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A man of all men

 

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 May 12, 2010, 05:23 PM
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A man of all men

How would you translate this English expression (he is a man of all men) into Spanish?
The idea I get is that the person you are talking about is an example for all other men, a leader, an individual worth following or learning from. I have seen the expression referring to Paul Newman and other iconic individuals, but then again, there are more "classic" or "Biblic" usages of it referring to Adam, or to Jesus. I have not been able to readily find a definition for the expression. If anyone has a reference or "authoritative" definition, that will be appreciated. I would say that "Rafa Nadal is a man of all men, if we are talking about tennis on clay surface..."
Maybe in Spanish we could say "él es un hombre donde los haya", or "tenista por excelencia, donde los haya" o "tenista con T mayúscula, donde los haya".
¿Qué piensan mis viejos y nuevos amigos de los foros?
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  #2  
Old May 12, 2010, 09:27 PM
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The phrase is more common with the definite article - 'the man of all men'.
Others like it:
the teacher of all teachers
the lady of all ladies
the jewel of all jewels

The phrase establishes the subject as the epitome of all the rest. (epitome = exemplification, model, quintessence, typification, embodiment)

You can translate the phrase as el hombre de los hombres or el hombre de todos los hombres. You could also use el hombre de hombres, but that doesn't seem to be as popular.

The last translation above is very much like "el rey de reyes" (the king of kings). This phrase is most often attributed to Jesus Christ, but the other variations are also heard (el rey de los reyes, el rey de todos los reyes).

Last edited by Rusty; May 12, 2010 at 09:30 PM.
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Old May 13, 2010, 12:54 AM
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el prototipo ("es el prototipo de dama educada")
el rey de reyes.
otros:
el típico ejemplo
la referencia habitual


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Old May 13, 2010, 03:39 PM
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Thank you very much to both of you, Rusty and Sosia. Your options are very helpful. Got it on "the" as in "THE man"... (I took the usage of 'a man of all men', because that's the way the American person said it in the video I was translating...)
Reading your answers, reminded me too of the word "arquetipo", and also the word "espejo" (a little bit dated, as in el Quixote: "espejo de la Caballería andante".)
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Old May 13, 2010, 04:22 PM
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Another one, very common to say the same is:
[Él] "Es un hombre como pocos" "(literally: "It's a man as there are few" not sure... it sounds strange?)
or
[Él] "Es un hombre entre hombres" ("It's a man between man" wouldl be literally, I don't know if in English it works)
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Last edited by ookami; May 13, 2010 at 04:28 PM.
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Old May 13, 2010, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ookami View Post
Another one, very common to say the same is:
[Él] "Es un hombre como pocos" "(literally: "It's a man as there are few" not sure... it sounds strange?) There are few like him. A man like that is a rare find. Men like him are far and few between.
or
[Él] "Es un hombre entre hombres" ("It's a man between man" wouldl be literally, I don't know if in English it works) He's a man among men.
Some translation ideas above.
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Old May 14, 2010, 01:13 AM
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Thanks Rusty
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'Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.' M.A.
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Old May 15, 2010, 01:58 PM
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Hey, Ookami, "Es un hombre como pocos" is a very good and idiomatic idea. Thank you and thank you, Rusty.
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