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Ponerle el pecho a las balas

 

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  #1  
Old July 09, 2012, 12:14 PM
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Ponerle el pecho a las balas

I want to find a suitable phrase for Argentine idiom "ponerle el pecho a las balas". I found in other sites and forums that they're claiming it's "to bite the bullet", but that's barely close enough to allow such a deeply mistaken interpretation. "Ponerle el pecho a las balas" has nothing to do with accepting something difficult or unpleasant, but to react in a feisty, bold, even rash manner under pressure or attack. "Ponerle el pecho a las balas" is the opposite of hiding, running away or even giving in.

Is there a similar expression in English?

By the way, about "ponerle" and no "ponerles", another note about the "quality" of other sites, users even dared to react with criticism on speakers, even on Argentines as a whole for -according to them- carelessly using pronouns without coordinating number or gender: "Ponerle el pecho a las balas" is yet another case of pronombre lexicalizado, a feature of Spanish language that is a distant cousin of English phrasal verbs. A pronombre lexicalizado makes to the meaning of the verb and asking for coordination is like asking that something "goes on" on top of something for it to be correct. The same native speakers that label this use as erroneous in other sites, are the same that say "los tres días la pasaron muy bien" instead of "los pasaron muy bien", and a lot of examples that, paid enough attention, would have led them to a carefully weighted opinion.
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  #2  
Old July 09, 2012, 04:35 PM
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There's to "throw all caution to the wind," but that's less specific to a situation of armed combat, though it could be used for one.
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Old July 09, 2012, 05:45 PM
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With Alec's explanation, I think the closest term is to stand up in the line of fire.
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Old July 12, 2012, 03:11 PM
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Thank you both. Both expressions look pretty similar in some situations. I wonder about "to stand up in the line of fire", whether it is not strictly associated with courage and whether it can be used with thoughtless, reckless attitudes or not, and about "to throw all caution to the wind", whether it is not always a deliberate decision, and whether it needs some previous caution [practising the use of whether, as you see]
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Old July 13, 2012, 09:14 AM
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It sounds like you are talking about one step past "courage under fire." They are on the attack while under fire. I'll have to think about that one.
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Old July 13, 2012, 09:18 AM
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Standing up in the line of fire is all about courage and sacrifice. It's about
putting your life on the line for a perceived good cause. Does ponerle el pecho a las balas
have the same meaning?
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Old July 13, 2012, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poli View Post
Standing up in the line of fire is all about courage and sacrifice. It's about
putting your life on the line for a perceived good cause. Does ponerle el pecho a las balas
have the same meaning?
No, it's independent from any moral motivation. It's more like being feisty or reckless, or saying "... shall never surrender or give in" just because being so darn macho.

Here's an example at wordreference. My post is at the end of that thread (I didn't know then nothing formal about pronombres lexicalizados)
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Old July 14, 2012, 10:16 PM
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I think, for a change, your context is going to be your best ally in choosing what goes better in your English expression.

Even if “bite the bullet” is not the best option, I see how it could be used in some specific contexts.

Probably “to take the bull by the horns” would work in many cases, or even saying it literally “to stop the bullets with your chest” simply could probably work in a very informal context.

Short of using “to stick your chest out” (against the bullets) or “to show that one has guts/balls” being a little bit reckless... I’d prefer to “play it close to the vest” (i.e., to avoid taking unnecessary risks), so if you say the opposite, “not playing it close to the vest at all” maybe you can express that feisty, aggressive and exuberant connotation that in Spain we express with “echarse al ruedo” “con un par...”
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Old July 15, 2012, 10:20 PM
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I now think dare devil may work as a translation.
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Old August 11, 2012, 06:15 PM
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Getting one's dander up

This probably isn't exactly what you're looking for,
aleCcowaN, but I couldn't help but think of getting "one's dander up". According to the dictionary:

get someone's dander up and get someone's back up; get someone's hackles up; get someone's Irish up; put someone's back up
Fig. to make someone get angry. (Fixed order.) Now, don't get your dander up. Calm down. I insulted him and really got his hackles up. Bob had his Irish up all day yesterday. I don't know what was wrong. Now, now, don't get your back up. I didn't mean any harm.

Last edited by Rusty; August 11, 2012 at 06:43 PM. Reason: removed link
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