Discussion in 'All Languages' started by sakvaka, May 17, 2012.

  1. sakvaka

    sakvaka Senior Member

    How do you say elbow (the body part) in your languages? Do you use it in any idiomatic expressions?

    elbow (ell + bow, where an ell is the length of a man's arm from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger)

    At least in British English, give sb the elbow means not wanting to have a relationship with them anymore.
    He elbowed his way through the crowd.


    I can only come up with two expressions.

    käyttää kyynärpäätaktiikkaa = 'use the elbow tactic', push oneself forward in a crowd without showing respect to other people
    tenniskyynärpää = (medical) tennis elbow

    armbåge (arm bow/arch)

    armbåga sig fram = ('to elbow oneself forward', means the same as Finnish 'käyttää kyynärpäätaktiikkaa')
    ha vassa armbågar = 'to have blunt elbows' = to advance in the hierarchy of, say, a corporation, by using questionable and disrespectful ways
    tennisarmbåge = tennis elbow

  2. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek:

    «Αγκώνας» /aŋ'gonas/ (masc.) which is a Classical masculine noun «ἀγκών» (āŋ'gōn)--> bend of the arm, elbow; PIE base *ang-/*ank-, to bend (cf. Gr. ἄγκυρα, anchor; Middle High German anke, joint > Ger. enke; Old English ancleow > Eng. ankle)

    Verb «διαγκωνίζομαι» /ðiaŋgo'nizome/ a Classical verb «διαγκωνίζομαι» (dĭăŋgō'nĭzŏmæ)--> lit. to lean on one's elbow , metaph. to tussle. In Modern Greek, «διαγκωνίζομαι» 9 out of 10 times is used when we describe a rough struggle, so vigorous that we have to use our elbows to clear the path from anyone/anything blocking it

    You are welcome
  3. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Last edited: May 17, 2012
  4. arielipi Senior Member

    Marpek in hebrew,
    idiopm: sam lo marpek - put(past tense) an elbow on him , made him fault an action
  5. Tamar

    Tamar Senior Member

    Israel, Hebrew
    To add something to Arielipi about Hebrew - we can also make a verb out of "marpek" - "lemarpek", or a noun "marpekan" (refering to a person).
    We can also say that someone has "marpekim" - elbows.
    All of these forms have the same meaning - someone who pushes himself through to get to where he wants (matphorically - foe example - an employee in a place of work who wants to get to a better position).
  6. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    It's actually the opposite to blunt, it means "having sharp elbows".

    An interesting expression in Swedish is "att bjuda med armbågen" - to invite with the elbow, meaning inviting somebody but in a way that shows that the invitation is not genuine/seriously meant.
    Last edited: May 17, 2012
  7. Favara Senior Member

    Catalan - Southern Val.
    Catalan: colze

    posar les mans fins als colzes (to stick the hands up to the elbows): to acquire an intimate knowledge about something.
    xerrar/riure pels colzes (to chat/laugh through the elbows): to talk/laugh incessantly.
    alçar el colze (to raise the elbow): to drink a lot.
    menjar-se els colzes (to eat the elbows): to be starving, to be extremely poor.
    pel colze! (by the elbow!): said when you reject to perform a task, or when you don't believe something (~"bullshit!").
    moca't amb el colze! (blow [your nose] with the elbow!): said to someone who pretends something they don't deserve, or they can't obtain.
    a colps de colze (striking with the elbows): through violent means.
  8. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    In Tagalog it is "Siko(h)".
  9. Anja.Ann

    Anja.Ann Senior Member

    Hi :)

    In Italian: "gomito".

    Idiomatic expressions:
    "Alzare il gomito" = To drink too much
    "Farsi strada a gomitate" = To push one's way with the elbows
  10. Maroseika Moderator

    Russian: локоть (lokot') - from the same PIE base as 'elbow'.

    Близок локоть, да не укусишь - one cannot bit his own elbow, although it is so close (about an aim that is close but unachievable - so mear and yet so far).
    Своего локтя не укусишь - one cannot bite his own elbow.

    And derivated idiom:

    Кусать локти - to regret strongly about lost opportunity (eat one's heart out).

    Собираемся жить с локоть, а живем с ноготь. We are going to live elbow-long, but live nail-long.

    В чужих руках ноготок с локоток. In the alien hands a nail is like an elbow.
    Last edited: May 20, 2012
  11. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Dutch: elleboog, very much like English 'elbow'. I checked the etymology and found out that the el- used to be the "lower part of the arm", but etymologically related with bow as well: pie. *h1el- . it used to be some kind of measure too, along with duim, inch, and voet, foot.

    And yes, we can also work up our way using our elbows, literally (i.e., met je ellebogen werken > ellebogenwerk, elbow work).
  12. catlady60

    catlady60 Senior Member

    Nazareth, PA
    English-US (New York City)
    English idoms containing "elbow":
    He doesn't know his ass from his elbow:warning: - he doesn't know anything, he's stupid

    Q. Why is this guy scratching his elbow?
    A. He's a politician and doesn't know his ass from his elbow.

    Tennis elbow -
    soreness in one's elbow cause by repetitive use, as in tennis, shooting, etc.
  13. ancalimon Senior Member



    I think it's related with "dire~direnç" meaning "endurance"
  14. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    USA Northeast
    In Spanish elbow = codo
    Empinar el codo (flex the elbow) = to drink alcohol, go out on a drinking spree, or like drinking alcohol
    Hablar por los codos (speak through the elbows) = similar to what Outsider said for Portuguese. To talk non-stop
  15. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    There is only one very common Hungarian expression: már a könyökömön jön ki (lit.: it goes out of my elbow; könyök elbow) and it means one is fed up with someone's incessant talk. I find it very interesting the elbow is used in the similar context on the Iberian Peninsula.
  16. marco_2 Senior Member

    In Polish: łokieć. And some expressions: urabiać sobie ręce po łokcie = to work one's fingers to the bone; rozpychać się łokciami = to elbow one's way (through the crowd etc.). Łokieć was also a former unit for measuring cloth (English: ell = 115 centimetres or 45 inches), hence: towary łokciowe = narrow goods; haberdashery.
  17. ancalimon Senior Member


    dirsek çürütmek (to spoil-molder the elbow) : it is used to mean that someone works on something hard for a long time ~ keep one's nose to the grindstone. For example a person who has been a teacher for 40 years.

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