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A río revuelto, ganancia de pescadores

 

An idiom is an expression whose meaning is not readily apparent based on the individual words in the expression. This forum is dedicated to discussing idioms and other sayings.


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  #1  
Old January 14, 2012, 03:35 AM
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A río revuelto, ganancia de pescadores

I'm looking for its English equivalent -which is not "fishing in troubled waters"-.

Our saying -become an idiom- implies that only outsiders have sure winnings when a civil war or turmoil arise, or any internal conflict in a family, company or group emerge.

Unlike the phrase in English, no risk or chance is associated with those "pescadores".
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Old January 14, 2012, 04:39 AM
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I suspect there is no alternative to

The devil loves to fish in troubled waters

which is a quotation from John Trapp in his commentary on the bible. His quotations have infiltrated English to such an extent that an alternative is unlikely, though of course I could be wrong.
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Old January 14, 2012, 06:08 PM
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I have heard it as Every cloud has a silver lining but do not necessarily agree, since to me at least, it's a way of expressing how opportunistic people take advantage of others who have fallen on hard times. No corresponding English idiom comes to mind right away, but perhaps a Spanish one would be - correct me if I'm wrong - En tiempo de remolino, sube la basura.

Last edited by Glen; January 14, 2012 at 08:15 PM.
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Old January 15, 2012, 03:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen View Post
I have heard it as Every cloud has a silver lining but do not necessarily agree, since to me at least, it's a way of expressing how opportunistic people take advantage of others who have fallen on hard times.
I find that a really odd interpretation, to be honest. It's generally understood that no matter how bad things are, they will get better.
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Old January 15, 2012, 03:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
I suspect there is no alternative to

The devil loves to fish in troubled waters

which is a quotation from John Trapp in his commentary on the bible. His quotations have infiltrated English to such an extent that an alternative is unlikely, though of course I could be wrong.
Yes, thanks, that's about the meaning. I've seen "fishing in troubled waters" as a standalone idiom meaning "trying to get something from a conflict" which looks as making hay. The Spanish idiom tries to warn on the deleterious effects of intestine conflicts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen View Post
I have heard it as Every cloud has a silver lining but do not necessarily agree, since to me at least, it's a way of expressing how opportunistic people take advantage of others who have fallen on hard times. No corresponding English idiom comes to mind right away, but perhaps a Spanish one would be - correct me if I'm wrong - En tiempo de remolino, sube la basura.
I always regarded that idiom as Perikles told. I heard it first time in Paul Williams' render of "Lucky Old Sun", when I was a kid:

"Good Lord of mine
Can't you see I'm tired
Tears are in my eyes
Send down that cloud with a silver lining
Take me to paradise"

Later I learnt it was something similar to "it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good". But, that's the problem with idioms from one language to another: they seem to be standing on a different point of view and having different contexts in mind.

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Originally Posted by chileno View Post
Troubled waters, fisherman's gain.
Would be that understood as a proverb? I googled it and find it to be a literal translation of the Spanish idiom. Even a page in Greek which title started with "Argentina" or a word derived from it (Αργεντινή).
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Old January 14, 2012, 08:31 PM
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The wise take advantage of turmoil.

Troubled waters, fisherman's gain.
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Old January 15, 2012, 06:54 AM
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Oh, you are looking for an equivalent proverb.

I don't think it is a proverb or recognized as such.
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Old January 16, 2012, 07:22 AM
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It is true that not all idioms translate, although obviously many do.
A close one in English to the Argentinian idiom is: to the victors go the
spoils.

The difference it that the victor may have faced danger as well.

The term fat cat refers to a person who profits from others' toil and
trouble. So you may hear something like: we lost our sons and daughters to the war
while that fat cat CEO of (fill in the blank) made millions in profit at our expense.
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Last edited by poli; January 16, 2012 at 07:41 AM. Reason: typo
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Old January 17, 2012, 04:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poli View Post
It is true that not all idioms translate, although obviously many do.
A close one in English to the Argentinian idiom is: to the victors go the
spoils.
"Los despojos pertenecen al vencedor" -or more informally "el ganador se queda con el botín"- points to one of the outcomes of open confrontation. The idiom "a río revuelto, ganancia de pescadores" points that whether a civil war or a family feud, those who benefit are not those who strive the most but they are probably outsiders holding a comfortable position.

This is a general Spanish idiom. It's in many books available through Google books, including "Colección de refranes, adagios y locuciones proverbiales" by Antonio Jiménez, 1828, Spain. It's available as a free E-book.
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Old January 17, 2012, 06:34 AM
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In that case the pescadores are clearly the English equivalents of fat cats. The whole phrase may not be commonly used but the circumstance of the pescador certainly is.

Here's a wiki article about the term:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_cat_(term)

further illustration
http://www.wordhippo.com/what-is/sen.../fat_cats.html
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Last edited by poli; January 17, 2012 at 06:37 AM.
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