to break someone's spirit

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by mariposita, May 12, 2006.

  1. mariposita

    mariposita Senior Member

    madrid
    US, English
    I'm stumped by this one... the only word that occurs to me is madurar, but that doesn't capture the meaning in English at all. How would you translate "get one's spirit broken"?


    Children can be very rebellious until they get their spirits broken.


    The idea is that children have a certain amount of genio, which they (mostly) lose through the process of socialization--but that this is not an entirely positive thing. It's not unlike the idea of breaking a horse, so that it can be ridden and controlled. Here's another example that I found online:

    In terrifying the children with the introduction of eternal damnation, the nuns sought to break their spirits.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. Louanna007

    Louanna007 Senior Member

    English United States
    does it need to be a literal translation?
     
  3. Ceci_Isa Senior Member

    Castellano
    ¿"to break someone's spirit" sería lo mismo que "demoralize (desmoralizar)"?

    demoralize, demoralise
    lower someone's spirits; make downhearted; "These news depressed her"; "The bad state of her child's health demoralizes her"

    También se me ocurre "desalentar".
     
  4. Txiri

    Txiri Senior Member

    USA English
    Breaking someone´s spirit, I really understand this as a permanent form of damage to a personality.

    Horses can be broken in, but I don´t think any kind of trainers of animals EVER try to break an animal´s spirit.
     
  5. mariposita

    mariposita Senior Member

    madrid
    US, English
    Louanna007--
    No, I doesn't have to be literal at all... A (Spanish) friend and I discussed this at length and we couldn't come up with a suitable equivalent in Spanish...

    Ceci Isa--
    It's not the same as desmoralizar, because it is more permanent. Once your spirit is broken by an authority or group of people, you lose a bit of your independence and autonomy. Here's a slightly different example:

    The prisoner wouldn't cooperate with the questioners, so they broke his spirit down, bit by bit, until he finally told them what they wanted to know.
     
  6. Ceci_Isa Senior Member

    Castellano
    "Amedrentar" is my last try :D , though that verb has to do with fear.
     
  7. mariposita

    mariposita Senior Member

    madrid
    US, English
    You know, it is more like quitar el ánimo...
     
  8. COLsass

    COLsass Senior Member

    and what about

    "domar"--can you tame children? ;)
     
  9. Ceci_Isa Senior Member

    Castellano
    En ese caso podría ser "sojuzgarlos","someterlos" o "subyugarlos".
     
  10. mariposita

    mariposita Senior Member

    madrid
    US, English
    Great suggestions--you are all so much better than a thesaurus--thanks to all. To me, someterlos comes the closest--though it lacks the metaphorical quality.

    I certainly haven't managed to domesticate my child fully... but then again, I'm not willing to break his spirit to do so... When I lived in the US, I remember reading about "baby whisperers" who made housecalls and somehow convinced wild little children to sleep through the night.
     
  11. Fannila Junior Member

    Peru Spanish USA
    This may be too late to help you, but how about "ponerlos en linea".
    En lo que respecta al contexto con las monjas y los chicos.
     
  12. julian_lp Senior Member

    La plata Argentina
    Spanish - Argentina
    Apaciguarlos
    "Ponerlos en vereda" (used in Argentina)
    "Tenerlos cortitos" (used in Argentina)
    Disciplinarlos
    Calmarlos
    Aquietarlos
    Templarles el espíritu
    Moderarlos
    ---
    ---
    ...
     
  13. Feldan

    Feldan Senior Member

    Lima, Peru
    Español Peru
    After doing some research, I think the better suitable words in spanish would have to be:

    Coaccionar:
    1. f. Fuerza o violencia que se hace a alguien para obligarlo a que diga o ejecute algo.

    o

    Arredrar:
    2. tr. Retraer, hacer volver atrás, por el peligro que ofrece o el temor que infunde la ejecución de algo. U. t. c. prnl.
    3. tr. Amedrentar, atemorizar. U. t. c. prnl.

    Children can be very rebellious until they get their spirits broken.
    "Los niños pueden ser muy rebeldes hasta que sus espíritus son arredrados." (In this case "arredrar" is more suitable than "coaccionar")

    The prisoner wouldn't cooperate with the questioners, so they broke his spirit down, bit by bit, until he finally told them what they wanted to know.
    "Como el prisionero no cooperaba con el interrogatorio, ellos lo coaccionaron, poco a poco, hasta que finalmente él les dijo lo que quisieron saber."
     
  14. COLsass

    COLsass Senior Member

     

Share This Page