he wouldn't hurt a fly

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DearPrudence

Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
IdF
French (lower Normandy)
Hello :)

I was just curious. Do you also have the same image in you language when someone is not violent:

English: he wouldn't hurt a fly
French: il ne ferait pas de mal à une mouche
(exactly the same)

(I think it's the same in Spanish but I don't know)

Thanks :)
 
  • sayah

    Senior Member
    Spain. Spanish
    Hi,

    You are right, in Spanish we say: "no hace daño ni a una mosca", which means exactly the same than the English version.

    Sayah
     

    Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Hi,

    In Dutch we say: Hij zou geen vlieg (fly) kwaad doen.

    Groetjes,

    Frank
     

    Tamar

    Senior Member
    Israel, Hebrew
    In Hebrew:
    הוא לא יפגע בזבוב [hu lo ifga bezvuv]
    Same as English.
     

    anachevere

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    In Spanish we say "No haría daño a una mosca".
    Usually in conditional, as in English.

    In Catalan, we say "No faria mal a una mosca".
    Same as above!
     

    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    In Hungarian it is a fly, too: a légynek sem árt.

    I was wondering whether it is because Beelzebub was apparently the "god of flies". Flies seemed to be despised by everybody in the old times so not surprising that one of the "supreme bad" figures was connected to them.
    In that sense the saying means that the given person would not even hurt the "biggest baddy" (= who would deserve it)!
     

    Encolpius

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Hello, do you use the same idiom in your language? We do. Thanks.

    Hungarian: A légynek sem tudna ártani. [Couldn't hurt even the fly]

    Italian: Non farebbe male a una mosca.
     
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    frank Chan

    Member
    Mandarin-China
    Chinese
    不忍踩死一只蚂蚁= (He) wouldn't step on an ant.
    same to Serbian idiom, to descibe a person who are kind and nice person, he is a 好人。
     

    sakvaka

    Senior Member
    Finnish: Hän ei satuttaisi kärpästäkään. S/he would not hurt even a fly.
    or even more commonly Hän ei tekisi pahaa kärpäsellekään. (wouldn't "do bad" to...)
     
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    hollabooiers

    Member
    Estonian
    Estonian: Ta ei teeks kärbselegi liiga.

    Liiga tegema
    is like to harm or to do unjustice. So it's "s/he would not harm (even) a fly".

    It's amazing how so far we've only got flies and ants and no other insects/animals mentioned here!
     
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    nimak

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    Serbian:
    (on) ne bi ni mrava zgazio (literally: he wouldn't hurt even an ant)
    Chinese
    不忍踩死一只蚂蚁= (He) wouldn't step on an ant.
    same to Serbian idiom, to descibe a person who are kind and nice person, he is a 好人。
    In Macedonian:

    Ни на мрава/мравка не гази. (Ní na mráva/mrávka né gazi.) = lit. "Not-even on (an) ant (he/she)-doesn't step."

    Ни на мрава/мравка не би згазил. (Ni na mráva/mrávka ne bí zgazil.) = lit. "Not-even on (an) ant (I/you/he/she)-wouldn't step."
     
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    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    "No mataría ni una mosca" seems more common to me
    Because that's what you say in Catalan. In Spanish, no mataría ni a una mosca but it's about as frequent as no haría daño a una mosca or no haría daño ni a una mosca. I wouldn't use the haría daño version(s) myself but I guess that's just my idiolect.
     

    Dymn

    Senior Member
    This whole thing with the "a" for direct objects still puzzles me to this day but I find plenty of results with "no mataría ni una mosca" online (most of them by non-Catalan speakers). Either way the main point was that I find mataría "would kill" to be more common than just hurt.

    I wouldn't use the haría daño version(s) myself but I guess that's just my idiolect.
    Maybe it's a matter of European vs. Latin American Spanish. But I don't know why the two Spaniards above didn't even bother mentioning "mataría" as an alternative version.
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    Either way the main point was that I find mataría "would kill" to be more common than just hurt.
    Yes, I would also say that it's more common but the other one isn't unknown either. Context may make a difference though.
    I find plenty of results with "no mataría ni una mosca" online (most of them by non-Catalan speakers)
    It's curious. I see many results in Catalan, some results from the Americas and some other results which origin I can't identify (pseudonims, translations of foreign authors made by an unknown translator for me...). Anyway, it's not (that) relevant.
     
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