Buscarle tres pies/patas al gato.

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by elpregunto, May 14, 2008.

  1. elpregunto

    elpregunto Senior Member

    Nr. Bath
    UK english
    Buenas tardes

    Would someone please translate the phrase 'Buscarle los tres patas al gato' and give me a similar phrase in English?

    Mi intento:

    He looks for three feet on the cat.

    Gracias
     
  2. Hebe-asteriod

    Hebe-asteriod Senior Member

    Caracas- Venezuela
    Venezuela -Spanish
    If you just wish to translate the words (literal translation) your proposal is probably an option; but if you want to translate the meaning of the phrase I suggest something like "to be looking for trouble". There is probably an idiomatic English expression conveying the same meaning; but it does not come to mind right now,

    Hope it helps
     
  3. Aserolf

    Aserolf Senior Member

    Español - México
  4. Dlyons

    Dlyons Senior Member

    Dublin
    English - Ireland
    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=22852
     
  5. JB

    JB Senior Member

    Santa Monica, CA, EEUU
    English (AE)
    Last edited: May 14, 2008
  6. elpregunto

    elpregunto Senior Member

    Nr. Bath
    UK english
    Gracias

    It all makes sense now.

    This phrase is saying ' Don't look for trouble where there is none.'

    But 'three feet on a cat' I would never have figured at out.

    Thankyou.
     
  7. gotitadeleche Senior Member

    Texas, U.S.A.
    U.S.A. English
    Which ones were strange? I took a quick look--only at one page--and it seemed fine to me.
     
  8. bluepolaris

    bluepolaris Senior Member

    Corunna, Spain
    Spanish-Spain
    Hello. The best translation for this spanish modism "Buscarle tres pies al gato " would be "To split hairs"
     
  9. elpregunto

    elpregunto Senior Member

    Nr. Bath
    UK english

    Gracias

    I like this one. It fits the context perfectly.
     
  10. Perceptor New Member

    Chile
    Spanish
    In Chile the original sentence in spanish has no sense. In Chile we say "buscarle la quinta pata al gato", where "pata" is the generic name for the extremities.
    In this context, the sentence has no meaning, because any cat has "cuatro patas".

    Anyway, I agree with the previous posts, you are looking for problems where there is no one.
     
  11. Lagartija

    Lagartija Senior Member

    Western Massachusetts
    English, USA
    Actually, the majority of the phrases I read from this link were quite standard. Most I have heard often and used at one time or another!

    Maybe it's an age thing? :confused: Or geography?
     
  12. kalamazoo Senior Member

    US, English
    Most of those expressions are quite familar to me also. But I have noticed that my 20-something children don't seem to understand some expressions that I think are perfectly common and obvious, so there may be some generational aspect here. Certainly something like "cows coming home" or "dog in the manger" seem like perfectly ordinary and easy to understand expressions to me. I should check to see if my daughter understands them.
     
  13. Nenita75

    Nenita75 Member

    Washington
    United States, Spanish & English
    Hola....

    I read the above English phrases, am in my early thirties and have heard all of them....all make sense to me on this side of the Pacific.

    I want to know how this phrase is being used...In what context are you using it because it can mean different things depending on the situation.

    If a person is "buscandole tres pies al gato", problems where there are none or when a matter is finished than, he/she may be "beating a dead horse". Or if this person is involving himself/herself in a matter where he/she wasn't originally involved then he/she may be "Sticking their nose where it doesn't belong".

    Sort of like "curiosity killed the cat"...
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Just my opinion and I do not claim to be correct... :)
     
  14. mauma84 Senior Member

    Perú - Español
    El gato no tiene pies, sino patas ;)
     
  15. roanheads Senior Member

    Scotland, english
    Creo que " to split hairs " más bien traduce " rizar el rizo " o " hilar fino "

    Saludos.
     
  16. ptak30

    ptak30 Senior Member

    The English expression is "flogging a dead horse".
     
  17. kalamazoo Senior Member

    US, English
    WE also say "Let sleeping dogs lie" which means "dont stir up trouble when it's not necessary" but this is a fixed expression, so you have to be careful. You can say "I told him to let sleeping dogs lie' or 'he refused to let sleeping dogs lie" but you can't change the phrase itself.
     
  18. duvija

    duvija Senior Member

    Chicago
    Spanish - Uruguay
    ¿Por qué le cambiaron la cantidad de patas a ese pobre gato? por mi pueblo es 'buscarle la quinta pata al gato'. Con tres, se cae...
     
  19. k-in-sc

    k-in-sc Senior Member

    Cat anatomy apparently is the same in Chile:
     
  20. scotu Senior Member

    Paradise: LaX.Nay.Mex.
    Chicago English
    I agree. Five feet makes sense, three does not....which is correct?
     
  21. duvija

    duvija Senior Member

    Chicago
    Spanish - Uruguay
    I checked with Uncle Google. All of them appear, with many millions each. Tres pies/tres patas/cinco pies/cinco patas. Really confusing...:mad:
     
  22. mvfgrant New Member

    Spanish - Peru
    I find this site a bit late xD
    I'm a native Spanish speaker, I reach this site because I was trying to go backwards, how to said this phrase in english xD
    the main story is that the main subject of the phrase is fighting desperately to prove that his statement is true, with all means... there are emotions that obfuscate clear thinking , like hate, envy, greed, etc. so the objective of the phrase is make fun of the main subject, that has these tendentious feelings , indicating that his search is an absurd, and he should get free of these feelings that obscure his mind

    Example: " Carol doesn't want to approve and continue arguing that Katy's' work could be improved , why doesn't she stop searching three legs to the cat and admit that Katy work is already done and that she (Carol) isn't the only person who could give a perfect work... she is so conceited
    "
     
  23. Oldy Nuts

    Oldy Nuts Senior Member

    Santiago, Chile
    Spanish - Chile
    In Chile, buscar las cinco patas al gato or buscar la quinta pata al gato (fifth leg that the cat does not and cannot have) have been always used to denote a person desperately looking to prove that his/her statement/position is right, in spite of all evidence against it. Buscar las tres patas del gato sounds absurd to us.
     
  24. jsvillar Senior Member

    Madrid
    Spanish - Spain
    Eso es correcto, pero en España la expresión es con pies, no con patas.
     
  25. Foraneo

    Foraneo Senior Member

    Español Argentina (tierra adentro)
    The same here. It is also said when someone is looking for excuses dismissing something. For example, a teacher who does not approve a project that is apparently well, but he shows himself very demanding.

    And of course… the saying here is “le está buscando la quinta pata al gato” (neither tres nor piernas)
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
  26. Mr.Dent

    Mr.Dent Senior Member

    English American
    A literal translation makes no sense at all in English. You could say:
    why doesn't she stop hairsplitting
    why doesn't she stop looking for things that don't exist
    why doesn't she stop being such a nitpicker
     
  27. nomadejado

    nomadejado New Member

    Andalucía
    ANDALUSIAN
    It has nothing to do with the anatomy of the animal but with feet rhymes. Hence, "pie" (not "pata") and three (because it constains two: ga-to).
     
  28. Oldy Nuts

    Oldy Nuts Senior Member

    Santiago, Chile
    Spanish - Chile
    Sorry, but I don't understand your reasoning. Why not explain it in Spanish?
     
  29. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    "Make a mountain out of a molehill"?
     
  30. Oldy Nuts

    Oldy Nuts Senior Member

    Santiago, Chile
    Spanish - Chile
    Well, I don't think that this popular idiom reflects the idea that I explained in my message #23, and Forero reinforced in his message #25.
     
  31. Foraneo

    Foraneo Senior Member

    Español Argentina (tierra adentro)
    Yo tampoco entiendo. ¿Dónde está la rima?

    "Buscarle tres pies al gato " :confused:
     
  32. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    True - but it does agree with posts 3 and 10. Perhaps there's no point in my making a suggestion when Spanish speakers quite clearly differ over the meaning. Or perhaps we're in difficulty because the thread starter didn't supply any context.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
  33. nomadejado

    nomadejado New Member

    Andalucía
    ANDALUSIAN
    No es rima. Son pies rítmicos. Cada sílaba equivale a un pie.
     
  34. Oldy Nuts

    Oldy Nuts Senior Member

    Santiago, Chile
    Spanish - Chile
    Perdona mi ignorancia, pero me dejas igual.
     
  35. Foraneo

    Foraneo Senior Member

    Español Argentina (tierra adentro)
    JA! Yo igual. Entiendo lo que dices sobre las sílabas, pero igual no veo la relación que tiene con un refrán.

    Me parece que no solamente el océano nos separa :rolleyes:
     
  36. Wandering JJ

    Wandering JJ Senior Member

    England
    British English
    :tick: Agreed!
     
  37. Amapolas

    Amapolas Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Castellano rioplatense
    To me, this is exactly the meaning of the phrase (which on these shores is la quinta pata).
    Please correct me if I'm wrong, JJ. As I see it, there's a shade of difference, as I could say 'buscarle la quinta pata al gato' (or buscar el pelo en la sopa) from the very beginning of the discussion. However,flogging a dead horse is (to me) to continue to argue when it's a lost cause or you know you'll get nowhere. I'd say it's closer to having a Byzantine discussion.
     
  38. nomadejado

    nomadejado New Member

    Andalucía
    ANDALUSIAN
    Pie (métrica) - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

    Ga- sílaba 1
    To- silába 2

    No existe la tercera sílaba-pie. No hay tercer pie-pata del "gato. Es un juego de palabras.
     
  39. Foraneo

    Foraneo Senior Member

    Español Argentina (tierra adentro)
    Está bien Nomadejado, tienes razón. Solo que es para entendidos y no para tipos simples como yo (si miras mi ‘firma’ en mis datos comprenderás mejor lo que digo)
     
  40. catrina

    catrina Senior Member

    Spanish, Mexico
    Por acá también es 'buscarle tres pies al gato', como en el Quijote, así es que la diferencia de uso entre tres pies o cinco patas parece algo regional.

    De todas formas el hilo original es buscar el equivalente en inglés, ¿cuál quedó? gracias
     
  41. lauranazario

    lauranazario Moderatrix

    Puerto Rico
    Español puertorriqueño & US English
    En Puerto Rico: buscarle las cinco patas al gato.

    Buscarle las cinco patas/los tres pies al gato = to complicate matters

    Saludos,
    LN
     
  42. duvija

    duvija Senior Member

    Chicago
    Spanish - Uruguay
    ¡Pero quieren la versión en inglés! (irrelevante la cantidad de patas en los gatos de habla hispana: los que dicen 'miau' y no 'meow'. También está : no buscarle pelos al huevo. Y también es irrelevante para la pregunta)
     
  43. lauranazario

    lauranazario Moderatrix

    Puerto Rico
    Español puertorriqueño & US English
    He brindado una traducción/equivalencia... mira mi post #41.

    Saludos,
    LN
     
  44. gengo

    gengo Senior Member

    San Francisco
    American English
    My friend has a polydactyl cat with eight toes on each front paw, each of which looks like two paws, so I guess that uno le podría buscar las seis patas a ese gato. :D

    By the way, I named his cat Faux Paw.
     
  45. duvija

    duvija Senior Member

    Chicago
    Spanish - Uruguay
    Yo estaba buscando algún dicho ('idiom') con ese significado y no algo como una traducción. No sé si se pedía algo coloquial o más serio que las patas de nuestros gatos.
     
  46. Rodal

    Rodal Senior Member

    Seattle WA
    Castellano (Chile)
    La frase idiomática que conozco yo es: "no le busques las 3 o 4 patas al gato (en Chile son 4 patas en lugar de 3).

    Quiere decir: no complicarse la vida con las cosas simples; no es necesario buscarle las patas a un gato cuando sabemos que tiene 4; entonces a las personas que se empeñan en complicarse la vida se les dice, "deja de buscarle las 3 patas al gato", en otras palabras, porque pierdes tu tiempo.

    En inglés: Don't drown in a glass of water. This expression also exists in Spanish: No te ahogues en un vaso de agua.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
  47. catrina

    catrina Senior Member

    Spanish, Mexico
    :cool:
     
  48. Janis Joplin

    Janis Joplin Senior Member

    El refrán original es:

    "No le busques tres pies al ga-to,
    sabiendo que tiene cua-tro."

    Ahí esta la rima y es independiente de cuantas patas tenga.
     
  49. Wandering JJ

    Wandering JJ Senior Member

    England
    British English
    Amapolas, you are not wrong! I should not have written 'agreed' without looking at the whole thread. In #13 Nenita spoke of 'beating a dead horse' to which ptak30 said in #16 'The English expression is "flogging a dead horse".' I took this as a correction of the English expression, not a translation of 'buscarle los tres patas al gato'.

    I believe the best interpretation to be nitpick/nitpicking.
     
  50. Amapolas

    Amapolas Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Castellano rioplatense
    Oh, I see. Thanks for explaining.
     

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