il colpo di coda

  • Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    Necsus said:
    Hi, themire. And welcome to the forum!
    It should be 'whisk of the tail', or 'lash', or figurative 'sudden reversal'.
    "Il colpo di scena" sarebbe identico?

    Grazie, :)

    Jana
     

    Necsus

    Senior Member
    Italian (Italy)
    Jana337 said:
    "Il colpo di scena" sarebbe identico?
    Direi di no, Jana. Credo che per dire 'colpo di scena' in inglese si usi la locuzione francese 'coup de théâtre'. E' un improvviso cambiamento di situazione, un evento inatteso - unforeseen turn of events; dramatic turn of events.
     

    themire

    New Member
    English, Ireland
    It was used in this context:

    Ma non solo: "I bianconeri in B mi fanno un brutto effetto, ma significa che la Juve ha tanti nemici e io lo sapevo". Poi il colpo di coda: dove andrà il calcio senza Moggi?
     

    Necsus

    Senior Member
    Italian (Italy)
    Ma non solo: "I bianconeri in B mi fanno un brutto effetto, ma significa che la Juve ha tanti nemici e io lo sapevo". Poi il colpo di coda: dove andrà il calcio senza Moggi?
    In this context it seems to me that the expression is not properly used, maybe it would be correct with the sentence after 'colpo di coda' in quotes, like a question asked by the interviewee.
     

    moodywop

    Banned
    Italian - Italy
    Actually it would be interesting to find out if there is an idiomatic expression in English which is as colourful as the Italian one.

    I think (but I may well be wrong) that the image it conjures is of , say, a crocodile suddenly lashing at you with its tail, catching you by surprise.

    For example, you can talk of a "colpo di coda dell'inverno" when, in early spring, after a warm spell, it suddenly gets cold again.

    It was also used to refer to Berlusconi's desperate, last-ditch attempt to improve his position in the polls just before the elections, when he started making last-minute promises of tax cuts: l'ultimo colpo di coda di Berlusconi

    Anything similar in English? "A sting in the tail" is not quite the same.
     

    Bookmom

    Senior Member
    moodywop said:
    Actually it would be interesting to find out if there is an idiomatic expression in English which is as colourful as the Italian one.

    I think (but I may well be wrong) that the image it conjures is of , say, a crocodile suddenly lashing at you with its tail, catching you by surprise.

    For example, you can talk of a "colpo di coda dell'inverno" when, in early spring, after a warm spell, it suddenly gets cold again. A cold snap.

    It was also used to refer to Berlusconi's desperate, last-ditch attempt to improve his position in the polls just before the elections, when he started making last-minute promises of tax cuts: l'ultimo colpo di coda di Berlusconi Last ditch effort or eleventh hour politicing but theses indicate more desperation than any sudden turn around.

    Anything similar in English? "A sting in the tail" is not quite the same.
    There are many of these depending on the contexts. This will require some list making!
     

    moodywop

    Banned
    Italian - Italy
    Thank you, Bookmom! Just a quick clarification: a "colpo di coda" is not a turn-around. Think of the winter example: winter is supposed to be over but, just as you were putting your winter clothes and hot-water bottles away, it's back with a vengeance. The reversal or turn-around, so to speak, may apply to the spring or the weather, not to the winter. Just think of winter as a big crocodile that looks asleep or sedated or restrained, then all of a sudden...
     

    Bookmom

    Senior Member
    A "sea change" is used for a complete turn around in political policy opinion.

    "Doing a 180", as in a turn around of 180 degrees, a complete reversal...
    Wow, what a difference that training camp made in the team's performance, it's like they did a 180!

    But these still don't satisfy me, cold snap is the closest I can come at the moment to the sharp snapping turn around that colpo di coda evokes.
     

    moodywop

    Banned
    Italian - Italy
    No, no, you shouldn't think in terms of a 180°, a turn-around or a reversal. That's not what a "colpo di coda" is.

    Let me use the Berlusconi example again. His last-ditch attempt to gain popularity by promising tax cuts was the colpo di coda. There was no turn-around in his policy since he's always promising tax cuts.

    It suggests a desperate, sudden, unexpected last-minute action but this does not necessarily imply any turn-around compared to your previous pattern of behaviour. Winter did not turn around and start dispensing warm temperatures - it struck at you again while you were unprepared because you thought the spring had chased winter away.

    I've run out of images:eek:
     

    Bookmom

    Senior Member
    Ha,ha Moodywop, Thanks for all of this. I get that it's like having the rug pulled out from under you, being blind-sided, being caught off guard ... just when you thought that it was safe to go back in the water and all that. I just can not come up with a good equivalent for the sudden-fire-breathing-from-a-sleeping-dragon.:)
     

    King Crimson

    Modus in fabula
    Italiano
    OLD THREAD

    I'm joining this interesting discussion (though more than six years later...:rolleyes:) because I see that the original query still remains unanswered. I agree with most of what moodywop posted here and also share Bookmom's view that no one-size-fits-all expression does exist in English capable to convey the meaning of the Italian expression (a quick search in some dictionaries, including WR, bore out my hunch).
    This does not mean, however, that we cannot try to use different English expressions to translate “colpo di coda” in specific instances. Just to stay in theme with the previous posts, for example, I would say that the example on Berlusconi (post #8) was nicely rendered with last-ditch attempt (or effort), while the winter example (“colpo di coda dell’inverno”, a cliché of Italian weather reports) could be translated with winter’s death throes (see here).
    Let's wait for others, however...
     

    Prowling_Cat

    New Member
    Italian - Italy
    Ma colpo di coda non è "backlash"?
    Again, four years later...
    To my mind, colpo di coda is not a backlash necessarily, it generally means that sothing or someone had been (aparently) overcome, sedated, has gone away, and then there is an ulterior hit, or continuation of what this person or thing generally does or is.
    Imagine a fish departing, going away, but with a last flick of its tail it hits, or if it has been killed or sedated, manages to move and hit or tries to.. I's say 'last ditch effort' is the closest in meaning. A backlash would be a 'contraccolpo'. Contra being operative, here, i.e. an opposite reaction. Colpo di coda is not intrinsecally an 'opposite' reaction.
     

    Teerex51

    Senior Member
    Italian, standard
    Going back to KC's post (vintage 2012), it's clear that colpo di coda can have a variety of meanings.
    According to Treccani: Colpo di coda,[...] (1) avvio improvviso di un’azione o iniziativa, (2) passaggio da una situazione di stallo a una di attività, (3) improvviso cambiamento di direzione, di orientamento [...], (4) oppure colpo basso e maligno, dato a tradimento, (5) tentativo di ritorsione compiuto da chi si sente ormai perduto o sconfitto, (6) ultima carta giocata per salvarsi o per vendicarsi dell’avversario. [the numbers are my addition].

    Here we can draw upon the vast inventory of English metaphors and idioms to try and match each nuance. (My examples are just placeholders and have no pretense of being exhaustive. The boundaries between some of them are hazy, too.)

    (1) Forward leap;
    (2) Sudden start
    (3) Course change; sea change
    (4) Sucker punch [slang]
    (5) Parting shot
    (6) Last-ditch effort

     
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