to eat one's body parts (to regret)

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by Maroseika, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. Maroseika Moderator

    There is Russian expression - кусать локти, literally - bite one's elbows, meaning to regret about missed opportunity.
    I know similar metaphors from some other languages:

    English - to eat one's heart out
    Spanish - comerse las uñas (eat nails)
    French - se mordre les doigts (bite fingers)

    Anything to add?
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2013
  2. Ghabi

    Ghabi AL/OL/Ar/Zh mod

    Hong Kong
    Hi! The English expression isn't really about regret (and is only used as an imperative) so I suppose it's different from the Russian expression?

    In Cantonese we do have a similar expression: pound one's chest. Say, there was a big sale in the department store and I didn't go and thus missed all the good bargains, then I may have said something like: it's really chest-pounding!
  3. origumi Senior Member

    In Hebrew one אוכל את הלב eat his heart out as in English, for example feeling jealousy.

    We regret by מוסר כליות pain/suffering in the kidneys.
  4. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    In German we have "sich in den Arsch beißen" (to bite into your ass) when you are angry about yourself and a missed opportunity.

    Another idiom with a body part comes to my mind:

    sich auf die Zunge beißen (to bite on your tongue) - avoid saying a thought aloud
  5. biala Member

    However when a person regrets, he sometimes "eats himself" - אוכל את עצמו.
  6. origumi Senior Member

    This would show more frustration than regret, I think.


    לכסוס אצבעות one bites his fingernails when very worried
    אתם שותים את דמי drink one's blood means publicizing hostile information in order to harm somebody (or alike, hard to translate)
    אתה אוכל לי את הראש eat one's head is when X talks too much and Y gets annoyed or bored from the talking (relatively new expression)

    These seem off topic, so enough said.
  7. biala Member

    אבן שושן מגדיר "אכל את עצמו" כ"האשים את עצמו", סבל ממוסר כליות
  8. ahmedcowon Senior Member

    In Arabic like in French, we use "he bites his fingers":

    يعض أصابعه /ya3oḍḍo aṣābi3ahu/
  9. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    In Chinese, pounding one's chest 拊膺/捶胸 or stamping one's feet 顿足 is to express deep sorrow and, sometimes, extreme regret.
    Eating one's fingers and biting one's tongue 啖指咬舌 means "frightened", biting/gritting one's teeth 咬牙切齒 "extreme anger or hatred", clenching tight one's tooth roots 咬定牙根 "to deal with a difficult situation in a determined way", eating one's heart 吃心 "take something seriously, try very hard"...
  10. aruniyan Senior Member

    no regretting, but in Kannada(South Indian Language),
    nan thalai thin baedaa= don't eat my head = do not pester/disturb me.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
  11. ancalimon Senior Member

    In Turkish:

    Başımın etini yedin : You have eaten the meat of my head. (you have talked too much and now I have a headache)
    Ciğerimi ye : Eat my liver (we sometimes say this after something when we really want someone to do it) (do xxx and eat my liver)
    Dilini ısır : Bite your tongue (you have said something bad. Bite your tongue so that it doesn't happen)
    Parmaklarını yersin : you would eat your fingers (the food is so tasty that you would eat your fingers)
    Kendini yiyip bitirmek: To eat oneself and finish it (to be very unhappy)
    İçim içimi yiyor : My inside is eating my inside (I don't know what is going to happen. I'm very worried)
    Gözünün yağını yiyeyim : I would eat the oil of your eye (Do xxx for me and I will be very grateful)
    Dilini yerim : I would eat your tongue (When someone (usually a small kid or maybe your girlfriend or boyfriend) says something nice, or is cute we might say this)
    Taşşağını yiyeyim (vulgar): I would eat your balls (You may hear someone close say this when he is proud of you)
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
  12. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    In Italian: Mangiarsi le mani (eat one's hands).
  13. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    We have it in Greek too:
    «Δάγκωσε τη γλώσσα σου» ['ðaŋɡose ti 'ɣlosa su] --> bite your tongue (with exactly the same meaning)
    And that:
    «Με τρώνε τα σωθικά μου» [me 'trone ta soθi'ka mu] --> my innards are eating me up (said when fear or worry consumes us)

    «Καταπίνω τη γλώσσα μου» [kata'pino ti 'ɣlosa mu] --> to swallow my tongue (cat gets my tongue)
  14. ahmedcowon Senior Member

    "He eats himself" is used in Arabic to mean "he's so jealous"

    Used in Arabic with the same meanings

    Also used with the same meaning
  15. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    Oh, you really have so many expressions.....even bizarre :)
  16. swintok Senior Member

    English - Canada
    In Ukrainian it's Не їж мені печінку /Ne yizh meni pechinku/ = Don't eat my liver. It's used when you want to tell off someone who is repeatedly disturbing or pestering you. Often said by mothers to children asking the same question over and over again.
  17. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    In Flemish dialects one can zijn kas opeten, and then one could imagine 'kas' refers to 'chest', though it contains little meat...

    Op zijn nagels bijten, bite [on] one's fingernails, is what one does when one is anxious, scared, worried about something.

    So far I don't see anyone around here eating some part of the body, but I ought to have a closer look, I imagine. I might be in touch again...
  18. ancalimon Senior Member

    Kas means muscle in Turkish. Kasık means groin. Göğüs (<kös) means chest.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
  19. ESustad Senior Member

    Washington, DC
    English - (Minnesota)
    In English, "to put your foot in your mouth" means to say a faux pas or something regrettable.
  20. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Are you suggesting there could be a link? I just checked, and I cannot find a trace. I did discover that 'kas' might also mean 'safe full of money'...
  21. ancalimon Senior Member

    I don't know of a relation. Just wanted to share. :) By the way, "Kas" does not mean "safe". The word for "money safe" is "Kasa"
  22. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Don't worry, I think it all very enriching, often intriguing...
  23. arielipi Senior Member

    Also in hebrew
    לאכול את זה leechol et ze eat it - it is used when one doesnt know how to deal with something.
  24. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    Just a couple additions in Russian:
    локти кусать (to bite [own] elbows) – to regret something afterward
    выесть мозги (to eat out [someone’s] brains) – to persistently ennoy someone (this one is a more modern expression)


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