The one who orders everything. Has the final say in everything. Arabic: الأمر الناهي.

1: I say we go to Spain on holiday
2: I'd want that too, but we have to see Mark he's the bidder and forbidder (of all).

Is there anything said in English?

  • Are you asking whether the phrase carries the same meaning in English?
    – deadrat
    Dec 27, 2015 at 1:57
  • @deadrat I just edited my question, but since you brought it up, I'd love to know if it does too.
    – user151577
    Dec 27, 2015 at 2:07
  • 1
    If the reasons for saying yes or no are largely economical, you could say that Mark holds the purse strings. Otherwise, you could say that Mark holds the reigns.
    – J.R.
    Dec 27, 2015 at 2:49
  • @J.R. Holds the reigns? Ah, it is good to be king.
    – deadrat
    Dec 27, 2015 at 3:13
  • @deadrat - Yes, thank you, "holds the reins," I mean. I wish I could say that was a brilliant pun, but in fact it was just a careless typo :^/
    – J.R.
    Dec 27, 2015 at 3:47

3 Answers 3


A commonly used word for that is boss. Often, it means the person you report to at work, but it can also just mean someone who makes the decisions.

I'll have to ask Wilbur if I can take three days of vacation; he's the boss.


You'd better ask Dorothy what she thinks before painting the wall that color. When it comes to decorating around here, she's the boss.


This is an excellent question, and wouldn't it be nice if the phrase "the bidder and forbidder" (i.e., commander to do and the prohibiter to do not) were felicitous. Alas, I fear it is not, and the reason has to do with the meanings of to bid as the word came to us from Old English. As the OED notes, "Here are combined two originally distinct verbs": biódan (command, announce, offer) and biddan (ask, order, require)*. The meaning of offer has given the usages of making an offer of a price in a commercial transaction, as at an auction:

The bidder signaled his offer of $1M for the Van Gogh.

and the offer of greetings:

I bid you good morning

The meaning of command has given us the (now slightly old fashion) meaning of commanding obedience from someone to something:

From The Crucible by Arthur Miller:

Let you consider, now — and I bid you all do likewise — in an ordinary crime, how does one defend the accused?

So the phrase isn't wrong; it's just that the multiple meanings of bid may interfere with its contrast with forbid.

* Translation from "Old English Translator"


The idiom in the US may be 'the man' or 'the Man'. I am not familiar enough with Arabic cultures to be sure, but I think 'the man' might be the equivalent of what you've translated as 'the bidder and forbidder'.

'The man' is used in contemporary US (and elsewhere) English with both positive and negative senses. Context, including tone and emphasis, determines the meaning. The context you've provided,

I say we go to Spain on holiday.
I'd want that too, but we have to see Mark. He's the man.

suggests a respectful, positive meaning, but an ironic or otherwise disrespectful tone might compromise or altogether negate that sense.

As is usual with slang, 'the man' has been and continues to be used with a wide variety of meanings. As explained at Wikipedia:

"The Man" is a slang phrase that may refer to the government or to some other authority in a position of power. In addition to this derogatory connotation, it may also serve as a term of respect and praise.
Use as praise
The term has also been used as an approbation or form of praise. This may refer to ... status as the leader or authority within a particular context, or it might be assumed to be a shortened form of a phrase like "He is the man (who is in charge)."

(Italic emphasis mine.)

This excerpt from Cassell's Dictionary of Slang (Jonathon Green Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2005) will give you an idea of the range of meanings conveyed by the phrase, both historical and contemporary:

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