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Thread: Don't go chasing windmills

  1. #1
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    Don't go chasing windmills

    In English, there is this expression that refers to Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote which warns someone to "not give into delusions of grandeur". What is a good way to say this in Arabic? I do not know if Cervantes' literary work is that influential in this regard...

    thanks

  2. #2
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    Re: Don't go chasing windmills

    Hello-

    The expression “chasing windmills” is an example of a mixed metaphor and is not really correct.

    The 2 mixed expressions are:

    “Chasing rainbows” = going after or seeking something nearly impossible to obtain.

    “He quit his job and abandoned his family. Then he took off for Hollywood hoping to become a movie star. But he’s just chasing rainbows.”

    “tilting at windmills” =
    fighting imaginary enemies or confronting imaginary problems. (origin: Don Quixote).

    “That country spends 50% of its GNP on armaments fearing an invasion by one of its neighbors. But it’s basically just tilting at windmills.”

    makandés66 most likely meant "chasing rainbows" but I am unable to provide an Arabic equivalent.
    Ama Sua, Ama Llulla, Ama Qhella

  3. #3
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    Re: Don't go chasing windmills

    Yes, Tracer, you are correct...

    Jousting at windmills would be a variation to your "tilting" and "chasing rainbows" appears as "chasing shooting stars" sometimes. It is this latter one that I would like to translate into Arabic...

  4. #4
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    Re: Don't go chasing windmills

    Hi,

    I'm not sure I understood very well, but "chasing windmills", or more precisely "fighting windmills" is a common figure used in MSA يحارب طواحين الهواء , but it's not related to "grandeur" in any way, it's more about futile battles or imaginary enemies.
    خيرُ الكلامِ ما قلَّ ودَلّ

  5. #5
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    Re: Don't go chasing windmills

    Quote Originally Posted by cherine View Post
    Hi,

    I'm not sure I understood very well, but "chasing windmills", or more precisely "fighting windmills" is a common figure used in MSA يحارب طواحين الهواء , but it's not related to "grandeur" in any way, it's more about futile battles or imaginary enemies.

    Ok thanks Cherine,

    I guess I think of the expression "delusions of grandeur" when I think of Don Quijote. If one goes "fighting, tilting, or jousting windmills" it does not require grandeur but surely some delusion is present.

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