curses; i.e., bowdlerisations of sacrilegious sayings (perhaps “may God/the Devil strike you” or similar), with words replaced with homophones.

This reminds me — I was going to do an AskMe and will likely still do so, but this thread might have some people who can answer: Can anyone supply me with examples of wordplay in ASL or other signed languages? It seems using homophones or near-homophones for puns and minced oaths in widespread in spoken languages but it has never occurred to me to use a similar sign to make a pun in my rudimentary ASL.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:00 PM on July 23


Mandarin: 洋鬼子
Meaning : White person (offensive)
Literal: Western Sea Devil
posted by w0mbat at 4:55 PM on July 23 [3 favorites]


HERE MY PORK RINDS ARE CRUNCHY

Oh, the goat's in the lemon tree now.
posted by w0mbat at 4:56 PM on July 23


HERE MY PORK RINDS ARE CRUNCHY

Sounds like something one would say in a hovercraft full of eels.
posted by Kabanos at 5:38 PM on July 23


HERE MY PORK RINDS ARE CRUNCHY

Oh, the goat's in the lemon tree now.


This flings the mango.
posted by jquinby at 5:46 PM on July 23 [3 favorites]


Literal: Western Sea Devil
This turn of phrase pleases my Third Doctor loving self greatly. By happy coincidence and with reference to the FPP title, he presumably pooped in his blue cupboard too (strictly offscreen, canonicity uncertain).

Only non-English swearing that comes to mind is a song by Nailbomb, but the purported translation on Urban Dictionary lacks sufficient poetry to bother repeating here. My cursing game needs work! Loving everyones examples so far though.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 5:58 PM on July 23


An Indonesian one:

Expression: Jam karet
Meaning: A comment on the way specified times are merely a vague suggestion. The kind of thing you‘d say when a concert is scheduled for 8 pm but starts half an hour later and nobody bats an eyelid.
Literally: Rubber time

Which dovetails interestingly with the German expression

Akademische Viertelstunde
Meaning: „This person/event has a different definition of punctuality“. Hails directly from the practice of universities to specify that a lecture starts at , say, 10 am in order to communicate that it actually begins at 10.15 am. Lectures that actually start on time are very rare and are required to be labeled as „STARTS ON TIME!“. Thus „Akademische Viertelstunde“ outside of the context is a snorted comment on the imperfect adherence to specified times. What you‘d say when people are 10-20 minutes late because 10 minutes are practically on time amirite. They‘re going by academic times not normal people times.
Literally: The academic quarter of an hour
posted by Omnomnom at 1:35 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Spanish: Sobremesa - the time after lunch or dinner you spend talking with the people you shared the meal with.
Literally - dessert


Even more literally, on/over the table.
posted by acb at 6:56 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Yeah, dessert in Spanish is "postre".

Some more colorful expressions:

"A buenas horas, mangas verdes"
Lit: "Right on time, Greensleeves"
Meaning: "You came way after you could be of any help, you idiot"
The Santa Hermandad was a kind of Renaissance era constabulary who wore green uniforms and were notorious for arriving too late to crime scenes, hence the saying.

"No saber hacer la O con un canuto"
Lit: "Not knowing how to write the letter O with a tube"
Meaning: Can't find their way out of a wet paper bag

"Ir por lana y salir trasquilado"
Lit: "Going for wool and coming back sheared"
Meaning: getting more than you bargained for, hoisted by your own petard

"No es moco de pavo"
Lit: "It's not turkey snot"
Meaning: It's not unconsiderable
posted by sukeban at 2:29 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


« Older Bialystok, Poland has their first ever Pride...   |   Do Good Recklessly Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments