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Quando il gatto non arriva al lardo dice che puzza

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by Ultimo87, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. Ultimo87 New Member

    italian
    Hello everyone, English and Italian !!!

    I'm new to the forum and I need help about this italian idiom : " Quando il gatto non arriva al lardo dice che puzza " or something like that, is there any English idiom that express the same concept ?

    thank you for any help !!!!
     
  2. Tunalagatta Moderator

    Blighty
    English - England
    Ciao and welcome, Ultimo!

    You can say someone is a sore loser, or that someone has sour grapes, but as for a more proverbial phrase, I can't think of one just now...
     
  3. sleepwalker

    sleepwalker Senior Member

    Allora.. direi che è licenza poetica dall'espressione "Tanto va la gatta al lardo che ci lascia lo zampino", che canonicamente è tradotta con "Curiosity killed the cat", ma sto anche pensando a: "You look like The cat that got the cream" che per noi è qualcosa tipo: "sembri il gatto che si è mangiato il topo/canarino..." => hai un'aria soddisfatta, ne hai combinata qualcuna etc.
    Io tento una possibilità: "When the cat don't/can't get the cream he(she?it?) says that it was sour."
     
  4. Alec71 Senior Member

    Turin - Italy
    Italian
    That's the first time I've heard such an unusual ... saying. I do suppose lin Italian you should use something like "la volpe che non arriva all'uva dice che è acerba" (as Tunalagatta said - when the fox can't get the grapes he says they're sour).

    @Sleepwalker: In effetti sembra un insieme di proverbi messi insieme ;)
     
  5. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    Spain
    English, UK
    The expression sour grapes suggested by Tunalagatta is from an Aesop's fable about a fox who tried jumping up in vain for a long time to seize in its mouth a bunch of grapes that were too high for him for him to reach, and finally, giving up his attempt, declared that they were too sour to eat anyway. Just the words "Sour Grapes" seem ideal to express your meaning, though I have often wondered whether foxes ever actually eat grapes.
     
  6. Ultimo87 New Member

    italian
    In effetti non so bene il proverbio in se come recita, mi interessava sapere se in inglese c'era appunto un proverbio che ha lo stesso significato di fondo.
    "la volpe che non arriva all'uva dice che è acerba" mi sembra quello giusto.
     
  7. Tunalagatta Moderator

    Blighty
    English - England
    Thanks Arrius! I didn't know the origin of the expression.

    In fact I've never heard anyone use the complete phrase, so if you want to comment on someone's behaviour, it would be very unusual to say, "When the fox can't reach the grapes he says that they are sour". At least, it's not a "set" phrase in my neck of the woods ; )

    You could say,

    "Looks/sounds like he's got sour grapes"
    "Looks/sounds like a case of sour grapes"
    "Hmm, sour grapes!"
     
  8. sleepwalker

    sleepwalker Senior Member

    Sour grapes! Sour grapes! Ecco cosa non mi veniva in mente!
    Ma "quando il gatto non arriva al lardo dice che puzza" è un'espressione standard? io non l'avevo mai sentita!
     
  9. Alec71 Senior Member

    Turin - Italy
    Italian
    I daresay that I've hardly heard it (in Italian) once or twice in my lifetime :D
    It was just to explain your proposal to Ultimo (having a definite countepart in Italian as well)
     
  10. Tunalagatta Moderator

    Blighty
    English - England
    Ha ha, yes I understood :)
     
  11. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    Spain
    English, UK
    You could say,

    "Looks/sounds like he's got sour grapes"
    "Looks/sounds like a case of sour grapes"
    "Hmm, sour grapes!" Tunala gatta

    I agree with your second and third phrases, but I would not say he's got sour grapes, because the whole point is that he hasn't got anything and is pretending that he didn't want whatever it was anyway, because something was wrong with it.

    By the way, the Greek mythological character, Tantalus, was in a similar situation to the the fox in the fable. As a punishment for offending Zeus he had to stand eternally in a pool of water that receded whenever he tried to drink, and under the branch of a tree whose fruit would rise out of reach whenever he tried to eat it. Hence, the verb tantalize (struzzicare tormentando).
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2011
  12. Alec71 Senior Member

    Turin - Italy
    Italian
    Yes and ... no... As far as I know these situations are quite different and they can be hardly compared together. :(
    The Myth of Tantalus refers to a torture to which the character was subjected by an external... decision. In all the fox thing there's no conviction occuring, but personal (in)capability to deal with situations and a refined art of concealing the failure.
    Had Tantalus said "OK...who gives a damn! 'M not that thirsty and the fruit is still sour for me", he would have probably acted as the fox. ;)
     

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