Aunque la mona se vista de ceda (seda), mona se queda

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by lamariposa321, Feb 17, 2007.

  1. lamariposa321 New Member

    New York
    United States, English

    Could someone please help me to understand the saying:

    Aunque la mona se vista de ceda, mona se queda.
  2. Pey Senior Member

    Rosario - Argentina
    Argentina (spanish)
    Its Seda.

    Here is my try:

    Even though a not very handsome (or beatiful for women) person dresses nicely (with silk... to make a literal comparisson so that you understand), he is still not handsome. (I dont like using ugly for people, is too agressive for me, but thats the idea)

    Meaning, despite all the effort the person does, he/she still remains being the same. There are millions of contexts though.
  3. Southropia Senior Member

    No matter if you wear nice dress but without class...there are no magic
  4. Pey Senior Member

    Rosario - Argentina
    Argentina (spanish)
    No matter if you wear a nice dress, without class...there is no magic.

    I would use "Even When" in your case.

    It works too :)
  5. faranji Senior Member

    Bahia (Brasil)
  6. apuquipa Senior Member

    orilla del Río de la Plata
    spanish, south america
  7. robjh22 Senior Member

    U.S.A. & English
    I think the best translation is:

    "mules in horse harness" but you never hear that anymore.

    What's wrong with "you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear."
  8. outkast Senior Member

    English, USA
    Not a thing rob. It hits it right on the head.
  9. ruru2006 Senior Member

    New York City
    Farangi and apuquipa's links are very very enlightening and educational.

    Thanks both
  10. ghoti

    ghoti Senior Member

    English USA
    I agree. Outstanding, both! :thumbsup:

    This forum is truly amazing!
  11. Mr. Bear Senior Member

    San Bernardino, CA

    Although this is an old question, I just now came across it. Here's another equivalent saying in English:

    You can't put lipstick on a pig.

    It means that someone or something remains what it is, even you dress it up nicely.
  12. lamariposa321 New Member

    New York
    United States, English
    oh ok. That makes perfect sense. Thank you so much!!!!
  13. Billdo New Member

    This is what I found on another translation site. It says the saying originally came from the Caribbean. Original writer was Casimiro/Kashmir on Permalink site:

    I always hated this saying. in spanish. mona se viste de seda mona se queda. it was a racist statement from time back at the turn of slavery in the caribbean. or even furture back when house slaves for la corona portuguesa y espanola wore fine clothing. some female slaves were look on as beautiful by their masters but the wives or women of class or nobleza always wanted to re-affirm that they were still slaves no matter what they wore. common word for a slave woman was negra/ prieta or MONA. sad actually. a little history lesson.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2009
  14. Billdo New Member

    Here's another one from National Society for Hispanic Professionals, by Veronica Dowdy:

    Even if the monkey dresses in silk, it is still a monkey.
    My grandmother used to use this saying when trying to tell me that no matter how well someone looks, their character will always tell you who they are.
  15. Abhi_shek New Member

    Calcutta, India
    Its the Spanish equivalent of 'A leopard can't change its spots or A zebra can't change its stripes' :)
  16. sbjkd New Member

    Mexican Spanish and UK English
    I saw your very old question. Literally, it means "No dress can make an ugly woman beautiful". It can also

    mean that "being naked can make an ugly woman beautiful". I am Mexican, but I live in Australia; the

    Australians say, in such a case, "Who looks at the mantel when they are stoking the fire". In other words, who

    looks at a woman's face when you are having sex with them."

    I do not like these things. I am only answering your question.
    Saludos, Estevan
  17. sbjkd New Member

    Mexican Spanish and UK English
    PEY. If you are Mexican, I am sure that you know that the word can be "Ceda" or "Seda" due to the word being anglicised and dialectic differences-including indigenous influence.

    If you are from a South American country, or from Spain, then you are correct.
  18. aurilla Senior Member

    Puerto Rico
    Am Eng/PR Spanish
    You probably could, but it wouldn't make any difference, because it would still behave like a pig.

    "La mona aunque se vista de seda, mona se queda" means you can put a dress on a monkey, but it won't make it a lady, because it will continue to be a monkey."
  19. monkeybusiness New Member

    Spanish - Spain
    This answer is coming directly from a Spaniard:

    "Aunque la mona se vista de seda, mona se queda."

    Literally translated: "Although the monkey may dress herself in silk, a monkey she remains." (It rhymes in Spanish, that's why it is phrased that way.)

    A more natural sounding English phrasing: "A monkey dressed in silk is still a monkey."

    Closest existing English phrases:

    "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear."

    "You can dress him up, but you can't take him out."

    Meaning of all of these phrases: You can't make something into something that it is not.
  20. Translostlation

    Translostlation Senior Member

    The way I've heard it said is Aunque la mona se vista de seda, mona es y mona se queda.
    One interpretation may be "Clothes don't make the man"

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