blow off someone/something

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merquiades

Senior Member
English (USA Northeast)
I use the expression blow off quite frequently. It is hard to find an exact equivalent with the same feeling in many languages. The sense of this expression can take on many different nuances depending on the context. In general there is an idea of surprising or rude behavior and the failure of a person to do what is expected of him or what most people believe is appropriate.
I suppose the original idea is you are blowing a person or situation away from you, as if wind could be purifying and liberating, and what's more you don't care either. This of course is assuming that there is any link at all between blowing off and the meaning it has taken on.
Here are some examples. I hope they are clear enough.

1) John said that Jane totally blew him off last night. They had agreed to meet at 8 pm to go to the movies but she didn't come.
Not meet someone because you found something better to do or arbitrarily decided not to go. The emphasis is on the lack of respect.
2) I don't know what Jane's problem is. Since our disagreement with the boss last month she has been blowing me off. She doesn't give me the time of day.
To ignore someone completely and especially to act as if his/her opinions, ideas, or actions do not matter in the slightest.
3) The students blew off their math class yesterday. The patients blew off their doctor's appointment.
For whatever reason, to feel it is not worth the time or effort to go to some scheduled activity and also not inform beforehand of this absence.
4) John has been blowing off Randy and Ashley all week because he knows they have a major favor to ask of him and he doesn't want to have anything to do with it or them. Avoiding a person so as to prevent an unwelcome or embarrassing situation from occurring.
5) Did you get the job you applied for? No, they blew me off. I called them quite a few times and sent emails, but I never got any response.
To reject someone despite interest or enthusiasm.
6) The food is excellent in that restaurant but the service is terrible. The waitress blew me off and it took me an hour to place an order.
Not to pay attention to someone

On this page, there are many other good examples of blowing someone or something off.

How would you express this in your language(s). Is it related to blowing away or completely different?
 
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  • TheCrociato91

    Senior Member
    Italian - Northern Italy
    Hello.

    How would you express this in your language(s). Is it related to blowing away or completely different?
    I'm afraid there are no references to blowing (soffiare) in Italian, at least as far as I know. Here's a brief list of possible translations (there are surely more):

    1) dare buca, tirare un pacco, paccare (slang), tirare un bidone, bidonare (slang)
    2) snobbare, ignorare, non cagare (vulgar, informal), malcagare (vulgar, slang)
    3) bruciare, marinare, bigiare, fare sega (all regional)
    4) same as 2)
    5) respingere, scartare; segare, trombare (the last two are regional, slang and possibly ambiguous)
    6) same as 2)





    By the way, not strictly on topic, but I remember once being told by a native speaker of English that I should be careful when using "blow off" (which I used to use a lot) to mean ignore or stand someone up because the first meaning that would come to people's mind was a sexual connotation, and thus it was possibly unsafe to say, for example: "I can't believe my girlfriend just blew me off".
     
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    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    Hello.
    I'm afraid there are no references to blowing (soffiare) in Italian, at least as far as I know. Here's a brief list of possible translations (there are surely more):

    1) dare buca, tirare un pacco, paccare (slang), tirare un bidone, bidonare (slang)
    2) snobbare, ignorare, non cagare (vulgar, informal), malcagare (vulgar, slang)
    3) bruciare, marinare, bigiare, fare sega (all regional)
    4) same as 2)
    5) respingere, scartare; segare, trombare (the last two are regional, slang and possibly ambiguous)
    6) same as 2)
    Lots of Italian equivalents. I'll try to remember them. So paccare is literally to pack up, segare is to saw something and bruciare is to burn?

    By the way, not strictly on topic, but I remember once being told by a native speaker of English that I should be careful when using "blow off" (which I used to use a lot) to mean ignore or stand someone up because the first meaning that would come to people's mind was a sexual connotation, and thus it was possibly unsafe to say, for example: "I can't believe my girlfriend just blew me off".
    For it to have that meaning for me, we'd have to leave off the "off". But I can think of more common and colorful ways to express that idea.
     

    TheCrociato91

    Senior Member
    Italian - Northern Italy
    So paccare is literally to pack up, segare is to saw something and bruciare is to burn?
    You got it.

    Beware: apparently in Rome "paccare" means to make out with someone / engage in heavy petting with someone, so it's another regional and potentially ambiguous term.

    For it to have that meaning for me, we'd have to leave off the "off". But I can think there are more common and colorful ways to say it.
    Interesting. Thank you.
     

    Stoggler

    Senior Member
    UK English
    You have to be careful about how you phrase things in modern British English, for the very reason TheCrociato gives here:

    By the way, not strictly on topic, but I remember once being told by a native speaker of English that I should be careful when using "blow off" (which I used to use a lot) to mean ignore or stand someone up because the first meaning that would come to people's mind was a sexual connotation, and thus it was possibly unsafe to say, for example: "I can't believe my girlfriend just blew me off".
    So unless the context is VERY clear, it’s best avoided when a man is mentioning a lover/wife/boyfriend/husband/girlfriend/some lass bumped into in the alley behind the pub... :D
     
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    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    You got it.

    Beware: apparently in Rome "paccare" means to make out with someone / engage in heavy petting with someone, so it's another regional and potentially ambiguous term.
    So to try to use some of your vocabulary in my examples
    1) Gianna ha paccato/ ha dato buca a Giovanni ieri sera.
    2) Dopo il disaccordo, non lo caga più/ l'ignora / lo snobba.
    3) Oggi gli studenti hanno bruciato la lezione di matematiche. Il paziente marina il suo appuntamento.
    5) Volvevo lavorare da loro ma m'hanno respinto/ scartato/ segato
    6) Il camariere ci ha snobbati.
    This use works?
    In number 4) could we use riffugire? Ha riffugito i suoi amici tutta la settimana
    I gather bigiare is sweeter than blow off, more like play hooky and only for school.
    Is segare also just for school? The dictionary says to fail an exam.
     
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    TheCrociato91

    Senior Member
    Italian - Northern Italy
    1) Gianna ha paccato/ ha dato buca :tick: a Giovanni ieri sera.
    Like I said, "paccare" is perfectly idiomatic in my area (a bit on the slangy side of things) but might not be in other areas. Instead, "dare buca" is more neutral and widely understood.
    2) Dopo il disaccordo, non lo caga più/ l'ignora / lo snobba. :tick:
    but probably there are better ways to translate "disagreement" (litigio, discussione, diverbio, contrasto)
    3) Oggi gli studenti hanno bruciato :tick: la lezione di matematiche.
    but "matematica" is singular in Italian (just like AmE)
    Il paziente marina :cross:il suo appuntamento.
    My fault. The verbs I suggested in 3) only referred to "blowing off" classes (playing hooky), not other types of appointments (for which only "saltare" comes to mind: "Ha saltato l'appuntamento" = "He skipped the appointment")
    5) Volvevo lavorare da loro ma m'hanno respinto:tick:/ scartato:tick:/ segato
    Not sure about "segato" here, as it's mostly used to mean "being flunked / failed" on an exam.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    Like I said, "paccare" is perfectly idiomatic in my area (a bit on the slangy side of things) but might not be in other areas. Instead, "dare buca" is more neutral and widely understood.

    but probably there are better ways to translate "disagreement" (litigio, discussione, diverbio, contrasto)

    but "matematica" is singular in Italian (just like AmE)

    My fault. The verbs I suggested in 3) only referred to "blowing off" classes (playing hooky), not other types of appointments (for which only "saltare" comes to mind: "Ha saltato l'appuntamento" = "He skipped the appointment")

    Not sure about "segato" here, as it's mostly used to mean "being flunked / failed" on an exam.
    All is crystal clear. Thanks for your explanations. :)
     
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    The MoGr generic (slang) word that fits in all of your examples is «γειώνω» [ʝiˈɔ.nɔ] --> lit. (electrical engineering) to connect ground wire (i.e. to ground an electrical appliance) < MoGr fem. «γείωση» [ˈʝi.ɔ.si], calque for the Eng. earthing < MoGr fem. «γη» [ʝi] --> earth < Classical fem. «γῆ» gê --> earth, soil (from a pre-Indo-European Pre-Greek substrate *gaya, which was contracted to *gā at a very early date).
    «Γείωση» could mean from the unexpected rude behaviour, to the skipping of an appointment or a date.
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    bruciare, marinare, bigiare, fare sega (all regional)
    In my opinion, marinare is standard Italian (somewhat colloquial), not regional. And its 'collocation' is almost exclusively with school or lessons, as Crociato later specified.
    Oggi i ragazzi hanno marinato la scuola is a sentence you might read in any Italian paper.

    In number 4) could we use riffugire? Ha riffugito i suoi amici tutta la settimana
    No, rifuggire (please note the spelling) is a literary word for 'to avoid, to stay away from..', and usually refers to abstract things:
    Egli rifuggiva la malinconia, io rifuggo i compiti troppo gravosi.
    In your example, I'd use the way more common evitare: Ha evitato i suoi amici per tutta la settimana.
     

    TheCrociato91

    Senior Member
    Italian - Northern Italy
    TheCrociato91 said:
    bruciare, marinare, bigiare, fare sega (all regional)
    In my opinion, marinare is standard Italian (somewhat colloquial), not regional.
    You're probably right. Among my suggestions, I personally only use "bruciare" (I might also use other forms, such as "saltare" o "balzare", the latter being slang-ish / non-standard, as far as I know), so I wasn't sure about the other options.

    "Marinare" comes across to me as somewhat old-fashioned (but it's probably because of my tender age :p).

    "Bigiare" and "fare sega" are not used around here, at least among my peers (I think they would both be understood, but especially "fare sega" could give rise to some ambiguity, or in any case it would not be perceived as natural / idiomatic) but I've heard them in Italian movies / TV shows and also from youngsters from other parts of Italy.

    In number 4) could we use riffugire? Ha riffugito i suoi amici tutta la settimana
    I gather bigiare is sweeter than blow off, more like play hooky and only for school.
    Is segare also just for school? The dictionary says to fail an exam.
    Sorry, I missed those. However, I feel that my post in #7 and @bearded's in #10 have answered your questions.
     
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    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    In Catalan, none of the equivalents is related to blowing (even if bufar 'to blow' itself has its share of meanings and idioms too). They'd rather be:

    1) deixar plantat (or penjat) 'leave sb planted/hung', fer el salt 'jump on sb' [The latter is used mostly for cheating on someone, though]
    John said that Jane totally blew him off last night.​
    El Joan va dir que la Joana l'havia deixat penjat ahir al vespre.

    2) fer el buit 'make emptiness on sb', deixar de banda 'leave sb aside'
    Since our disagreement with the boss last month she has been blowing me off.​
    Des del nostre desacord amb el cap el mes passat que m'ha estat fent el buit.

    3) saltar-se 'jump', fer campana 'make bell' [The latter, particularly at school]
    The students blew off their math class yesterday.​
    Els alumnes van fer campana de mates ahir.
    The patients blew off their doctor's appointment.​
    Els pacients es van saltar la cita amb el metge.

    4) evitar, esquivar, defugir
    John has been blowing off Randy and Ashley all week​
    El Joan ha estat evitant el Randy i l'Ashley tota la setmana.

    5) rebutjar, no agafar 'not take'
    Did you get the job you applied for? No, they blew me off.​
    Vas aconseguir la feina? No, no em van agafar.
    6) no fer cas 'make no case', passar de
    The waitress blew me off and it took me an hour to place an order.​
    La cambrera passava de mi i vaig tardar una hora a demanar.
     
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