When someone is really resilient, to the point that it seems no disaster could destroy them, Egyptians use this idiom, which means that even when they fall, they do not end up flat on the ground; they fall on their feet (just like Batman when he falls from the 100th floor and still somehow ends up on his feet smashing the ground around him). Is there an idiom in English anywhere close to this meaning?


"The recession has hit his business hard."
"Oh don't worry. He is a savvy entrepreneur; he falls standing."

  • 3
    He's a regular Chumbawamba. More of a joke, but I think most English-speaking people would understand. Commented May 14, 2023 at 2:21
  • 3
    @SpehroPefhany that one will be very age dependent. I'd have understood it, but I was born in 1980. I doubt anyone more than ~5 years older/younger than I would recognize the reference.
    – terdon
    Commented May 15, 2023 at 13:35
  • @terdon - how very dare you? I'm nearly a decade and a half older than you and I got it straight away - that record was pervasively catchy, horribly annoying, and utterly ubiquitous; surely no-one who was over five years old at the time it came out can or will ever forget it! :-D
    – Spratty
    Commented May 15, 2023 at 15:20
  • 2
    What is the Arabic for the original expression?
    – Prometheus
    Commented May 15, 2023 at 16:00
  • 1
    @Prometheus - بيقع واقف
    – Adam
    Commented May 21, 2023 at 22:33

3 Answers 3


You could say that he always lands on his feet. TfD defines this as:

To end up in a positive or comfortable position after being involved in a bad or difficult situation.


Another metaphor is come up smelling of roses.

come up smelling of roses

to be in a better or stronger situation than before, after experiencing a difficult situation

  • Ellis, who was sacked on Monday, has come up smelling of roses. He has been taken on by a rival company and his financial package is even healthier.

[Collins Easy Learning Idioms Dictionary.]

Though there is often the implication that someone's threatened reputation comes through intact, there does not need to be.

  • Whoever is rewarded for taking the risk when push comes to shove in tonight's final round will come up smelling of roses.

Times, Sunday Times (2007); via Collins]

  • Hearts had struggled to gain any real foothold in the game but, ... [they] staged another dramatic late show as they rallied.... Hearts entered extra-time with renewed vigour and they were rewarded as the clock ticked down. An almighty rammy in the area, which saw the ball rattle the cross bar, ended with Zaliukas providing the decisive strike.... After a fraught night, it was Hearts who came up smelling of roses.

[The Herald; Feb 2012]


From dictionary.com:

What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger

What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger comes from an aphorism of the 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. It has been translated into English and quoted in several variations, but is generally used as an affirmation of resilience.

Another idiom is tough as nails.
Example : Jamison is tough as nails. She survived a near-fatal car accident and got better after relentless therapy.

You may also see the Light At The End Of The Tunnel, meaning that bad days will hopefully end.

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