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More than one way to skin a cat

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by Teerex51, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. Teerex51

    Teerex51 Senior Member

    Milan, Italy
    Italian
    A few weeks back, when I used the idiom "there's more than one way to skin a cat" (to mean there are always several ways of correctly translating something ), someone asked me by PM not to use that expression again because it was (and I quote) politically incorrect.:eek: I kid you not. The fact that Mr Mark Twain himself used it did not help any.

    Me being the peace-loving person that I am, I'm now looking to phase-out that expression (while asking all of you to also refrain from using the unusually cruel idioms "tagliare la testa al toro" or "vendere la pelle dell'orso" and suchlike) and to find a new one that won't hurt anyone's sensitivities (and cats).

    I'm looking for an English equivalent, not an Italian translation (for which there already is an inconclusive thread). Please submit your suggestions here.

    PS: This is a serious matter, so please stop snickering. :rolleyes:
     
  2. Necsus

    Necsus Senior Member

    Formello (Rome)
    Italian (Italy)
  3. Teerex51

    Teerex51 Senior Member

    Milan, Italy
    Italian
  4. swansea12 Senior Member

    english british
    Where there is a will there is a way...:)
     
  5. Necsus

    Necsus Senior Member

    Formello (Rome)
    Italian (Italy)
    Va bene, ma sempre in quel thread devi aggiungere il tuo post. Che io sappia non dovrebbero esistere due thread con lo stesso titolo e sullo stesso argomento.
     
  6. delenda1

    delenda1 Senior Member

    Italy
    English - US
    :-|
    In this animal-friendly and politically correct website, I found the following alternatives offered:
    There's more than one way to bake a cake
    There's more than one way to brew green tea.


    Otherwise, you could always go for the super tame: "variety is the spice of life"

    I'll keep looking, but it ain't goin' so good.
     
  7. Teerex51

    Teerex51 Senior Member

    Milan, Italy
    Italian
    I gladly defer to the Mod's decision.

    Uh...kinda lame. But they'll have to do, I guess.
     
  8. TimLA

    TimLA Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English - US
    Well, in terms of grammar, there are many ways to skin a dog...or a cat...or an elephant.

    A second way to skin a cat is "There are variety of ways to handle this".
    Another way to flay a feline is "Konstit on monet, sanoi eukko kun kissalla pöytää pyyhki.", but unfortunately that is in Finnish.
    Another method for removing the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous fat from Felis catus is "There are many ways to skin a catfish".
    Another method to peel the covering off of an animal that has staff is "This is more than one road to Rome".
    Following on that, removing the largest organ of the body from a pussy can also be stated by "There's more than one string on my bow".
    Another way to surgically remove weight from a tabby is "I have more than one arrow in my quiver".

    And, oh my goodness! There's even a Facebook page entitle "Stop animal cruelty in idioms".

    I have many weaknesses, but my greatest is that I never know now to respond to the preposterous.:)
    Because I always try to learn something in Italian I'll try with:
    Ho molte debolezze, ma la mia debolezza più grande è il fatto che non so mai come (devo) rispondere a qualcosa assurdo.
    (????)
     
  9. delenda1

    delenda1 Senior Member

    Italy
    English - US
    Tim, I'm saving this one. Brilliant piece of writing.
    Brilliant.
    Tell me you have a blog or something.
     
  10. TimLA

    TimLA Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English - US
    :D
    Yep, my blog is www.wordreference.com - "Italian/English".
     
  11. joanvillafane Senior Member

    U.S., New Jersey
    U.S. English
    can't top that, but if we're being careful, we'd have to also retire "killing two birds with one stone"
    (I'm sure someone has written a blog on that, somewhere.)
     
  12. Blackman

    Blackman Senior Member

    Island of Sardinia, Italy
    Italiano/Sardo
    Questa mi piace molto, Tim. Te la aggiusto un po', come la direi io....

    Tra le mie molte debolezze, la più grande è non saper mai come replicare a un'assurdità.

    Many ways to skin a cat, for this one too.
     
  13. TimLA

    TimLA Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English - US
    Ti ringrazio molto!:):thumbsup:

    Le parte in blu sono particolarmente interessante!
     
  14. Teerex51

    Teerex51 Senior Member

    Milan, Italy
    Italian
    Tim, allow me to correct your Finnish. There's an ä too many.

    That not-so-minor detail having been addressed, I'm pleased to say you and Delenda have shown me the error of my ways and given me plenty of opportunities to atone for my earlier wrongs. I can now truthfully say my cat-skinning days are over.

    Joan, you're absolutely right. Can we perhaps bribe two birds with one Euro? That oughta work.
     
  15. Iraiem

    Iraiem Senior Member

    Friuli
    italian
    Forse, con tutti gli esempi forniti, riuscirai finalmente ad abbandonare le tue cattive abitudini Teerex; in ogni caso, l'impegno che dovrai profondere in ciò, costituisce senz'altro una brutta gatta da pelare...buona fortuna....
     
  16. Teerex51

    Teerex51 Senior Member

    Milan, Italy
    Italian
    Thank you, kind sir.

    Which brings us back to a long-lost false friend.

    Gatta da pelare is synonymous with a tough nut to crack, and has nothing in common with the title of this thread, apart from the hideous treatment of a feline, which we now deplore in the strongest terms.

    Mind you, cracking nuts, too, is not for the faint-hearted. Could we settle for squeezing teabags or something?
     
  17. elemika Senior Member

    Moscow
    Russian
    I wonder if there is a way to make up a phrase which sounds close to the original one?
    Something like "More than one way ...to spin a head...to pin a hat...to tin a can.."

    Maybe I'm off topic :eek: ;
    a nice example from the scientific paper:
    " There's More Than One Way to Scan a CAT" (CAT -computed axial tomography" )
    Depends on your context, it could be like a kind of wordplay...
     
  18. GavinW Senior Member

    Italy
    British English
    I doubt it; I think you're flogging a dead horse on that one. Oh, by the way, no (live) horses were actually hurt in the utterance of that idiom...
     
  19. Teerex51

    Teerex51 Senior Member

    Milan, Italy
    Italian
    Excellent Elemika! We should look for animal-friendly euphemisms instead of new idioms.

    1. More than one way to scan a CAT.
    2. To bill two birds for one scone.
    3. Flogging a dead Norse.
    4. Raining mats and logs

    Er...now we may be slightly OT :eek:
     
  20. joanvillafane Senior Member

    U.S., New Jersey
    U.S. English
    You'll be hearing from the Norse Anti-Defamation League soon.
     
  21. CPA Senior Member

    Rome
    British English/Italian biling
    Thanks to you all. Made my day. :D
     
  22. swansea12 Senior Member

    english british
    To say " there is more than one way to skin a cat" is perfectly acceptable use of my native language.It is in common use.It is not seen as offensive except by a few lunatic fringe sorts so if you are a foreigner learning English know it is proper to use this expression even though I would never want to skin a poor little mog.:)
     
  23. Teerex51

    Teerex51 Senior Member

    Milan, Italy
    Italian
    My thoughts entirely! :)
    We got carried away trailblazing new expressions, as it were, but the fact remains that this idiom -- and many more animal-based ones -- are deeply rooted in English and need not be retired because of a few raving loonies.
     
  24. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    Spain
    English, UK
    OK then, let's go over to Plan B. (An entirely sanitized expression, you must agree).
    i.e. adopt an alternative strategy for dealing with the problem. (Sorry it's not amusing - I enjoyed this thread).:D
    Btw, we Brits talk about having another string to our bow, not arrows in our quiver, but that is about versatility, not adaptability in problem-solving. I trust that neither idiom would offend Native Americans.
    Possibly, If the mountain will not come to Mohamet, Mohamet must go to the mountain might be another possibility, but its PCness is dubious.
     
  25. cyberpedant

    cyberpedant Senior Member

    North Adams, MA
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    And for those who write (unsucessfully) for the theatre:

    "There's more than one way to can a skit."
     
  26. Teerex51

    Teerex51 Senior Member

    Milan, Italy
    Italian
    I agree. I'd hate to trigger off a Jihad when all we really wanted was to pay lip service to animal activists' requests. ;)

    This can be safely added to our new-age dictionary of idioms. :thumbsup:
     

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