He's afraid of his own shadow.

Encolpius

Senior Member
Hungarian
Hello, do you use that idiom in your language? We do. Thanks.
It means someone is extremely timid.

Hungarian: A saját árnyékától is fél.

[a(the), saját (own), árnyékától (of his shadow), is (as well), fél (be afraid]
 
  • Rallino

    Moderatoúrkos
    Turkish
    Yes we do as well in Turkish.

    Kendi gölgesinden bile korkar.

    [Kendi(own) gölgesinden(of his shadow) bile(even) korkar(is afraid). ]
     

    itreius

    Senior Member
    Assembly
    Croatian

    Boji se vlastite sjene.
    Boji se svoje sjene.
    [(he/she/it) is afraid - own - shadow]
     

    enoo

    Senior Member
    French - France
    That idiom is used in French too (at least in France.)

    Il a peur de son ombre. - He's afraid of his shadow.
     

    Elvus

    Member
    In Polish it is:

    bać się własnego cienia - to be afraid of own shadow

    (On/ona/ono) boi się własnego cienia.
    - (He/she/it) is afraid of his/her/its own shadow.
     

    Encolpius

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    I haven't heard it in Czech either, but I happened to check it in my dictionary now and it says: bát se vlastního stínu [literal translation] :confused: bibax, art thou here?
     

    bibax

    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    I heard it in Czech.

    In German "sich vor seinem eigenen Schatten fürchten".

    Another saying using "his own shadow" (with completely different meaning, of course):

    Nikdy nepřekročí svůj vlastní stín. = He will never jump (stride) over his own shadow.
    Není schopen překročit svůj vlastní stín. = He is not able to jump (stride) over his own shadow.
     

    ger4

    Senior Member
    German
    "Sich vor seinem eigenen Schatten fürchten" is correct, of course, but I think in Germany it isn't used as often as the other saying Bibax mentioned:
    Nikdy nepřekročí svůj vlastní stín. = He will never jump (stride) over his own shadow. = Er wird nie über seinen eigenen Schatten springen.
    Není schopen překročit svůj vlastní stín. = He is not able to jump (stride) over his own shadow. = Er kann nicht über seinen eigenen Schatten springen.
     

    ThomasK

    Senior Member
    Belgium, Dutch
    "Sich vor seinem eigenen Schatten fürchten" is correct, of course, but I think in Germany it isn't used as often as the other saying Bibax mentioned:
    Nikdy nepřekročí svůj vlastní stín. = He will never jump (stride) over his own shadow. = Er wird nie über seinen eigenen Schatten springen.
    Není schopen překročit svůj vlastní stín. = He is not able to jump (stride) over his own shadow. = Er kann nicht über seinen eigenen Schatten springen.
    Dutch: hij is bang voor zijn eigen schaduw.

    The other one is unknown to me.
     

    ger4

    Senior Member
    German
    According to dict.cc the other sentence - Man kann nicht über seinen eigenen Schatten springen ("one cannot/isn't able to stride across one's own shadow") - is more similar to the English expression "The leopard cannot change his spots" - so, I guess, the closest German equivalent to "He is afraid of his own shadow" is Er fürchtet sich vor seinem eigenen Schatten, at least that would be the literal translation - even though, depending on the context, I would rather associate sein eigener Schatten with "his own past", very often in a negative sense - the fear of falling back into [one's own][bad][old] habits, old habits taking over once again, something like that; difficult to express this...
     
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