to sell refrigerator to an Eskimo

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by Perseas, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. Perseas Senior Member


    in Greek we say "πουλάει ψυγείο σε Εσκιμώο" (he/she sells refrigerator to an Eskimo) to denote a very skillful salesman. Or it can be used metaphorically concerning not only the sales area. Do you have this saying in your language?

  2. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)

    prodat lednici Eskymákovi = to sell a fridge to an Eskimo;
    prodat led Eskymákovi = to sell ice to an Eskimo;
    prodat písek Arabovi = to sell sand to an Arab;
  3. ahmedcowon Senior Member


    يبيع الماء في حارة السقايين /yabee3u al-maa'a fi haarati as-saqqayeen/

    (He sells water in water-carriers alley)
  4. arielipi Senior Member

    he sells ice to an eskimo means that, though it can be used as something without any value.
  5. Gale_

    Gale_ Member

    In Russian we say "в Тулу со своим самоваром" )))
    It means "to bring your own samovar to Tula". The matter is that Tula is the centre of "samovar" production )
  6. Saluton Banned

    Moscow, Russia
    This is a totally different expression. It means bringing something to a place where there's more than enough of it, "carrying coal to Newcastle."
    As for the expression in question, I don't think there's an equivalent in Russian, probably because making money is still not regarded as something laudable among Russians.
  7. Gale_

    Gale_ Member

    I wouldn't say it's totally different, but if the clue word is sell, then of course it has a bit another meaning, and you're right )
    I can't recollect any example with "selling".
    But then I know a Russian joke on the same subject.
    I guess you've heard it as well.
    It's not about an Eskimo, it's about a Chukchi.

    Someone asked a Chukchi man:
    - Why do you need a fridge in such cold winter?
    - To warm myself though! -40 degrees Celsius outside, but in the fridge +3!

    So selling is not the matter at all. The more important thing is to find some sense )
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013
  8. learnerr Senior Member

    Why, we in Russia may say things like "он умеет продавать воздух" ("he knows how to sell air").
  9. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Dutch: "Hij verkoopt ijs aan een Eskimo."

    Manipulator: hij verkoopt gebakken lucht [fried air].

    Parallel, but if one's work is superfluous, not useful, not meeting needs (see: carrying coal to Newcastle), not in the sense of being cunning, a manipulator:Hij draagt uilen naar Athene [he's carrying owls to Athens], hij draagt water naar de zee [carrying water to the sea].
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2013
  10. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    USA Northeast
    I haven't heard "refrigerator" but I'm pretty sure I have heard: "He could sell ICE to an eskimo", and along the same lines: "He could sell sand to an Arab".
  11. lingpil Senior Member

    German & Russian
    In German it's possible to say: "Er kann Kühlschränke an Eskimos verkaufen." He can sell fridges to Eskimos. Even if nowadays the political correctness usually demands the term "Inuit" the saying is still about Eskimos, what can be seen as a hint marking a quite long presence of this saying in the language.
  12. franknagy

    franknagy Senior Member

    He is so smart businesman, ....
    Olyan ügyes kereskedő, hogy
    hűtőszekrényt tud eladni az eszkimóknak.

    Mr. Kohn, the Jew brings home three refrigrators from Moscow on the train to Budapest.
    The customs officer asks him:
    - Why do you need three fridges?
    - The first for meat, the second for milk. And a third one I need for the trefli.
  13. franknagy

    franknagy Senior Member

    The politically incorrect outdated names of nations must not be replaced by the nowadays preferred names in the proverbs and sayings.

    In Hungarian, tót and oláh must be retained instead of szlovák and román.

    Örül neki, mint üveges tót a hanyattesésnek. = He enjoys alike the glazier Slovak to falling backward. (The Slovakian wandering glaziers were carring the fragile glass blocks on their back.)

    Úgy otthagyta őket, mint Szent Pál az oláhokat. = He left them as St. Paul the Rumanians. (He took a Freanch leave.)

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