June 09, 2005

Lost in Translation? Dutch Idioms

After the immense success of me translating fitting and pun-like idioms into several casual conversations, it thought it might be time to take this to a higher level. A few examples:

Mandi: I can’t believe why the Warwick Blogs team tells me off for breaching copy right laws, and others just get away with it.
Me: Well, after all, you are the Offbeat dj coordinator. And high trees catch a lot of wind.
Mandi: What does that mean?
Me: Ask them about it, and the monkey will come from the sleeve!

??

High trees catch a lot of wind: important people get more shit for mistakes they make.

There comes the monkey from the sleeve: The truth comes upon the table; reality becomes clear.

Further:
*Even if a monkey wears a gold ring, it is and will be an ugly thing. (Some things are just kitsch even if tons of money is invested in it.)

*Not to let anyone eat the cheese of your bread. (Not to allow others to walk all over you.)

*Carrying water to the sea. (Performing a futile task.)

Feel free to use these expressions as you please. No copyright attached.


- 5 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. I'm sure we have the high trees one – I understood what you meant before the explanation anyway.

    Here's another one that's never been explained to my satisfaction (used by my father's side of the family):

    Me: Well, I'm sorry, I thought that was what you wanted/meant/whatever

    Them: Well, you know what thought did...*

    *No, I don't. No-one will ever tell me.

    09 Jun 2005, 08:15

  2. GJ

    'Followed a muck cart and thought it was a wedding' was how I was always told that ended…

    09 Jun 2005, 08:53

  3. I remember my mother saying somthing about a Dutch idiom to do with a sheep with 5 legs. Can't remember exactly what, though.

    09 Jun 2005, 09:09

  4. I looked it up for you. A sheep with five legs is a rarity/rare talent everyone is looking for.

    Related idioms:
    If one sheep walks over the dam, more will follow. (Sheep being conformist, chicken people, and you'll get this idiom.)
    Being the black sheep. (Being the easy one to blame.)
    To have one's sheep on the dry. (To have your affairs well-organised.)

    09 Jun 2005, 11:13

  5. Richie

    this page comes up 5th if you type dutch idiom into google
    have a good christmas man

    08 Dec 2005, 13:39


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