All dialects: blow back on us


Senior Member
Hi, I'm looking for an Arabic equivalent of the expression:
  • it can (will/might) blow back on us.
Or some equivalent like in the following examples:
  • He will throw it back at us.
  • It could blow up in our face in a big way.
  • It will collapse on our heads.
I have even come across:
  • His death never lands at our feet.
In French, it is the common expression:
  • Ça va me retomber dessus.
  • Ça pourrait me retomber dessus.
And: ça me retombe toujours dessus. (it always blow back on me).

A bit more vulgar: ça me retombe toujours sur la gueule.

How would you say that in Arabic. I'm particulary interested in the MSA and Syrian equivalent, but any input is welcomed. Please provide transliteration as well. Thank you.

edit: it is a French idiomatic expression, but you should get the meaning with the equivalent in English. You say it when you are doing something wrong, or when you are about to trick someone, or to make a big joke/prank and you fear the consequences.
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  • punditree

    New Member
    Arabic - Gulf
    The lack of responses on this otherwise active forum show the hesitation in giving an answer. I don't know about Syrian or MSA, but in Iraq and the Gulf one could say:

    1. iṭīḥ ʻala rāsik (falls on your head)
    2. iṭīḥ fi čibdik (falls in/into/onto your liver)
    3. iṭīḥ fi weyhi (falls in my face)
    4. tiddebbes-fī (you get stuck with it)
    5. trūḥ fi-dāhya (go into chaos)
    6. iguṭṭa/yirmī fi-weyihna (he throws it in our face)
    7. yiṣfaʻna bī (he slaps us with it)
    8. yiṣfaga fi-weyhik (he'll slap it on your face, slap you with it)


    1. The first one is the closest, word for word, everyone will understand what you mean from the context "Every time I do something nice, it falls on my head" but this expression is not very idiomatic or is a low-frequency one. This particular translation gives the sense of high but immediate impact (embarrassment or immediate problem) but something that doesn't linger. It's more of a slap in the face than serious long-term consequences. (But it isn't a slap in the face, it's an actual immediate problem that needs solving.)

    2. This one is more idiomatic. People use this, but unlike the first one, it lacks the sense of immediacy. It's more of "you'll get stuck with this problem until you solve it." Less of a an immediate shock, more of a long term problem. The "fall" gives it some immediacy that 4 lacks.

    3. "Falls in my face" - this is another kind of something like (every time you do something nice) "you get hit in the face" basically. I changed the person from 2nd to 1st. For some reason it doesn't work when talking about 2nd and 3rd person. It has the sense of complaining, so it's hard to complain on behalf of someone else.

    4. I'm not sure where this is from, but this has zero immediacy and more of a long-term consequence. Very Gulf, so not recommending it.

    5. This one is a good translation of blow up in a big way. It doesn't have any sense of time (doesn't feel immediate, gradual, eventual or long-term), but this one is the one with maximum intensity. You can't really use it for "ça me retombe toujours sur la gueule" because this is a big deal. It's "going to disaster" (disaster has been watered down in English) - it's something catastrophic, so it can't recur often.

    6. This only works in some very specific contexts, when the thing has just been mentioned or when saying something like "he won't forget it, he'll just keep holding it in and then (when the moment comes) throw it in our faces."

    7. Also works, but in very narrow contexts. He will hit us back using the very same thing we used. "He'll hit us back with it"

    8. Very colloquial and very regional. I don't recommend at all this for MSA/Syria. It's just food for thought or a jumping off point for other dialect speakers to see if they have something similar.


    Senior Member
    English - Australian
    There's the idiom السحر انقلب على الساحر. However -and hopefully someone else can confirm- I've got a feeling this would only be used when the "magic" is something bad or devious along the lines of what you suggested in your edit (e.g. "His meddling backfired").

    Otherwise, I sometimes see أدّى إلى نتائج عكسية, though it's obviously not an idiom.

    His death never lands at our feet.
    I would have no idea what this meant.:p

    Edit: transliterations:
    as-siHr inqalaba 3alaa al-saHir
    addaa ilaa nataa2ij 3aksiyya
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    New Member
    Arabic - Gulf
    The magic idiom is more of "the player got played" than anything. Think "he fell into his own trap" or "the scammer got scammed." It's not necessarily magic, but it's not really blowback as in the French examples. The French examples can be used to say "whenever I try to do something good..." and negative consequences of good or risky actions, whereas here, the actions are not good, risky or even neutral, but have the sense of bad (curse, bad spell) - and the response is somewhat karmic.

    It's a great expression, but I would class it with idioms il-ḥarāmi inbāg/insarag (the thief got robbed).


    Senior Member
    I would have no idea what this meant.:p
    His death never lands at our feet.
    is supposed to mean "sa mort ne doit jamais nous retomber dessus" in French. At least, that's how they subtitled this sentence in a movie.
    It was two guys, who were burying a man that they killed. One says to the other "sa mort ne doit jamais nous retomber dessus" meaning that they must keep the secret so nobody knows that they killed him thus they are never condemn for this crime.

    @punditree thank you very much for all these explanations!

    I have found some MSA translation on the internet, but I'm not sure about their reliability, can someone confirm?
    1. كنت أعلم بأن هذا سيرتد عليَّ بالضرر
    2. سيرتد ذلك علينا
    3. الا تظن بأن الأمر قد يؤدي اليك؟
    4. قصة المربية هل ستنفجر في وجوهنا؟
    5. يوما ما، سيحصلون على ما يريدون
    1. kunt 2a3lam bi2an haaða sayartad 3alayya bi-l-Durar (I knew that this was going to fall on my head)
    2. sayartad ðalika 3alayna (it will fall on our heads)
    3. ila taZunu bi2an al-amri qad yu2adi l-yuk? (don't you think it will fall on our heads?)
    4. qaSa l-murabiyati hal satanfajir fii ujuuhuna? (adultery, will it fall on our heads?)
    5. yuuma ma, saya7Suluuna 3ala ma yuriiduun (it will fall on their heads, someday)
    I'm not sure about the transliteration by the way, feel free to correct any mistake.


    New Member
    Arabic - Gulf
    I've never heard 4 before. It's literally explode/blow on our faces. It could be something that subtitlers have started when translating films. It's obviously a calque from American English and not a regional expression brought into the high register.

    A better version of 4 would be: satanfajir al-mas2ala 3alayna - "the case will blow up on us"

    "في وجوهنا" makes it a little too literal, as in the situation will literally explode in our faces. The word "explode" is way stronger than "blow up."

    I'm not saying it can't be used, maybe it is being used already, but it's very strong for a situation of an affair with a babysitter. Maybe if it were a dead babysitter...

    The 3 translation is just "Didn't you think it could lead back to you"

    5 is just "one day they'll get what they want." There's no negative connotation here - risk, revenge, karma, harm.
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