θ' αφήσουμε το γάμο να πάμε για πουρνάρια -> settle for second best

banned8 · 16 · 8551

banned8

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This thread is dedicated to our good friend Bill!

Πουρνάρι (or, less commonly, πρινάρι): a common name for the kermes oak (Quercus coccifera) or its variety, the Palestine Oak (Quercus calliprinos). (NOT the holm oak that you’ll find in most dictionaries.) Πρίνος in Theophrastus.

For probable background to the origin of the phrase, I’ll refer to a wedding custom:

Στη συνέχεια φίλοι και συγγενείς της νύμφης εν πομπή, κουβαλούσαν με άμαξα τα προιτζιά [προικιά, dowry] και τα έπιπλα της νύμφης από το πατρικό της, στο καινούργιο της σπίτι όπου θα έμενε με τον σύζυγο της μετά το γάμο. Και ενώ γινόντουσαν όλα αυτά στο πατρικό σπίτι της νύμφης, ο γαμπρός με τους φίλους του, πήγαιναν για... πουρνάρια σε κάποιο κοντινό δάσος ή στο βουνό και μάζευαν ξύλα για τον φούρνο και μαζιά ή θρουμπιά (πουρνάρια) για προσάναμμα, αλλά και για να χρησιμοποιηθούν ως καθίσματα για τους καλεσμένους (Λύση - Αμμοχώστου).
http://www.achilleous.com/toloipon/gamos.htm

A translation for it might be “give up the real thing and settle for something second-rate”. I’d love to see better suggestions, as the phrase is not to be found in any of the Greek-English dictionaries I’m familiar with.

In Hyperides (Fragmenta), we find the ancient Greek phrase:
 
ἀφεὶς τὴν ὑπέραν τὸν πόδα διώκει

where (the information here from LSJ) υπέρα is the rope, usually in the plural, braces, attached to the ends of the saildyards, by means of which the sails are shifted fore and aft, according to the direction of the wind; and πους is a lower corner of the sail or the rope fastened thereto, by which the sails are tightened or slackened. The phrase literally means “he lets go the brace to catch at the sheet” and, according to LSJ, it is used of those who drop the substance to grasp a shadow.
« Last Edit: 02 Dec, 2011, 20:00:33 by spiros »


wings

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Υπενθυμίζω την παρεμφερή φράση «εδώ καράβια χάνονται, βαρκούλες αρμενίζουν». Υπάρχει κι άλλη, βέβαια, αλλά δεν τη λέω εδώ γιατί θα εκτεθούμε.:-)




wings

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Μ' αρέσει που εγώ ντράπηκα να πω την τρίτη εκδοχή της παροιμίας. Αίσχος, Μπιλ!!!



banned8

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Ντροπή μου και του πρόστυχου μυαλού μου!

Αυτό, μην προσπαθείς να το αποκωδικοποιήσεις, Βίκη.


wings

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treandafilia

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  • Eις μνήμην της Treandafilia Groves (1841-1875)
A translation for it might be “give up the real thing and settle for something second-rate”. I’d love to see better suggestions, as the phrase is not to be found in any of the Greek-English dictionaries I’m familiar with.

This sentiment appears in Aesop's fable of the dog and the bone:

It happened that a Dog had got a bone and was carrying it home in his mouth to eat it in peace. Now on his way home he had to cross a plank lying across a running brook. As he crossed, he looked down and saw his own reflection in the water beneath.

Thinking it was another dog with another bone, he made up his mind to have that also. So he made a snap at the reflection in the water, but as he opened his mouth the bone out, dropped into the water and was never seen more.
 
Moral: You may lose what you have by grasping for more.
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;


banned8

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This is more appropriate for «Όποιος θέλει τα πολλά, χάνει και τα λίγα». But thank you all the same. Especially for turning up after such a long absence.


Philip

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  • μεγαλώνουν, μεγαλώνουν ...
Maybe just "settle for second-best", as in "I wouldn't/surely you're not going to/no way am I going to  (etc)  settle for second best"
But how shall men meditate in that, which they cannot understand? How shall they understand that which is kept close in an unknown tongue?

THE TRANSLATORS TO THE READER
Preface to the King James Version 1611



Carolyn

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  • Sailing off into the sunset...
Maybe just "settle for second-best", as in "I wouldn't/surely you're not going to/no way am I going to  (etc)  settle for second best"

Exactly what I would have proposed too. I don't think there is an expression with such a strong cultural reference in English. I did try looking through expression search sites with second best as keywords but came up with nothing.


user3

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I beg to disagree with Nickel, but in my book αφήνω το γάμο να
πάω για πουρνάρια does not mean "settle for second best".
It means neglecting one's urgent and vital task and dealing
with trivial things instead. To quote the authority (Politis):
επί των αμελούντων των αναγκαίων και σπουδαίων έργων,
ασχολουμένων δε παρά καιρόν με επουσιώδη, ως ο εν
ημέρα τελέσεως γάμων μεταβαίνων εις το δάσος προς συλλογήν
καυσοξύλων (Π.Π., αφίνω 4).

Let me also add that in my humble opinion the proposed origin of the phrase
is probably just only a folk etymology.


banned8

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I am obviously the one responsible for the misunderstanding as in my text this ("settling for second best") was the obvious meaning.

Great! We're now on the hunt for a translation of the original sense.

(Συγχωρήστε με, πάω για πουρνάρια τώρα.)


Philip

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  • μεγαλώνουν, μεγαλώνουν ...
Maybe it's just one of those metaphorical expressions which different people use and interpret in different ways.  Cf in English "a rolling stone gathers no moss" - this could have a positive sense (you keep actively doing things and δεν μουχλιάζεις), or negative: you will never accumulate knowledge, wisdom or whatever, if you have a short attention span. 



"Hit me" said the masochist.  "Shan't" said the sadist. ;-)))
But how shall men meditate in that, which they cannot understand? How shall they understand that which is kept close in an unknown tongue?

THE TRANSLATORS TO THE READER
Preface to the King James Version 1611


Carolyn

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  • Sailing off into the sunset...
Maybe it's just one of those metaphorical expressions which different people use and interpret in different ways. 

I agree, because just this morning I asked a Greek person about this expression, and his explanation matches the 'settling for second best' meaning.


 

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