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Is there a term to describe a word or idiom that translates literally as one thing, but is actually a specific word in the translated language?

My best example would be 'pomme de terre' from French translating literally as 'ground apple', but would be translated to 'potato'.

Another might be 'pied-à-terre' meaning 'foot on the ground', but meaning something more like 'city house'.

  • There's going to be far too many for a definitive list. 'Metaphor' comes from the Greek 'transport/removal' but has taken the meaning in English of 'transport of meaning' (so metaphor is meta), and that's just one example. – marcellothearcane Sep 30 at 16:32
  • A literal translation might not be the most elegant translation, that is, the most efficient translation: the one that finds the word in the other language that best communicates the thing signified. A "rough" translation might cover it. – Zan700 Sep 30 at 20:27

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