Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by Pamela fluente, Jan 30, 2006.
How do you render in English:
"Ma che hai/avete la coda di paglia ?"
Ti interessa la traduzione o sei in cerca di altro?
Nella prima ipotesi:
Do you have a guilty conscience?
Thank you Elisa! I like it.
I am wondering could I be taken seriously when I say that. That is have a reply such as "no I am innocent" ? Or the sentence is always understood as you suggest ?
What you mean "cerca altro", an foreign boyfriend? This could be a good case of applicability of my sentence perhaps (?) Well, who knows. Wanna chat more drop me a PM. The MODS of this f. are very strict and don't allow chat, ...
I'd like to have some more suggestions on this.
Is "to have a guilty conscience" the only way to express it because it seems a bit too strong to me.
"avere la coscienza sporca" is pretty different from "avere la coda di paglia"
the first refer to a very bad behave the second is usually said in more "friendly" situations or for something that was not so terrible.
Any suggestion will be really appreaciated
maybe "avere la coda di paglia" = "feeling (some) remorse" (having regrets about one's misdeeds)
Nice, let's wait for some english speaker to check our guesses
Ho trovato questo significato sul sito di Wikipedia...
Avere la coda di paglia - essere in sospetto di non avere la coscienza tranquilla quindi reagire velocemente a critiche od osservazioni, "prendere velocemente fuoco", come la paglia.
So...it seems to me that to have a guilty conscience or to feel remorseful about something is correct. Comunque...the Wikipedia definition goes on to say that the gulity conscience might lead to one being a little touchy (permaloso/a). Diciamo "spring loaded" (like the position of the hammer of a firearm when ready for firing)...meaning...if one has feelings of guilt...they may quickly jump to defend themselves if/when accused...whether in fact they are guilty of it or not! Therefore...I agree with Nokta Ombro...and it is my humble guess that "avere la coda di paglia" is not as though one has committed a grave/serious offense...but nevertheless feels badly about whatever it was they DID do. (Esempio: eating cookies from the cookie jar just before dinner when you know it is not allowed vs. wrecking your father's automobile!)
Hope this helps.
Could someone help me to find the proper english translation of the italian expression "coda di paglia", please?
Generally we use it with reference to a person who knows that he/she has something to hide and it is constructed with the italian auxiliary verb "avere" (e.g.: Lei ha la coda di paglia / Ma che hai la coda di paglia?).
Thanks very much in advance for your help.
Ciao Jacomina e benvenuta
Il dizionario Oxford-Paravia la traduce con to have a guilty conscience.
Aspettiamo conferme o smentite
Thanks a lot housecameron!
I thought there was something less formal, maybe another idiomatic expression similar to the italian one.. but that's perfect!
This forum is amazing & really helpful, thank you.
Il dizionario Ragazzini conferma! Ma si copiano l'un l'altro?
Grazie anche te Kraus!
Anche Garzanti dice la stessa cosa, ma sono convinto ci sia qualcosa di più idiomatico...
Are you hiding a tell-tale heart?
da una novella famosa di Edgar Allen Poe, The Tell-tale Heart, 1843
Interesting, Ka Mate Ka Ora, could you tell us a bit more about it?
Why a tell-tale heart?
Would this expression be understandable both in the UK and the US?
In italiano, la novella è tradotto come Il Cuore Revelatore. Puoì trovarla in italiano su Google. Edgar Allen Poe (1809-49) era americano ed è uno dei più famosi scrittori negli Stati Uniti, sopratutto per The Tell-tale Heart. No lo so se è ben conosciuto nel UK.
Unfortunately, no longer that well-known in the USA either. Nice alternative though. Here's the Italian wikipedia article.
In effetti, su google neanche un risultato per "are you hiding a tell-tale heart?"...
The plot was used in a segment of the Simpsons.
But now that I think about, the reference may be a little recondite.
Dear Ka Mate Ka Ora,
is very interesting what you found about the "tell-tale heart", I hadn't heard of that Poe's tale before, thank you! So now I hope to find a bit more about the 'connection' between this expression and our "coda di paglia"..
Can anyone explain the origin of this expression?
Coda di paglia = tail of straw
Those with a guilty conscience will often overreact to situations about which they feel guilty -
...the lady doth protest too much methinks...
In that case, they "catch fire" (get angry/respond or react quickly to) in a situation about which they feel guilty...
Thus they have a tail that burns VERY fast, like straw.
That's a great answer--thanks very much.
I'm new in this forum and i'd like to begin telling that you all have been my bible in last two years! ...great job guys!!
...actually i don't know why i didn't register before...maybe cause i'm an idiot
Anyways, i'd like to contribute about this common italian expression now.
i was watching some tv series in english (with italian subtitles, i'm still not so great in understanding mother-tongues ) and it came out!
The "subber" (on which you really can rely ) wrote:
- "Mi stai spiando?"
- "Non avrai mica la coda di paglia??"
but i can't understand what the second guy says...
I made a short mp3 for you but i can't post an external link cause i'm a newbie
I hoped it could be helpful.
how can i do? can i send the link to someone so that he can post it instead of me?
I'm not sure if there's a standard expression for all occasions.
Have you got a guilty conscience? doesn't sound so strong in English as in Italian, so I think it would work in many cases.
Another could be Have you got something to hide?
From what I have read above, I think the best option would be "feeling defensive?" or "a little defensive, aren't we?" This is more idiomatic, and seems to fit the situation. True, we don't have the idiomatic expression in English, but this is what I would use in the situations specified above. My sons are watching Toy Story 2 in Italian, and when Woody accuses Jessie of turning on the tv, he says "abbiamo la coda di paglia eh?" Which I would definitely translate into "a little defensive, aren't we?"
Other possibilities might involve “skeleton in the closet”, "dirty/guilty little secret".
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