Ask a Question

(Create a thread)
Go Back   Spanish language learning forums > Spanish & English Languages > Vocabulary > Idioms & Sayings

Left-handed compliment


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.

Closed Thread
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old September 17, 2016, 04:49 PM
poli's Avatar
poli poli is offline
rule 1: gravity
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: In and around New York
Posts: 7,423
Native Language: English
poli will become famous soon enoughpoli will become famous soon enough
Left-handed compliment

This is a compliment that isn't a compliment at all. In fact it may be a dig. A dig is something said that's meant to hurt. Is there a term for this in Spanish?
Me ayuda si corrige mis errores. Gracias.
Get rid of these ads by registering for a free Tomísimo account.
Old September 17, 2016, 05:46 PM
aleCcowaN's Avatar
aleCcowaN aleCcowaN is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Posts: 3,116
Native Language: Castellano
aleCcowaN is on a distinguished road
un falso cumplido (if it's something subtle)
un agravio disfrazado de cumplido (if it's offensive)
Old October 03, 2016, 04:20 PM
JPablo's Avatar
JPablo JPablo is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Southern California
Posts: 5,579
Native Language: Spanish (Castilian, peninsular)
JPablo is on a distinguished road
Well, a dig, as I understand it, in Spanish would be something like "un pinchazo". In the sense that Moliner gives for "pinchar", as in, 5 Mortificar, provocar o zaherir. Decirle o hacerle a alguien cosas para que se enfade.

"Zaherir", even if a bit dated, means to "hurt", normally by saying or doing something to humiliate or mortify.

It will be also something like "una pulla".

Moliner gives for "pulla",

pulla1 (del port. pulha) 1 f. Dicho agudo con que se zahiere a alguien. Dicho agudo y gracioso con que se zahiere a alguien en broma. 1 *Broma, burla, chanza, chirigota. 2 Alfilerazo, chafaldita, chilindrina, puntada, puyazo, rehilete, remoque, remoquete, rentoy, vareta.

"Alfilerazo" is one that is used in Spain, as something said that is meant to hurt. Like "pulla".

"Puntada" is similar to "indirecta", in the sense, that just nonchalantly, one says something, to bring up some subject that may be uncomfortable to the listener...

"Soltar una indirecta", is like "to drop a hint", but I believe in Spanish is "stronger" than "just a hint", it could be like the lady who comes to visit Jaimito's mother:

--Jaimito, sé bueno, y no le vayas a decir nada a la madre del bebito que ha nacido sin orejas, que nos viene a visitar...

--No te preocupes, mamá, no diré nada de las orejas.

La visita va bien, y cuando ya están a punto de irse, Jaimito le dice a la nueva madre del bebé sin orejas:

--Bueno, señora, ¡que Santa Lucía le conserve la vista al niño!
--¿Y eso?
--Bueno, es que si no, no habrá forma de sostenerle la gafas...


No es que sea muy fuerte, pero es una ligera "puntada"... (acaban hablando del problema de las orejas, sin mencionarlo...)
Lo propio de la verdad es que se basta a sí misma, aquel que la posee no intenta convencer a nadie.
"An enemy is somebody who flatters you. A friend is somebody who criticizes the living daylights out of you."
Old October 27, 2016, 03:03 PM
Sancho Panther's Avatar
Sancho Panther Sancho Panther is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Reino Unido
Posts: 487
Native Language: Inglés
Sancho Panther is on a distinguished road
Are you sure you don't mean a "Back-handed compliment"? That's an expression widely used in the UK; usually implying 'to damn with faint praise'.

'Your hair's a bit nicer than it was', 'the team played a bit than they have been doing', that sort of thing.
Me ayudaríais si me hicierais el favor de corregir mis errores.
Old October 27, 2016, 05:52 PM
poli's Avatar
poli poli is offline
rule 1: gravity
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: In and around New York
Posts: 7,423
Native Language: English
poli will become famous soon enoughpoli will become famous soon enough
Your can use both left handed and back handed compliment in the United States. They both mean an insult disguised as a compliment.
Me ayuda si corrige mis errores. Gracias.
Closed Thread

Bookmark this thread at:


Link to this thread
HTML Link: 
BB Code: 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Site Rules

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
She has left us for a few days Xinfu Grammar 4 July 24, 2013 02:17 AM
Left hanging Elaina Translations 11 March 12, 2011 12:09 AM
Difference between on the right/left and to the right/left ROBINDESBOIS Grammar 9 March 04, 2010 11:28 AM
To take something as a compliment bmarquis124 Vocabulary 8 February 05, 2009 11:41 AM

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:25 PM.

Forum powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.