two-by-four (2 x 4)

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by betilla, Oct 25, 2009.

  1. betilla New Member

    Hi everyone!

    I'm having trouble undestanding what a "two-by-four" is in this sentence:

    "If he'd whomped me upside the head with a two-by-four, I couldn't have been more stunned"

    Thanks a lot for your help! :)
  2. Lazzini

    Lazzini Senior Member

    It means a piece of wood with sides of two inches and four inches (or, to be Napoleonic, roughly 10 cm. and 20cm.).

    Edit: That should be 5 cm. and 10 cm.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2009
  3. betilla New Member

    oh so two-by-four is not an object in itself right?
    could i say like "he could have hit me with a four-by-nine" or is two-by-four a common saying?
  4. Lazzini

    Lazzini Senior Member

    I think - although I'm not sure - that two-by-four is a standard size of wood used in the UK building trade. Four-by-nine would not carry the same mental associations.
  5. betilla New Member

    oh right! thanks a lot for the explanation! i'm not really into building trade.. :D
  6. Odysseus54

    Odysseus54 Mod huc mod illuc

    In the hills of Marche
    Italian - Marche
    Confermo - un 2x4 e' un travetto di legno con sezione nominale 2"x4" ( in realta' 1 3/4"x 3 1/2" o giu' di li' ) , di diverse lunghezze ( 8', 10', 12' ) che si usa principalmente per costruire la struttura dei canterti delle case ( anche se oggi si usano di piu' dei profilati di metallo ) o di altri manufatti in legno, o, alternativamente ( piu' in senso figurato che altro ) , per dare delle mazzate sulla testa alla gente ( molto difficile, in realta', data la poca maneggevolezza del 2"x4" ).

    " Se mi avesse dato una mazzata sulla testa con una trave non sarei stato piu' stordito " , piu' o meno.
  7. saragd Senior Member

    USA, English
    You would say a "two-by-four", not any other possible measurement of wood to refer colloquially to a long piece of cut wood used for construction. To whomp, or hit "upside the head" is also a colloquial way of describing a blow to the head. If it were done with a two-by-four it would be really painful and quite a surprise! ;-)
  8. smoky

    smoky Senior Member

    Italy - Italian
    Ciao a tutti,
    nel mio testo si parla della costruzione di case a "consumo energetico zero" costruite con pannelli strutturali isolanti (structurally insulated panels)
    A un certo punto il testo dice:
    ”This is the structure. Together, these very flimsy pieces of wood are very very strong, stronger than the 2 x 4 construction"
    "Questa è la struttura. Insieme, questi fragili pannelli di legno sono molto resistenti, più resistenti delle ?costruzioni 2 x 4?
    Come traduco '2X4 construction' in questo contesto?
  9. PublicJohnDoe Senior Member

    Come riportato sopra, "2x4" fa riferimento alla misura delle assi di legno

    Potresti renderlo come "...più resistenti dei normali pannelli da 2x4 pollici", o addirittura "...più resistenti dei pannelli normalmente utilizzati", tanto da noi nessuno capirebbe fino in fondo quel "2x4"...
  10. smoky

    smoky Senior Member

    Italy - Italian
    Grazie mille! :)
  11. Scopa Nuova Senior Member

    Texas, USA
    USA, English
    The expression, at least in AE, always referrs to a 2" x 4" cross section of wood, length isn't important but one usually thinks of 2 x 4 that's 4 or 5 feet long. This is a large enough piece of wood so that it certaintly would hurt very much or perhaps even knock you out (unconscious) and certaintly it would get your attention. In reality the expression is used to tell someone whatever they have done (shout at you, blow a horn, given you a failing grade on an examnation, etc.) has gotten your attention. No real injury is intended here.


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