To be cheek to jowl with

Alfry

Senior Member
Italian
hello everybody.

I need your help to understand the following sentence

Most of the bar stools were taken. The place was cheek to jowl with business suits, male and female. A spattering of work boots and tans that ended at the elbow.....

here's my try:
molti degli sgabelli del bar erano occupati. il posto era un guancia a guancia(??? - fianco a fianco) di abiti eleganti da ufficio, maschili e femminili. una spruzzatina di stivali da lavoro ed abbronzature che terminavano ai gomiti (credo quelle tipiche di chi lavora sotto il sole)

thanks in advance for your help ;)
 
  • ikester

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    Alfry said:
    hello everybody.

    I need your help to understand the following sentence

    Most of the bar stools were taken. The place was cheek to jowl with business suits, male and female. A spattering of work boots and tans that ended at the elbow.....

    here's my try:
    molti degli sgabelli del bar erano occupati. il posto era un guancia a guancia(??? - fianco a fianco) di abiti eleganti da ufficio, maschili e femminili. una spruzzatina di stivali da lavoro ed abbronzature che terminavano ai gomiti (credo quelle tipiche di chi lavora sotto il sole)

    thanks in advance for your help ;)
    "cheek to jowl" simply means very crowded. "Fianco a fianco" would be a good translation.

    I've never heard "guancia a guancia" used in Italian. In AmE, "cheek to cheek" almost always refers to romantic dancing. How is it used in Italian?

    The rest of your interpretation is correct. The boots and the "mezzamanica" tans refer to what are also known as "blue collar" workers -- people who do manual labor for a living.

    ciao,
     

    mimitabby

    Senior Member
    usa, english
    Yes, Alfry, the place was really full of these people.
    Which term would YOU use for italian, Guancia a Guancia or Fianco a fianco?
    The english is very vivid, makes you think of being too close to people.
    I would say you got it right.
     

    Alfry

    Senior Member
    Italian
    grazie ragazzi,
    we often say "guancia a guancia" for romantic situations:
    * stare guancia a guancia, ballare guancia a guancia (more or less your 'cheek to cheek', I'd say more more than less ;) )

    we also say fianco a fianco or gomito a gomito:
    * lavorare gomito a gomito, studiare fianco a fianco... and so on
     

    Aeneas

    Member
    U. S. - English
    We also say 'like sardines in a can.'
    If you were in close quarters like that and it later became less crowded, we say you then have 'elbow room.' Not exactly related, but gomito reminded me.
     

    Alfry

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I think it is different.
    'cheek to cheek' (I've in my mind a song that goes something like this "... dancing cheek to cheek...") implies a romantic action

    'check to jowl' means a place full of persons sitting (since my example takes place in a bar) side by side, too close to one another, just like the ones described by my example.
     

    Panpan

    Senior Member
    England, English
    The usual phrase in British English is 'cheek by jowl'. It means very close together or side by side. E.g. 'Living cheek by jowl' means living in overcrowded conditions.

    Hope that helps

    Panpan
     
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