Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Idioms, Idiomes, Idiomi, Idiomas

Idioms are expressions that don’t mean what they appear to mean. The ultimate goal of any language learner is to acquire a large number of the everyday idioms and phrasal verbs of spoken English. Personally I’m always on the lookout for books of idioms to supplement my knowledge.
I should add that my book, Proverbs, Sayings, Clichés…A Multilingual Anthology, is packed with idioms and sayings in English, French, Italian and Spanish. You will notice the similarities and the differences between idioms in these languages. Readers interested in getting a copy at discounted price can contact me at  re. subject  book .
In this article I carefully selected a sampling of widely used idioms.

Eng.  It rains cats and dogs.  
Fr.  Il pleut des hallebardes/ des cordes/ à seaux/ comme vache qui pisse.
        (It’s raining spears/ ropes/ buckets, like a pissing cow.)
It.   Piove a catinelle/ a dirotto.
       ( It’s raining buckets/ violent and unstoppable rain..)
Sp.  Llueve a càntaros.  ( It’s raining in jugfulls or pitchers.)

En.  Once in a blue moon(once in a while)  
Fr.Tout le 36 du mois. (On the 36th day of the month)
 It. Ogni morte di papa. (Whenever a pope dies).                              
Sp. Cada muerte de obispo. (Whenever a bishop dies).   

Eng.  To fly off the handle.  To blow one's top.
         To hit the ceiling.        To see red.
 Fr.   Sortir de ses gonds.  Se fâcher tout rouge. Grimper aux rideaux.
It.    Montare in bestia.  Perdere le staffe.    Andare su tutte le furie.
Sp.   Ponerse como una fiera. Poner el grito en el ciel. Perder los estribos

   Eng.  Get to nitty-gritty (to the point.)   Fr.   Aller droit au but.
   It.   Venire al dunque (sodo).          Sp.   Ir al grano.   Venir a pelo.
    Eng.  To get off scot-free.  To get away with it. 
    Fr.  S'en  tirer à bon  compte.  
    It.   Farla  franca.
    Sp.  Salir impune

     Eng.  To be dressed to kill (to the nines, to the teeth).
     Fr.  Être sur son  trente et un (trente six en Québec).
            Être tiré à quatre épingles.
     It.   Mettersi in ghingheri.
     Sp.  Estar (vestido) de venticinco alfileres.
              Estar (Ponerse) de punta en blanco

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