έμεινα ξύλο απελέκητο

Aelialicinia

Senior Member
USA English
Here is the context: Ο Γιώργος μου θα πάει τώρα στο χάι σκουλ να μάθει λίγα γράμματα περισσότερα από μένα που έμεινα ξύλο απελέκητο και παιδεύομαι,

Drop out - NO. The person had no choice
Not the sharpest knife in the drawer - NO. She is very smart so she is not intellectually retarded..

This person did not finish her schooling because of war and poverty...

Can somebody suggest a correct or approximate idiom in English for έμεινα ξύλο απελέκητο

Many thanks



 
  • shawnee

    Senior Member
    English - Australian
    I have never heard "rough hewn" used to describe a person's level of education...but maybe their level of sophistication...that's a great possibility though and thanks!
    It was not proposed as an English equivalent expression but as a translation. If I were to read it in the context of an English translation of a Greek text, I would know exactly what the original was.
    In addition to Brenda's suggestion, I add, dunderhead, blockhead, dunce, "loggerhead", and numbskull.
     

    Aelialicinia

    Senior Member
    USA English
    It was not proposed as an English equivalent expression but as a translation. If I were to read it in the context of an English translation of a Greek text, I would know exactly what the original was.
    In addition to Brenda's suggestion, I add, dunderhead, blockhead, dunce, "loggerhead", and numbskull.

    It was not proposed as an English equivalent expression but as a translation. If I were to read it in the context of an English translation of a Greek text, I would know exactly what the original was.
    In addition to Brenda's suggestion, I add, dunderhead, blockhead, dunce, "loggerhead", and numbskull.
    I asked for an equivalent idiom... not a translation. But your suggestions for dealing with this are fine except for loggerhead which has an entirely different connotation at least in US English. Thanks again.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    A diamond in the rough is what sprang to my mind.

    Since the context is about the schooling these two people had, "a diamond in the rough" would probably be interpreted as referring to that person's unfulfilled potential owing to a lack of formal education.
     

    Αγγελος

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Here is the context: Ο Γιώργος μου θα πάει τώρα στο χάι σκουλ να μάθει λίγα γράμματα περισσότερα από μένα που έμεινα ξύλο απελέκητο και παιδεύομαι,
    There is an old saying, Άνθρωπος αγράμματος, ξύλον απελέκητον = an illiterate man is like an unhewn piece of wood.
    This saying is very well-known, and the expression ξύλο απελέκητο is immediately understood by every Greek (even an illiterate one!) to mean a person lacking formal education, regardless of what caused him to lack it.
    As the speaker is probably not literally illiterate (αναλφάβητος, unable to read, say, a street sign), but just incapable of, say, writing a letter without making awful mistakes, I would probably just say 'uneducated', 'unschooled' or 'barely literate'.
     

    shawnee

    Senior Member
    English - Australian
    There is an old saying, Άνθρωπος αγράμματος, ξύλον απελέκητον = an illiterate man is like an unhewn piece of wood.
    I like your "unhewn peice of wood" best. In context it says it all. It does not have to be a well worn expression. But I'm no translator that's for sure.
     
    Top