I need an idiom

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I need an idiom

Post by Archived Topic » Tue Nov 23, 2004 5:57 am

There's a Russian expression which, translated, approximates to "the horse hasn't rolled about yet" -- a colloquial/ironical/perjorative expression that means "nothing has been done so far, it's still a long way before the start or before everything is complete". The origin takes its roots in horses' habitual frolicking and rolling about before they are saddled or have a collar put on, so delaying their work.

I want an English idiom which corresponds to this meaning.

Submitted by Julie Kay (Bronnitsy - Russia)
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I need an idiom

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Nov 23, 2004 6:10 am

Julie,
"Don't count your chickens before they've hatched" comes pretty close.
Something more modern may be "It's not over till it's over."
Reply from Phil White (Munich - Germany)
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I need an idiom

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Nov 23, 2004 6:24 am

Phil, sorry but you mistook my meaning. 'Don't count your chickens before they've hatched' means jubilate or boast about smth that hasn't been finished yet or the result is uncertain as in 'The role is in the bag!' - 'Don't count your chickens before they've hatched, dear. You might get passed over.'
What I am after is to say smth hasn't been started yet or hardly been started. 'I hoped you've finished your project by now but you have hardly started it!' I want an idiomatic expression for 'sb hasn't started smth yet, sb's got a very long way to go' though maybe 'have a long way to go yet' is the answer, on a better thought. If you have any suggestions, please share your ideas with me.
Reply from Julie Kay (Bronnitsy - Russia)
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Post by Archived Reply » Tue Nov 23, 2004 6:37 am

Julie, I don’t know if it would be characterized as an idiom, but the title of that Carpenters song from the 1970s sounds like it might do the trick: “You’ve only just begun.”
______________________

Ken G – December 2, 2004

Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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I need an idiom

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Nov 23, 2004 6:50 am

There are a few other possibilities that are in the area, but do not correspond exactly to what you are after:

"It's a tough row to hoe"
"It's a long, long trail a-winding"
"The best is yet to come"
"The longest journey starts with the first step".

Other than that, "You've hardly begun!" seems to sum up the situation, but is not really an idiom.

It is of course possible that no suitable equivalent idiom exists in English.
Reply from Erik Kowal ( - England)
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I need an idiom

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Nov 23, 2004 7:04 am

Julie, Some other expressions for “I hoped you've finished your project by now but you have hardly started it!” that are closer to being actual idioms, but which I don’t think work as well as my above suggestion“ might be:

“Let’s get the show on the road.”

“Let’s get cracking.”

“Let’s get a move on.”

“Let’s get on the stick.”

“It’s time you set your hand to the plow.”

“Let’s shake a leg.”

“It’s time you stepped on the gas.”
______________________

Ken G – December 2, 2004



Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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I need an idiom

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Nov 23, 2004 7:17 am

Hi Julie,
Do you realise that your use of the phone-texting abbreviations is extremely annoying. It comes across as lazy, especially on a site concerned with correct words!
Anyhow, I disagree with the meaning and sayings already given, and I think you mean something more like the sarcastic comment:
' They've only just gone to catch the fish,' made when inquiring of a dining companion 'I wonder if my steamed Red Snapper is ready yet?'
Sorry, but I can't think of an actual idiom either, although I'm sure there is one.
Reply from Leighton Harris (Cambridge - England)
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I need an idiom

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Nov 23, 2004 7:31 am

Leighton, I am so sorry, I didn't realise it looks untidy or suggests my being lazy, it's just that I am used to those abbreviations bcs I type them ever so often :)

Meanwhile, you're right, I want a derogative/ironical 'and-I thought-they're-finished-with-that!' kind of expression and yours comes the closest to what I mean.
Reply from Julie Kay (Bronnitsy - Russia)
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I need an idiom

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Nov 23, 2004 7:44 am

"Get your act together," "Get off the block," "Get your ass in gear," "Get your head out of your ass," "Get cracking," "Get on your horse" are close but don't quite ring the bell.

A little closer: "The show has (or is) hardly started," "Let's get this show on the road," "Slow off the mark," "Dead in the water (or in its tracks)," "Stuck in neutral"

Julie Kay is a lovely, euphonic name. I will discuss English phrases, slang, neologisms, with you any time: dalehileman@verizon.net
Reply from dale hileman (Apple Valley, CA - U.S.A.)
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I need an idiom

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Nov 23, 2004 7:58 am

Julie, How about:

“At the rate you’re moving, by the time you finish its going to be like having mustard after dinner.” This is from the French expression “c’est de la moutarde après dîner.”

“At the rate you’re going you’ll be finished ‘the day after the fair.’”

“Well, you’re movin’ along on that job about as fast as short legged turtle in a molasses spill.”
______________________

Ken G – December 2. 2003


Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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Post by Archived Reply » Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:11 am

'having mustard after dinner' sounds pretty close to 'after death, the doctor' to convey an idea of irretrievable delay when EVERYTHING is beyond repair, 'too late' in a nutshell.

I think Leighton got me to a T, his 'sarcastic remark' being the closest.

Ken, don't you find 'At the rate you’re moving, by the time you finish its going to be like having mustard after dinner' a bit longish? :) I'd like SOMETHING (ohh, how very unusual it is typing all these long '- things', Leighton, please, have pity and make a concession to me) shorter.

Dale, thanks for your kindest offer, you can always find me at http://www.idioms.ru


Reply from Julie Kay (Bronnitsy - Russia)
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I need an idiom

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:25 am

"But the boss is still on the john?"
"But my Twinkie is still in LA?"
"But my Reeboks are still only R?"
"But my breakfast is still on my chin?"(/shirt)(etc)
"But my minder is out of his mind?" (/ofice)
"But my agent is out of his office?" (/mind)
"But my father is still on the throne?"
"But my mother is still on my chin?"...oh sorry...(maybe not)
"But my pony is still on the john?"
"But my lawyer is still in grad-school?"
"But my ferrule has yet to be turned?" (my favourite)
"But my closet has yet to be closed?"
"But my bantam is subject to hens?"
"I await for my shue to fen?"
"But the finger has yet to be writ?"
"But my writ has yet to be served?"
"But my toad is still in the hole?"

That'll do.
Rob
Reply from Robert Hooey (Asia - Thailand)
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I need an idiom

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:38 am

These guys are GREAT with other people's words, but have no imagination. Dig?
R
Reply from Robert Hooey (Asia - Thailand)
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I need an idiom

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:52 am

Julie, how about "still at Square One" or "still at the starting gate"? Those both imply that nothing (or very little) has yet been accomplished. ("I thought the project would be finished by now, but the team is still at Square One.")
Reply from K. Allen Griffy (Springfield, IL - U.S.A.)
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I need an idiom

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Nov 23, 2004 9:05 am

Rooey, You’re so original and terrific that you oughta take your show on the road! But actually, the request was for an ‘idiom’ and as the ‘Oxford Dictionary of Idioms’ (this may also interest Dale who was asking about this, but probably not you) would seem to imply, the one’s you have just made up don’t quite rise to that level. But I guess playing by the rules isn’t something that would restrain a free spirit such as yourself! (<;)

OXFORD DICTIONARY OF IDIOMS: “An idiom is a form of expression or a phrase peculiar to a language and approved by the usage of that language, and it often has a signification other than its grammatical or logical one. In practical terms this includes a wide range of expressions that have become in some sense ‘fossilized’ within the language and are used in a fixed or semi-fixed way without reference to the literal meaning of their component words.”
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Ken G – December 2, 2004

Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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