blink at someone - she blinked at him

Crisvlc

Senior Member
Spain-Spanish
¿El verbo "blink at somebody" significa que le guiño el ojo a alguien?

Pongo un ejemplo.

-I'm hiding from fate.
-Wow -Peter blinked at him- ¿You're serious?
 
  • kaoruca

    Senior Member
    Español - España
    Hi there, I know that it is a very old thread but I don't think that here "blink at" would mean "guiñar". I think that is "parpadear" in surprise. But is there any Spanish term that would fit its meaning accurately? I would say: "Peter lo miró parpadeando sorprendido" (but it's too long, isn't it?)
     

    Txiri

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Kaoruca makes an excellent point, and having read it, I completely agree. I'm not sure I would have noticed it without Kaoruca.

    There are many commonplace examples of phrases for body language in English--shrug one's shoulders, furrow one's brow, wrinkle one's forehead, set one's jaw-- that we expect to correlate with certain feelings in the observed person. It matches our experience with real life.

    You blink your eyes, period. To keep them moist. You blink back tears, trying to keep others from seeing that you are crying. "Blinking" can metaphorically (more this, I suspect, than the literal meaning) suggest "to falter in one's resolve" in something challenging. "The two men faced off, and the fellow with the mustache blinked." He backed off.

    To wink is ironic or sometimes flirtatious. It suggests there is a second level of meaning to be taken into account. It is "knowing." A knowing look.

    Winking is meant to be communication, and blinking is usually an involuntary reaction.
     

    kaoruca

    Senior Member
    Español - España
    Kaoruca makes an excellent point, and having read it, I completely agree. I'm not sure I would have noticed it without Kaoruca.

    There are many commonplace examples of phrases for body language in English--shrug one's shoulders, furrow one's brow, wrinkle one's forehead, set one's jaw-- that we expect to correlate with certain feelings in the observed person. It matches our experience with real life.

    You blink your eyes, period. To keep them moist. You blink back tears, trying to keep others from seeing that you are crying. "Blinking" can metaphorically (more this, I suspect, than the literal meaning) suggest "to falter in one's resolve" in something challenging. "The two men faced off, and the fellow with the mustache blinked." He backed off.

    To wink is ironic or sometimes flirtatious. It suggests there is a second level of meaning to be taken into account. It is "knowing." A knowing look.

    Winking is meant to be communication, and blinking is usually an involuntary reaction.
    Thanks for your explanation. So could it also mean "vacilar"?

    And when you "blink back tears", you blink in order to not let them fall?? To avoid crying? Because when I have read it, sometimes it is said that the person who has done so keeps from crying afterwards.
     

    Namarne

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Hi there, I know that it is a very old thread but I don't think that here "blink at" would mean "guiñar". I think that is "parpadear" in surprise. But is there any Spanish term that would fit its meaning accurately? I would say: "Peter lo miró parpadeando sorprendido" (but it's too long, isn't it?)
    Quizá podría suprimirse "sorprendido", por la situación ya se entiende que es como si se quedara entre sorprendido e incrédulo: "Peter lo miró, parpadeando", o "pestañeando".
     

    Txiri

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Thanks for your explanation. So could it also mean "vacilar"?

    And when you "blink back tears", you blink in order to not let them fall?? To avoid crying? Because when I have read it, sometimes it is said that the person who has done so keeps from crying afterwards.
    Regarding the meaning of faltering in one's resolve: up until the decision is made, yes, it's vacilando. Then one makes the decision not to, and is then said to have blinked. (I'm sorry! This sounds awkward.) Suppose you have some teenagers playing Russian roulette with a handgun. One of them puts the barrel of the gun up to his temple, but can't pull the trigger. He blinks.

    The boss says, we have to lay some people off, we are not being productive enough, someone has to go. But when it came to naming someone to fire, he blinked.

    This guy goes right up to the edge of a cliff. He's planning to jump off. But when he's at the point where he has to take the last final step, he blinks. He can't take the last step.

    As far as blinking back tears, there are already tears welling up in the person's eyes. Blinking them back means closing the eyes rapidly to try to disperse the liquid, and prevent it from spilling over on to the cheek. Strictly speaking, this person is already crying, even if tears aren't running down his face. Could that have been what you read?
     

    kaoruca

    Senior Member
    Español - España
    Regarding the meaning of faltering in one's resolve: up until the decision is made, yes, it's vacilando. Then one makes the decision not to, and is then said to have blinked. (I'm sorry! This sounds awkward.) Suppose you have some teenagers playing Russian roulette with a handgun. One of them puts the barrel of the gun up to his temple, but can't pull the trigger. He blinks.

    The boss says, we have to lay some people off, we are not being productive enough, someone has to go. But when it came to naming someone to fire, he blinked.

    This guy goes right up to the edge of a cliff. He's planning to jump off. But when he's at the point where he has to take the last final step, he blinks. He can't take the last step.
    Oh, my God!!! I have to change almost all my translations (I translated it as "parpadear" in surprise; I thought it had to do only with surprise and not also with doubt). Well, it's good to know it now, at least. Thanks.

    As far as blinking back tears, there are already tears welling up in the person's eyes. Blinking them back means closing the eyes rapidly to try to disperse the liquid, and prevent it from spilling over on to the cheek. Strictly speaking, this person is already crying, even if tears aren't running down his face. Could that have been what you read?
    But... If you are already crying and you blink your eyes the tears will run down your face. I thought that your eyes were watery and you blink in order to avoid crying, the tears from falling.
     

    Txiri

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Oh, no! Don't do that ... this is what I think I said earlier, is a metaphorical use of "blink." People do blink in surprise all the time. Don't change anything until you look at it again!

    Blinking back tears: if you squeeze (scrunch) your eyelids together, it WILL make the tears run down your face. But if there aren't too many of them, if you blink rapidly one or two times, ... you might be able to control the tears overflowing. --There is actually some physical activity here that is TRUE, and this is actually what is happening. But I could also write the phrase "she blinked back a few tears" to show that my character is trying to dominate her feelings, to hide her tears, to forestall others from commenting on the fact that she is crying. ("Crying" doesn't tell you how extreme the response is; it could be a few tears, it could be wailing and thrashing around.) Is there a big variation with llorar, too? Lloriquear would be snivel. "Snivel" is very obviously just from the letters it's spelled with, not something you want to watch or do. How do you say in Spanish "to blink back tears"?
     

    kaoruca

    Senior Member
    Español - España
    Oh, no! Don't do that ... this is what I think I said earlier, is a metaphorical use of "blink." People do blink in surprise all the time. Don't change anything until you look at it again!

    Blinking back tears: if you squeeze (scrunch) your eyelids together, it WILL make the tears run down your face. But if there aren't too many of them, if you blink rapidly one or two times, ... you might be able to control the tears overflowing. --There is actually some physical activity here that is TRUE, and this is actually what is happening. But I could also write the phrase "she blinked back a few tears" to show that my character is trying to dominate her feelings, to hide her tears, to forestall others from commenting on the fact that she is crying. ("Crying" doesn't tell you how extreme the response is; it could be a few tears, it could be wailing and thrashing around.) Is there a big variation with llorar, too? Lloriquear would be snivel. "Snivel" is very obviously just from the letters it's spelled with, not something you want to watch or do. How do you say in Spanish "to blink back tears"?
    (Yeah, I will check each sentence, but I will also have the other meaning in mind).

    Hahaha, what a good question here!! LOL!!
    I would say that you can "blink back tears" when your eyes are "tearful" or "watery", but not when you're "llorando" (as tears are already falling down). But I don't know how to say it in Spanish. I think that we need to do a phrase or statement to explain it fully. "Parpadear/Pestañear para contener las lágrimas"
     

    Txiri

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Okay. Your explanatory expression works for me. It's really what we are doing in English, too.

    Note: "watery eyes" often suggest the person has an allergy or perhaps an eye infection, has been out in a cold wind, or chopping onions. "Glassy-eyed", maybe on drugs. If you want to hint at tears ... "his eyes shone suspiciously"; ... or "her eyes filled with tears."
     
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