48

The Arabic idiom “OK, now you can show us the breadth of your shoulders.” has a meaning similar to get lost, but with a more humorous edge. The idea of the idiom comes from when the recipient turns around and walks out, or figuratively speaking: ‘gets lost’ and the speaker sees the back of his shoulders.

Is there anything similar in English?

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    Very similar is the phrase "I'm glad (I'll be glad) to see the back of him". I'm not sure how to adapt it to your context. – chasly from UK Jul 13 '15 at 13:24
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    To "turn one's back on" has the same meaning but I've never heard it used as a command (e.g. "turn your back on us"), only as a description ("he turned his back on them"). – Ken Zein Jul 14 '15 at 14:37
  • You might use that phrase in a humorous way, but it is not considered to be funny. It means go away (please?). Can be employed either way, funny and not funny. – Ely Jul 14 '15 at 22:34
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    It can be used humorously (with friends as you might imagine), but in general this means go away. You agreed that with others on specific tasks; one person has to do the shopping; you know if he/she does not leave now the shop will be closed; you could say show us the breadth of your shoulders with a wink. No hard feelings here. But in general it has a dismissive or impolite connotation. If you are not sure in the situation, it is better not to use it. – Ely Jul 15 '15 at 10:57

15 Answers 15

72

"Don't let the door hit you on the way out" is a well-known (though a dismissive, impolite) 'humorous' phrase.

I think it implies that the door is a "swing door" (or, a door being slammed on them on the way out).


Some people would tell you there's another (American-English) variant of this phrase, i.e. "Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya".

I don't recommend this variant:

  • Invoking/involving the "the good Lord" in telling someone to begone seems to me uncharitable
  • "where ... split ya" is a mocking euphemism for "bum crack" or "ass"

So this phrase is I think even more impolite than the one I suggested: Wiktionary describes it as a "nasty command to leave".


Unfortunately the type of "humour" even in the first phrase I suggested ("Don't let the door hit you on the way out") is a derisive humour: it is (in my opinion) mocking or belittling the person who you're dismissing. The phrase mentioned in the OP i.e. "show us the breadth of your shoulders" might (perhaps, I don't know arabic) allow the person to leave with dignity. If so then unfortunately I can't at the moment think of a corresponding English-language expression.

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    There's also the Southern variant of: "Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya" – Ben Hocking Jul 14 '15 at 9:17
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    I don't read the (English transliteration of) the Arabic phrase as offering a dignified exit. In fact, it seems to be the entire point is that it sounds like you're complimenting the guy but you're really telling him to shove off: it's a sarcastic barb. As for the alternative phrase you recommend against: in my experience (native AmE speaker, Northeast), it's fairly mild and toothless phrase. In fact, the term "where the Good Lord split ya" is specifically employed as euphemism for "on your ass". It's something I picture a slightly snarky Southern grandma would say. – Dan Bron Jul 14 '15 at 11:07
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    I am familiar with the Egyptian version of this idiom and it refers to the back of the neck and not the shoulders and is considered very disrespectful. I am not sure if there are different version of the phrase in the Middle East, but the Egyptian version would be more offensive in Arabic than anything on your list. – dramzy Jul 15 '15 at 14:00
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    Well, the back of the neck, specifically. That part of the body is significant in the Egyptian culture in a way that is hard to explain to someone who is not from that culture. In Egypt, if you hit a guy on the back of his neck, he would be very insulted and would feel like less of a man if he can't hit you back. It's similar to slapping someone hard. – dramzy Jul 15 '15 at 14:14
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    I guess I'll upvote, but I wish the question was updated to reflect the fact that the phrase you're trying to match is disrespectful. – DCShannon Mar 8 '16 at 16:53
44

There are a great many sayings, of various degrees of humor and various degrees of acceptance, which use the form, "Make like an A and B".

Make like a tree and leave.

Make like a shepherd and get the flock out of here.

Make like a banana and split.

etc.

This site http://www.rusbasan.com/Humor/Make_Like_A.html has more examples than you probably want to read at one sitting, although they are in the form, "Let's make like an A and B".

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    one I thought of, not listed in the link above: make like a basketball and bounce – Ken Zein Jul 13 '15 at 18:49
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    For non-native speakers: "make like a shepherd and get the flock out of here" is a play on words that depends on the common expletive phrase "get the f*** out of here" and may not be appropriate for all audiences. – Andrew Coonce Jul 13 '15 at 20:43
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    The shepherd and flock are sometimes rendered as a hockey player and puck. – Sven Yargs Jul 13 '15 at 22:59
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    I searched that list for a deliberate corruption of the pattern, but in vain; every single line was brutally committed to the formula. I therefore give you: "Make like a tree and go away." – j_random_hacker Jul 14 '15 at 11:24
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    @j_random_hacker: The canonical corruption, which originated in Back to the Future, is "make like a tree and get outta here". – Peter Shor Jul 14 '15 at 16:36
25

"Close the door on the way out" is, I believe, a slightly less impolite phrase than the one ChrisW gave, although it lacks the anatomical connotations of the original.

"Close the window on the way out" is a bit cheekier ... implying the addressee should jump out the window.

22

A couple more that are similar to get lost, but more humorous

Take a long walk off a short pier.

Or

Go fly a kite.

Or less humorous

Take a hike.

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    "Take a walk off a pier" is a very direct insult. A walk on a pier implies a pleasant seaside stroll... until you realize the "long walk / short pier" distinction has been added. Thus IMO only the "on" version has the hidden insult meaning that this question is going for. – pkamb Jul 14 '15 at 22:32
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    The phrase I always heard (going back 40 years to my childhood) is "Take a long walk off a short dock". Perhaps the "pier" is a variant used in dialects where "walk" and "dock" don't rhyme? To me, it really loses most of its punch without the rhyme. – T.E.D. Jul 15 '15 at 15:47
  • @T.E.D. I know the words 'dock' and 'pier' are used a bit differently depending on the region. I wouldn't expect the water to be deep enough around a dock for walking off it to accomplish much. – DCShannon Mar 8 '16 at 16:51
8

Another common one, more American:

Hit the road, Jack

and another English one:

On your bike

As commented, these lack the flattery or subtlety of the Arabic equivalent.

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    Hit the road, Jack is from an old Blues song that was a hit back in the 60's. Using it on someone would imply the next lyrics, which were roughly, "and don'tcha come back no more." I understand they listened to Ray Charles in England too, but I'd imagine its use has faded a great deal as there are less and less people around familiar with the song. – T.E.D. Jul 15 '15 at 15:53
  • @T.E.D.: not everyone is familiar with the song lyrics, but they get the general meaning. As you point out its popularity is dwindling. Known in more recent decades as the theme tune to the anti-sitcom Unhappily Ever After – smci Jul 15 '15 at 20:28
  • Unhappily Ever After is "known" by whom? :-) That show was canceled more than 15 years ago. I used to watch it, and even I had forgotten it and had to read your Wikipedia link. (And you are talking a guy who remembers Manimal and Hello Larry). I still don't remember that being the theme song, but I'll take Wikipedia's word for it. – T.E.D. Jul 15 '15 at 21:51
  • It gained a cult following in reruns, similar to Married With Children. 'Manimal', you're really showing your age now... – smci Jul 15 '15 at 22:25
8

There is a phrase, "I'd be glad to see the back of him."

It's usually said to others about someone, not to the person you want to leave, but it's closer to your phrase than any others.

6

You could try

Sling your hook

Or

On your bike

Or, while less humourous, you could simply say

Goodbye

To make it clear that a conversation is now over.

5

The phrase jog on, meaning get lost, has recently become popular in the UK.

It sarcastically implies that the recipient was already jogging somewhere and should continue to that place (i.e. away from the speaker).

Jog on: Go away (used as expression of anger or irritation)

(OED)

5

I think there's something missing with most these answers, though fairly on point in general: the target phrase seems the sort that is framed in a way that suggests the person being told to "Get out!" be tricked into bragging of sorts [showing how impressively huge his shoulders are] yet at the same time "getting lost" which is the actual goal of the speaker who couldn't care less about the impressive characteristic.

As in telling a woman one wants gone "I hear your walk off is a thing of beauty, not to be missed. If I could just see it..."

Though nothing that captures that leaps to my mind, I think that's the essence of his saying: to be clever in that way, not just clever or snarky.

  • This is an excellent comment, but not an answer. Seems pretty clear the flattering aspect of the Arabic idiom does not exist in any common English idiom. – smci Jul 14 '15 at 1:45
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    The closest thing I can think of to that right now is "I hate to see her go but I love to see her walk away" referring to the view of a lovely looking bum you receive after she has turned around to go. However that's a crude comment to make after a woman has started walked just out of earshot to one of your buddies, rather than a suggestion directly for her to start leaving. – Tonepoet Jul 14 '15 at 3:10
4

Another stock phrase involving the [exit] door is

The door is that way, (sir|madam).

For best effect, imagine this being said in a frosty, British accent by a store clerk.

3

I would suggest "Aren't you needed elsewhere?"

It has the same interpretation that the act of the subject leaving is important/beneficial, but when spoken in an undignified manner it has the strong implication that you really want the subject to leave.

1

In the 40's there was a famous line from an American radio western: "Shove off, cowboy -- your boots smell." This certainly gets at the idea, albeit with a vague allusion to barnyard ordure.

1

A favourite of Malcolm Tucker's which is obviously highly offensive:

Off you fuck.

Is derived from "Off you go" but is well used in English slang.

1

An answer from the modern vernacular:

"Bye, Felicia"

Coiner Ice Cube says:

I'm mean "Bye, Felicia", right now — that is the phrase to get anybody outta your face that's saying something stupid. Just "Bye, Felicia".

It's a veiled insult on two levels:

  1. The normally polite farewell "bye" is used as a direct command to leave.
  2. You're being addressed as "Felicia". For the majority of the population, that's not your name.
0

My understanding of the original phrase is somewhat different and my answer would be, "Put your money where your mouth is."

  • 1
    Good grief, if Arabic-speakers can't agree what the idiom means, then we're in trouble ;-) – Steve Jessop Jul 15 '15 at 1:28

protected by Matt E. Эллен Jul 15 '15 at 16:40

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