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I am looking for an expression equivalent to this term as used in Argentina (and potentially other places.

The Free Dictionary translates it as out of the way or out of [one's] way. This matches RAE's definitions.

However, a common use of this term not captured there is to refer to a place that is not necessarily far, but inconvenient to get to from your starting point (regardless of whether it's out of your way)

For example, because of one-way streets that force you to take a long detour, or public transportation not reaching one of the places, or not having a good connection between them.

We would specifically say

No es lejos, pero es a trasmano

It's not far, but it's ...

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    The normal usage of out of the way would cover this usage as well; more formal usage might have it inconvenient to get to or difficult to get to. (No references available [anecdotal], so comment rather than answer) – Jeff Zeitlin Aug 4 '17 at 11:49
  • @JeffZeitlin I'm not sure about out of the way, as it seems (to me) to imply it's just inconvenient for you. I might be wrong. The other usages would need an extra ... from [place]. Because this usage is relative: it might be really easy and fast to get to the place if you are coming from the other side of the city. So I'm looking for a shorter term :-) – Diego Mijelshon Aug 4 '17 at 11:58
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    I'm a native speaker of English, and I live in a city where this sort of situation is common. Yes, they're all relative usages (out of the way [for me for now], difficult/inconvenient to get to [from here]), but that's normally understood. Nevertheless, the usages given are what you'll normally hear; to the best of my knowledge, there's no particular phrase to describe what you're seeking. – Jeff Zeitlin Aug 4 '17 at 12:02
  • @JeffZeitlin wanna turn this into an answer? – Diego Mijelshon Aug 4 '17 at 12:03
  • Done, after checking with some co-workers who are native Spanish speakers. – Jeff Zeitlin Aug 4 '17 at 12:13
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I’ve checked with a few native Spanish speakers; while ... es a trasmano is not normal usage in their particular dialects, they all agree that the best English translation is, in fact, out of the way or difficult (or inconvenient) to get to, with the understanding that this is a relative value judgement - that is, it may be inconvenient or roundabout to get to from here, but it may not be so from another location.

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In Britain we have the expression...

go (all) round the houses - to take a route that is much longer than necessary
(Cambridge Dictionary)

...for example...

It's actually not far away, but you'll need to go round the houses to get there from here.

According to Cambridge Dictionary, the American equivalent is go around Robin Hood's barn, but I must admit I'm not familiar with that one (what's Robin Hood doing in America?).


Not sure if it's relevant here, but there's also idiomatic off the beaten track (US beaten path).

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  • off the beaten track/path seems absolute instead of relative. "Go round the houses" is nice, albeit long when used to describe the place (i.e. not much better than "inconvenient to get to from [place]" – Diego Mijelshon Aug 4 '17 at 13:15
  • @Diego: As I understand it, you're looking for a way to describe the fact that some "destination" is quite nearby as the crow flies, but the only way to actually get there is by a very circuitous route. To my mind, off the beaten track primarily alludes to the idea that not many people ever go there, regardless of how "direct" the route might be. – FumbleFingers Aug 4 '17 at 14:11
  • I've never heard the usage "go around Robin Hood's barn", nor the BrE "go round the houses". "off the beaten track" is used here, but carries the implication that it's not nearby, and not in an area normally visited - the 'beaten track' is the main travel route, and one would have to leave the main routes to find a place that's "off the beaten track". The querent suggests that the the destination to which "a trasmano" applies isn't necessarily "off the beaten track", merely that it's awkward to get to because of imposed obstacles. – Jeff Zeitlin Aug 4 '17 at 14:58

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