Exaggeration and fussiness: Pairs only


Senior Member
Welsh - Northern
Wondering if this thread could prove interesting.

I'm looking for examples which mean to exaggerate but limited to those which make use of pairs in the expression, in your language(s).

Here are a few from the two languages I'm most familiar with as a balanced bilingual, Welsh and English:


'gwneud môr a mynydd o rywbeth'

doing/making a sea and a mountain of SOFT MUTATION something

'gwneud melin a phandy o rywbeth'
doing/making a mill and ASPIRATE MUTATION a fulling mill of SOFT MUTATION something

'gwneud tŵr melin ac eglwys o rth'
doing/making a mill tower and a church of SOFT MUTATION something

'gwneud mynydd o dwmpath morgrug'
doing/making a mountain from SOFT MUTATION an ant hill

'gwneud mynydd o gocyn twrch daear'
doing/making a mountain from SOFT MUTATION a mole's heap


'to make a mountain out of a molehill'
'to make a song and dance about something'
  • swift

    Senior Member
    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    Spanish: Hacer una tormenta en un vaso de agua, literally ‘to make a storm out of a glass of water’.


    Senior Member
    Finnish: tehdä kärpäsestä härkänen "to make a small ox out of a fly". It's a play on words: kärpänen (fly) -> härkänen (small ox).

    «Κάνω την τρίχα, τριχιά» [ˈka.nɔ tin ˈdri.xa triˈça] --> to turn a hair into a rope

    «Πολύ κακό για το τίποτα» [pɔˈli kaˈkɔ ʝa tɔ ˈti.pɔ.ta] --> too much fuzziness about nothinɡ


    Senior Member

    (прави) од влакно – руно ['pravi ɔd 'vɫaknɔ 'runɔ] lit. "(makes) out of a hair – a fleece"
    (прави) од мува – слон ['pravi ɔd 'muva 'sɫɔn] lit. "(makes) out of a fly – an elephant"
    (прави) од мравка – слон ['pravi ɔd 'mrafka 'sɫɔn] lit. "(makes) out of an ant – an elephant"
    (прави) од конец – ортома ['pravi ɔd 'kɔnɛt͡s 'ɔrtɔma] lit. "(makes) out of a thread – a rope"
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    Senior Member
    Czech: dělat z komára velblouda [mosquito --> camel]
    Hungarian: bolhából elefántot csinál [flea --> elephant]


    Senior Member
    It's interesting. We also have "furtună într-un pahar de apă" (storm in a glass of water, the "ă" is a schwa) but to me, the whole range of "tempest in a teapot" expressions has always been very closely related yet not exactly similar to the "mountain out of a molehill" situation.

    In Romanian, making a steed out of a mosquito (chosen because they rhyme, I suppose -- we're big on rhyming and alliteration) is someone's or a group of people's reaction to events. I might describe someone as doing so, or ask them to stop making [...], if the issue is nothing major but they make it out to be so.

    The storm in a glass/teacup is likely to be the result of enough people having done the above that it really escalated and has become a serious enough concern on its own, except the original trigger didn't warrant such a fuss.

    By the way, it would be fun to see how many of these expressions depend on rhyme, alliteration or other poetic devices of the kind.