Buscarle tres pies/patas al gato.

  • gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    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,

    In AmEn, it is "beating," so it might be better to say that the British expression is with flogging, since we use English, too. :)
     

    Digital Linguist

    New Member
    English
    I don't know much about generational gaps in knowledge of idiomatic expressions (especially in the Spanish language), but I did run portions of these phrases through Google's Ngram and found the results rather interesting. Google's Ngram only allows you to search for phrases of four words or less, but assuming there are few phrases that begin with "buscarle la quinta pata" or "buscarle tres pies" it gives you something to go on and might explain why one version may be more familiar to some than to others. If anyone knows why "buscarle la quinta pata" seems to have emerged in the 1960s, I'd love to hear your theories. The link to the Google Ngram search I did is here.
     

    Digital Linguist

    New Member
    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.
    I don't know much about generational gaps in knowledge of idiomatic expressions (especially in the Spanish language), but I did run portions of these phrases through Google's Ngram and found the results rather interesting. Google's Ngram only allows you to search for phrases of four words or less, but assuming there are few phrases that begin with "buscarle la quinta pata" or "buscarle tres pies" it gives you something to go on and might explain why one version may be more familiar to some than to others. If anyone knows why "buscarle la quinta pata" seems to have emerged in the 1960s, I'd love to hear your theories. The link to the Google Ngram search I did is here. A similar search I conducted is here. As you can see, the results for both sets of phrases is roughly the same.
     
    Top