Buscarle tres pies/patas al gato.

elpregunto

Senior Member
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
 
  • Hebe-asteriod

    Senior Member
    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
     

    elpregunto

    Senior Member
    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.
     

    gotitadeleche

    Senior Member
    U.S.A. English
    Ufff... Ese sitio de modismos.... Probablemente no sea buena idea ir a esta pagina, las frases que he leido son muy... raras... Si usas esa expresiones en Estados Unidos... Personas se van a reir... Pero solo algunas, hay ciertas frases que tienen sentido, pero la mayor parte son extranas...

    Which ones were strange? I took a quick look--only at one page--and it seemed fine to me.
     

    Perceptor

    New Member
    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.
     

    Lagartija

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Ufff... Ese sitio de modismos.... Probablemente no sea buena idea ir a esta pagina, las frases que he leido son muy... raras... Si usas esa expresiones en Estados Unidos... Personas se van a reir... Pero solo algunas, hay ciertas frases que tienen sentido, pero la mayor parte son extranas...

    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?
     

    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.
     

    Nenita75

    Member
    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... :)
     

    ptak30

    Senior Member
    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... :)

    The English expression is "flogging a dead horse".
     

    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.
     

    duvija

    Senior Member
    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...
     

    k-in-sc

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    Cat anatomy apparently is the same in Chile:
    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 none.
     

    duvija

    Senior Member
    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:
     

    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
    "
     

    Oldy Nuts

    Senior Member
    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.
     

    Foraneo

    Senior Member
    Español Argentina (tierra adentro)
    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.

    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)
     
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    Mr.Dent

    Senior Member
    English - all over the USA
    why doesn't she stop searching three legs to the cat
    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
     

    nomadejado

    New Member
    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).
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    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.
    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.
     
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    Amapolas

    Senior Member
    Castellano rioplatense
    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
    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.
     

    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)
     

    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
     

    lauranazario

    Moderatrix
    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
     

    duvija

    Senior Member
    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)
     

    gengo

    Senior Member
    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.
     

    duvija

    Senior Member
    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.
     

    Rodal

    Banned
    Castellano (Chile)
    Hello. The best translation for this spanish modism "Buscarle tres pies al gato " would be "To split hairs"

    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.
     
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    catrina

    Senior Member
    Spanish, Mexico
    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.
    :cool:
     

    Wandering JJ

    Senior Member
    British English
    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.
    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.
     

    Amapolas

    Senior Member
    Castellano rioplatense
    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.
    Oh, I see. Thanks for explaining.
     
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