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86 votes
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Would there be a way to make the joke "Ella es mi amiga vieja, disculpe, mi vieja amiga" work in English?

In British English, I think one would actually double down on the joke, thus making it absurd and therefore more obviously a joke: She is my old friend, and I've known her for ages as well. An "...
Andrew Leach's user avatar
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25 votes

Idiom for being watched after your bad actions

Keeping someone on a short leash is a way of saying they are being closely supervised or controlled in some way to make sure they don't do something bad. It doesn't necessarily mean they have already ...
Nuclear Hoagie's user avatar
21 votes
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Idiom for being watched after your bad actions

On probation is an idiomatic expression that can be used. Note that this expression has different senses and Merriam Webster lists the relevant sense as below: being watched for a period of time ...
ermanen's user avatar
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21 votes

Idiom for being watched after your bad actions

"To be on thin ice" or "to be skating on thin ice" is what I think you are looking for. It's used in a similar context (mother to teenager) to mean "if I catch you screwing up ...
machoman's user avatar
  • 211
20 votes

What is an English equivalent of 'Colorín, Colorado, este cuento se ha acabado,' a phrase used at the end of stories?

The Spanish phrase is a rhyme which evokes childhood memories because many folk stories used to end in that way. Nowadays, in normal speech, it is used in a humorous way to say that something is ...
fev's user avatar
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20 votes
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Idiom for frustrating someone else's plans by taking what the other person wanted in the first place

I believe the closest idiom is beat someone to the punch. The idiom is originated from boxing, where it literally means a boxer lands a punch before their opponent could. Another version is beat ...
ermanen's user avatar
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20 votes
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Idiomatic expression for "putting off a task until a disaster strikes"

‘A stitch in time saves nine’ expresses essentially the same idea: a preventive fix done early is much easier than an emergency fix after disaster strikes. The main difference is the temporal ...
PLL's user avatar
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20 votes

The words to describe a slave's mentality

You could use servility: the quality of being servile (= too eager to serve and please someone else ): The world they want to create is one of constant submission and servility. (Cambridge) As you ...
fev's user avatar
  • 34.5k
19 votes

Idiomatic expression for "putting off a task until a disaster strikes"

Shut the stable door after the horse has bolted seems quite close to your intended meaning.
Kate Bunting's user avatar
19 votes
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Etymology and Elizabethan English connotations of "sat at meat" (Mark 2:15, KJV)

Jesus is having a meal. When learning Middle English (the English that was common from about 1100-1500, just before the period we're discussing), I was taught to be skeptical of false friends, or ...
TaliesinMerlin's user avatar
18 votes
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What is an English equivalent of 'Colorín, Colorado, este cuento se ha acabado,' a phrase used at the end of stories?

There is a rhyming phrase that can be considered an equivalent phrase in English, used in story endings: Snip, snap, snout, This tale's told out. One of the sources where it is mentioned is a blog ...
ermanen's user avatar
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16 votes

Idiom for Spanish ‘no escupas para arriba’ (i.e., ‘be careful with the harm you do, it could come back at you’)

I can think of nothing phrased as an instruction in the same way, but I think "what goes around, comes around" is a pretty good fit. The idea is that whatever badness you do to others will ...
Mark Foskey's user avatar
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14 votes

What is an English equivalent of 'Colorín, Colorado, este cuento se ha acabado,' a phrase used at the end of stories?

There isn't any widely used phrase. As for something lesser known, the ending of The Iron Stove by the Brothers Grimm fits the format, even matching the rhyme from the Spanish: A mouse did run, The ...
Laurel's user avatar
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14 votes

Idiom for frustrating someone else's plans by taking what the other person wanted in the first place

steal someone's thunder means to do what someone else was going to do before they do it, especially if this takes success or praise away from them. Examples: You have a significant part to play in ...
Graffito's user avatar
  • 13.2k
13 votes

Idiom for Spanish ‘no escupas para arriba’ (i.e., ‘be careful with the harm you do, it could come back at you’)

I think "You reap what you sow" is a common phrase that has the meaning you requested. You reap what you sow. I believe it comes from the Bible, Galations 6:7 (KJV) Galations 6:7 - Be not ...
James's user avatar
  • 3,751
13 votes

Idiom for “pretending to like someone when you actually hate them”

Two-faced The idea being that you have one face for the presence of the person, and another when they are not there. Wolf in sheep's clothing This is a bit more sinister, but it still applies. The ...
Machavity's user avatar
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12 votes

How can I improve my translation of Beowulf's first few lines?

Is there a better way to translate hronrade? I think there is. You can go literal with "whale road" (a famous Old English kenning, a figurative trope similar in style to Homer's use of ...
Robusto's user avatar
  • 152k
12 votes

Would there be a way to make the joke "Ella es mi amiga vieja, disculpe, mi vieja amiga" work in English?

At the opposite end of the spectrum from the doubling-down on the joke that Andrew Leach offered is a kind of doubling where perhaps only the look on your face, or your delivery, would let the ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 2,999
12 votes

Idiom for “pretending to like someone when you actually hate them”

Grin and bear it is an idiom that can be used, especially in your boss example where you have to put up with a boss you hate in a workplace because you have to. grin and bear it idiom : to accept ...
ermanen's user avatar
  • 63.3k
11 votes

How would you name the different types of periods? ~ Translating ‘punto seguido’, ‘punto y aparte’ and ‘punto final’

In English, we can distinguish the sentences within a paragraph, such as the first or opening sentence, the last or closing sentence, and often a topic sentence that states the main idea of the ...
DjinTonic's user avatar
  • 21.9k
11 votes

The words to describe a slave's mentality

The word subservient conjures up the abject state of the downtrodden: From Merriam-Webster [bolding mine]: How is the word subservient distinct from other similar adjectives? Some common synonyms of ...
Edwin Ashworth's user avatar
10 votes
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Is there a popular expression in English equivalent of Russian "water wears away a stone"?

This is the English rendering of a Latin saying of Ovid the poet, but it is used: Dripping water hollows out stone, [not through force but through persistence]. ― Ovid (GoodReads) OxfordReference ...
fev's user avatar
  • 34.5k
10 votes

What is an English equivalent of 'Colorín, Colorado, este cuento se ha acabado,' a phrase used at the end of stories?

No, there isn't. As you correctly state, the traditional ending that fulfils the same role in English is "... and they all lived happily ever after". While there are other endings that ...
Jack Aidley's user avatar
  • 1,781
10 votes

Idiom for frustrating someone else's plans by taking what the other person wanted in the first place

The metaphorical broadening of 'cut in on' has the meaning 'take another's [rightful / better deserved / established] place': cut in [intransitive verb] [often on someone] 1: to thrust oneself into a ...
Edwin Ashworth's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Idiomatic word/expression for someone ‘who has no feeling for the game’ - Translation of Spanish ‘pechofrío’

If you want a slang expression for someone that is not putting in the required effort, or showing very little interest, I would say a good one is "half-ass." Please note this is considered ...
DanM87's user avatar
  • 131
10 votes
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How would you name the different types of periods? ~ Translating ‘punto seguido’, ‘punto y aparte’ and ‘punto final’

As others have posted, English does not have different names for periods in different positions. However, possibly relevant: I use speech recognition software and dictate much of what I would ...
Krazy Glew's user avatar
10 votes

The words to describe a slave's mentality

So basically the crux of the question is this: The oppressive policies of the state have stripped the men of their worth and reduced them to mere puppets. Since the writer in question is urging them ...
user405662's user avatar
  • 9,833
9 votes

Would there be a way to make the joke "Ella es mi amiga vieja, disculpe, mi vieja amiga" work in English?

Putting the same adjective old after the noun friend does not work. The syntactic switch is not generative in the way it is in French or Spanish. So you may have to rely on another element of language ...
TaliesinMerlin's user avatar
9 votes

Idiom for “pretending to like someone when you actually hate them”

Frenemy is a portmanteau of the words friend and enemy that would fit what you are describing. It's very informal and is considered slang, and may not be very widely used, but is worth noting in my ...
eerp11's user avatar
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