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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-19-2003, 02:58 AM Thread Starter
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Cats in Vietnamese idioms

I know only one English idiom related to cat: "it rains cats and dogs". In Vietnamese language in general and Vietnamese literature in particular, there are also idioms with cat images. For example:


Con mèo m* trèo cây cau
Hỏi thăm chú chuột đi đâu vắng nh*.
Chú chuột đi chợ đường xa
Mua mắm mua muối giỗ cha chú mèo.



This is a folk-song, or I think it's a fable poem, about cat and mouse. I can't make it become an English poem but I try to translate it plainly.


A cat climbed to an areca to ask after a mouse.
The cat was amazed because the mouse went out of the house.
In fact, the mouse was going to a distant market
To buy goods for the death anniversary of cat's father.



Many people argue about the meaning of this folk-song but nobody can explain exactly. They can agree only one point that it's an interesting poem.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 05:23 AM
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cats in vietnamese idioms

That's an intruiging poem. I guess its trying to say that you shouldn't make assumptions abouts people's motives.

I can think of another English idiom 'To let the cat out of the bag', meaning to accidentaly reveal a secret or deception. It's supposed to originate from when small animals were sold in markets in sacks. Dishonest traders would sell a bag pretending it contained a small pig, when really there would just be a stray cat inside. If the cat managed to get out of the bag and show itself before the money changed hands, the deception would be revealed. Hence, 'Let the cat our of the bag'

Also, what about 'The Cat's Whiskers' or (more old-fashioned) 'The Cat's Pyjamas' meaning looking really smart.

Or - 'A cat can look at a King', 'Curiosity Killed the Cat' 'Not a Cat in ****'s chance'. There are quite a few, now I come to think of it
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 07:30 AM
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Don't forgot "curiosity killed the cat".
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-24-2003, 12:34 AM
 
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Neat poem.

Here are more cat-isms:

The cat's got your tongue
Nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs
More than one way to skin a cat (yes, that one's gross)
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-24-2003, 09:01 AM
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"Quick as a cat" is another one. Its interesting about the cat in the bag deal, I didn't know thats how it got started! You learn something new all the time
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-26-2003, 09:09 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kristi
The cat's got your tongue

Is the meaning of its "silent", Kristi?
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-26-2003, 11:23 AM
 
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Tio, yes that phrase means "silent", but more specifically means "why do you not speak?" It is often used when a person cannot answer a question or reply to a witty comment.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-07-2004, 09:32 PM
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Curiosity killed the cat
But satisfaction brought it back!

Shannon
Loving her cat Stormy and missing her angel cat Justin 1-13-09
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-06-2004, 04:10 AM
 
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"Not enough room to swing a cat"

Which I think originates from the Cat 'o Nine Tails
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