a word to the wise

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by grubble, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. grubble

    grubble Senior Member

    South of England, UK
    British English

    Although the phrase 'a word to the wise' is given in the dictionary, it is not clear how it is used.

    Here is an example
    "Hello John, I see you are having problems with changing that tyre. A word to the wise; it helps to loosen the wheel-nuts while the tyre is still on the ground.

    The phrase is sometimes used when you wish to correct someone without patronising or offending them.

    Is there an equivalent in Spanish?

    My try: una palabra al sabio. :(
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 27, 2014
  2. laurii Member

    Se podría traducir como ''unas palabras para el sabio'' ó ''unas palabritas para el sabio'.'

    Sin embargo aquí en España no se diría. Utilizaríamos alguna frase como:
    Para tu información. Pues para que lo sepas.

    Aunque no tienen el mismo significado que 'a word to the wise'. Pero es la traducción para mí más se asemeja.

    Importante, estas expresiones se utilizan sin importar la persona con la que estés hablando.

    Espero haberte sido de ayuda.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 27, 2014
  3. cbrena

    cbrena Senior Member

    Madrid (Spain)
    Dicen que...
  4. aldonzalorenzo

    aldonzalorenzo Senior Member

    castellano de España
    Jeje, ¡qué quisquillosos sois! :).
    A mí tampoco me suena una expresión equivalente. Tal vez diríamos: "No tengo mucha idea, pero por si te sirve..."
  5. grubble

    grubble Senior Member

    South of England, UK
    British English
    Yes. Occasionally it is useful especially with someone who is sensitive to criticism. :)
  6. capitas

    capitas Senior Member

    Castellón, Spain
    Con un sentido parecido, en el sentido de que le dices lo que tiene que hacer sin que parezca que le dices que lo está haciendo mal:
    "Un consejo de amigo: ayuda aflojar las tuercas antes de levantar el coche".
  7. khawkey Senior Member

    USA English
    The full saying is: "A word to the wise is sufficient".

    This is a saying used basically to tell someone what to do with actually saying to "do it". That is, you say something or give an example as a general statement/warning concerning a situation. As a footnote to whatever you have just said, you would then add: "A word to the wise is sufficient." What you are really saying is: "If you are smart, you will realize that what I am saying applies to you and that you need to follow my advice."

    For example, rather than tell my students "Don't cheat", I could tell a short story about a student who was caught cheating and thus failed the exam, or was kicked out of school etc. Then, I would simply say: "A word to the wise is sufficient."

    Quite frankly, the majority of modern day youth would probably have NO IDEA what this saying meant as the use of proverbs and sayings have fallen out of widespread, general usage. At least, such has been my experience with students today. Of course, it would depend upon the "general" culture of a specific person according to their background etc.

    In French, we say "A bon entendeur, salut!", and I HAVE heard/seen a Spanish equivalent, but I can't remember it.
  8. khawkey Senior Member

    USA English
    This is the one to which I was referring.
    I just found it! Al buen entendedor pocas palabras.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2011
  9. Kcris

    Kcris Senior Member

    SBK, Santiasko
    Chilean Spanish
    I don't know, don't know. It might be kind of offending to a sensitive someone too. I'd rather go for something like Te lo dice un ferretero in a joking and sufficient mood as closing comment.
  10. khawkey Senior Member

    USA English
    We are talking about translating or equivalencies, neither of which have to do with the sensitivity of the person to whom one is talking.

    The reality of the "A word to the wise is sufficient" saying is that in some way the person who uses it is taking somewhat of a superior stance, i.e. that person is saying: I know this to be true, and if you are smart too, then you will do as I say/follow my advice. Conversely, you are implying that if they do not, then they are NOT very smart. That's just the reality of the saying. Whether or not one decides to say it to someone, is another question, and not relevant to the actual meaning of the saying.

    I am not familiar with the saying which you quote so I can't say if it is an equivalent or not. Where and how have you heard it used?
  11. Be1garath Member

    Valencia, España
    España - castellano
    Solo para matizar un poco la frase. Sería "a buen entendedor pocas palabras bastan". Un saludo. :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 27, 2014
  12. rouseta New Member

    Olivenza, Spain
    Spanish - Spain
    I think a good translation for "a word to the wise" could be: "Aviso para navegantes" ;)
  13. pachanga7 Senior Member

    Southeastern U.S.
    U.S. English
    Hm, interesting. I wouldn't have thought that "A word to the wise" could be taken as criticism, beyond the fact that one is actually giving advice.

    The fundamental meaning of the full expression "A word to the wise is sufficient" is that, when someone is wise, you don't have to explain very much to them. Just one word is enough for them to understand your meaning. So if you refer to this expression while giving advice, in a way, you are paying the person a compliment by calling them "wise".

    Since "word to the wise" is a shortened phrase, designed primarily to stimulate a humorous reaction, or to reduce the sting of having someone else tell you what to do, the translation could be different from that of the full expression.

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