26 October 2008

I was sitting up last night trying to read my Raymond Chandler, but I ended up paging through my 4th edition University of Chicago English-Spanish dictionary instead, last updated in 1987, which has a directory of colloquial sayings. I was looking for le eché la vista encima (for reasons I’ve gone on about at length), but as soon as I read this one I got distracted:

Cada muerte de obispo.

Literally, Every death of a bishop; the dictionary lists it next to “Once in a blue moon,” though I like the invocation of apostolic governance better. I imagine gilded coffins & lillies & red velvet presiding over every rare event now.

My other favorites: Dar calabazas, “to give pumpkins,” – to give the brush-off, to avoid, to spurn.

Hacer buenas migas – to make good migas, or “to go well together”.  Migas being (I was described the method at length one day in my 1º de ESO A section) a catch-all rainy day food you make  with stale breadcrumbs dampened & dabbed with salt & paprika, left to soak under a wet towel and then fried up in a pan with olive oil, chorizo, eggs, peppers, garlic, & anything else you have left in the pantry.

Your spouse, your better half, is a media naranja – half an orange. To shoot someone point-blank? A quemarropa – to the point of leaving powder burns from the gun-barrel on clothing.

Almost better than the Spanish colloquialisms, though, were the English equivalents I had never heard before:

To be between the devil and the deep blue sea.
To be all talk & no cider.
To give one the mitten.

And (most enigmatically):

(To say one is) from Missouri.

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