Using Expressions Day-to-Day: Water P.4

Using Expressions Day-to-Day: Water P.4

English

Persian

Audio

To be cheap; stingy; to be a scrooge
آب به امام ندادن؛ آب از دست کسی نچکیدن
To waste one's time; to flog a dead horse
آب در هاون كوبيدن؛ آب را غربال کردن
To be fundamentally flawed; to be rotten to the core
آب از سر چشمه گل‌آلود بودن
To be too little, too late
آب از سر گذشتن چه یک وجب چه صد وجب

آب زير كاه بودن

This idiom translates as ‘the water is under the straw’. It takes its meaning from the process of water wetting straw. Water may rise up from beneath the bale of straw, slowly ruining it. However, it will not become apparent for some time – often not until someone comes along to use it and discovers that most of the straw has been destroyed by the water. The ‘sneaky’ nature of the water under the straw, has thus become an idiomatic expression for those who are considered to be sly.

Photo by Robert Nordahl on Unsplash

آب به امام ندادن؛ آب از دست کسی نچکیدن

These two idioms are used to describe someone who is stingy. The first idiom translates as ‘he/she wouldn’t even give water to an Imam’. The second, ‘water doesn’t drip from his/her hand,’ means that this person is so stingy that they won’t even allow spare drops of water to drip from their hand.   

آب در هاون كوبيدن / آب رو غربال کردن

This expression is used when someone is pursuing a pointless act, for example, pursuing something despite having no talent and, as a result, wasting time. 

 هاون is the Persian word for mortar (as in pestle and mortar). The imagery here, is of someone trying to grind water. Of course, a pointless act. 

غربال means sieve. Sieving water! Again, pointless and a waste of time. 

آب از سر چشمه گل‌آلود بودن

This expression translates as ‘the water is polluted from the spring’s source’. It means that the issue with something is a core issue and, therefore, fixing it will not be possible. In English, when discussing more personal matters, we may say that someone is ‘rotten to core’ (though has very heavy connotations of course!). Whilst when speaking about less personal matters it would be more appropriate to say that something is ‘fundamentally flawed’ or that something is the ‘root cause’ of a problem .

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

آب از سر گذشتن چه یک وجب چه صد وجب

Photo by Alex Gruber on Unsplash

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