Nα μου λείπει το βύσσινο

Aelialicinia

Senior Member
USA English
Maybe this is for the English forum but I am trying here anyway because the Greek is of course so much more colorful Of course in English Nα μου λείπει το βύσσινο means "not happening again" or "I can do without" etc.

But can anyone offer an alternative - something more "colorful" in English besides the above?

Thanking in anticipation...
 
  • ioanell

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Nα μου λείπει το βύσσινο
    According to a collection of traditional Greek sayings compiled by Mr. T. Natsoulis, the original phrase which is said to have been uttered about 120 years ago was “να μένει το βύσσινο”. In a time when political favours were a much more usual practice, a meeting of a parliament member and a voter of his took place in a καφενείο of that time (a coffeehouse for men) somewhere in Greece, where the voter, in order to “sweeten and coax” his MP to do him a favour, ordered the shop that a traditional sweet made of sour cherry be served to his MP. But, as the MP turned out to be rather untouchable and refused to do the favour, the voter, disappointed and rather angry, called to the waiter to cancel the order for the sweet by shouting “να μένει το βύσσινο”, that is “let the βύσσινο stay there, keep it there, don’t bring it here, I’m cancelling the order”. This must have been the original phrase, from which the alternative phrase “να (μού) λείπει το βύσσινο” was derived.

    Surely, I can’t think of a “more colourful” English expression, but some phrases that seem to be relatively close in meaning to “να (μού) λείπει το βύσσινο” are these: (δε θέλω καθόλου / (I definitely don’t want to) / δε θα τσιμπήσω (I won’t take the bait) / δε θα πέσω στην παγίδα (I won’t fall into the trap); see the example: Despite the fact that we seriously quarreled a week ago, he invited me to his birthday party; but I won’t go, να μού λείπει το βύσσινο (δε θέλω καθόλου / (I definitely don’t want to) / δε θα τσιμπήσω (I won’t take the bait) / δε θα πέσω στην παγίδα (I won’t fall into the trap).

    Perhaps other posters could offer more “colourful” expressions.
     
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    Helleno File

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Thank you ioanell for your very thorough explanation of this delightful and colourful expression! I checked my dictionaries, none very comprehensive and was left scratching my head at such a variety of uses. Now I understand why! I think your English versions are excellent.

    I'm tempted to coin an English loan translation - "Hold the sour cherries, as we/they say in Greece". :cool: Then explain a bit what the background is - would make a very memorable exchange for the Anglophone speaker!! "Hold the..." for "I don't want..." comes from a restaurant context usually where you don't want one element of a dish, but is sometimes used in more generalised context. It's AE but we Brits would get its colloquial use.

    One possibility for the expression occurs to me -" I won't buy that". I think it works for your examples involving παγίδα and τσιμπάω, but not that colourful! I think it's a development from "I don't buy that" which means colloquially "I don't believe/agree with that." "I won't buy that" means that I won't be drawn into an action or situation.

    I've just Googled Τάκης Νατσούλης and his collection of sayings and phrases looks to be Λέξεις και Φράσεις Παροιμιώδεις.
     

    Aelialicinia

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Thank you all! I prefer the trap to buy and the bait! Nothing can compare to the Greek though 😂

    I can’t think of a “more colourful” English expression
    I doubt there exists anything to compare...as this expression originates in a historical context. The translator would have to dig up a similar incident in the Anglo world.
     
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