ant expenses

סייבר־שד

Senior Member
Spanish - Mexico
In Mexico we often just call them the same as in English: gastos hormiga.

You know, those small / "small" and unnecessary expenses we sometimes make that, when added up, can represent a surprisingly large part of our income, eating it up without us realising it until it's too late and the bucks have already dried up.

Whether it's a box of Oreos, a Netflix subscription, a pack of cigarettes or whatnot, we all know them full well, and how hard it can sometimes be to resist their lure. But I'm curious to know what names they're given, if any, in any other languages.

And yes, your thread about change played no small part in inspiring me to ask this, @elroy...well, it was either that or this whole rotten inflation that ultimately kept me from grabbing some of that junk food they so slyly place at strategic spots at the supermarket...maybe it was both, actually. :D
 
  • סייבר־שד

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Mexico
    I don't if the meaning is exactly the same (you'll tell me), but in French we use the expression "achat d'impulsion" (impulse purchase).
    Well, ant expenses are no doubt of an impulsive nature, but to me achat d'impulsion seems a more general term, one covering a wider range of impulsive purchases, whereas ant expenses rather refers to the impulsive spending of small / "smallish" amounts of money. Of course, I guess that leads us right into the issue of "how small is small?" But I'd say it's mostly (for most of us, anyway) things like the ones I mentioned in my original post, as opposed to, say, a car, a flat, a yacht or one of those space rockets multibillionaires now like to hop into every now and then to show the rest of us how even that doesn't make them any less exploitative idiots...but that's a topic for another thread, eh? ;)
     
    I think we call it «αυθόρμητη αγορά» [af.ˈθo̞r.mi.t̠i.a.ɣo̞.ˈɾa] (both fem.) --> spontaneous purchase (nothinɡ fancier, I'm afraid).

    -The MoGr adjective is «αυθόρμητος, -τη, -το» [af.ˈθo̞r.mi.t̠o̞s̠] (masc.), [af.ˈθo̞r.mi.t̠i] (fem.), [af.ˈθo̞r.mi.t̠o̞] (neut.) --> spontaneous < Classical adj. «αὐθόρμητος, -τος, -τον» autʰórmētŏs (masc. and fem.), autʰórmētŏn (neut.) --> self-impelled, spontaneous, a compound: Pronoun «αὐτός» autós (which becomes the apocopic «αὐθ'» autʰ' before a vowel with spiritus asper) + Classical feminine noun «ὁρμή» hŏrmḗ --> eaɡerness, onrush, onset, appetition, irrational impulse.

    -MoGr fem. «αγορά» [a.ɣo̞.ˈɾa] --> purchase, market, marketplace < Classical fem. «ἀγορά» ăɡŏrā́ --> assembly, market, marketplace.
     

    Ghabi

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    You know, those small / "small" and unnecessary expenses we sometimes make that, when added up, can represent a surprisingly large part of our income, eating it up without us realising it until it's too late and the bucks have already dried up.
    We don't have a term for that in Cantonese, but we use an idiom to express the idea:

    小數怕長計 small-number-fear-long-count="a small amount cannot bear being added up over a long period of time"
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    In Catalan, some media are apparently using a calque from the English expression too:
    despeses formiga

    I hadn't heard it before. It seems to be a quite recent term.

    Then you find always folk wisdom:

    De gota en gota es buida la bota
    Drop by drop the wineskin gets empty.​
     

    jucami

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I've never heard of ant expenses! Glad to know there is a name for this pernicious notion. Is this a BrE expression, or is it yet another hole in my vocabulary?
     

    סייבר־שד

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Mexico
    I've never heard of ant expenses! Glad to know there is a name for this pernicious notion. Is this a BrE expression, or is it yet another hole in my vocabulary?
    Not really sure about that, I'm afraid. Then again, I must admit I only had a vague memory of having come across it once myself; so vague, indeed, that I looked it up on a search engine to see if it actually turned up anything. It did, and the results were more numerous than I expected.
    But maybe it's just one of those terms mostly employed by specialists.
     

    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    I've never heard of ant expenses! Glad to know there is a name for this pernicious notion. Is this a BrE expression, or is it yet another hole in my vocabulary?
    I’ve never heard it before either, I asked a few people around me and they too haven’t heard it.

    However, if you put it in Google you would find a few results in English, perhaps it’s new and hasn’t caught on yet?
     
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