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Re: The proverbial buffalo

Posted by john on April 16, 2010 at 17:58

In Reply to: Re: The proverbial buffalo posted by David FG on April 15, 2010 at 08:44:

: : : A quick question - I'm translating a contemporary British novel, and ran into this sentence: "He will have to run headlong into it, like the proverbial buffalo into the storm." This seems to refer to some well-known idiom, but I can't think of any that would fit the bill. Any ideas?

: : You said the author is British, right? And there aren't any buffaloes native to Great Britain. Well, there are in the U.S. (although not in the northeast, where I live), and I've never heard such an expression. I can imagine buffaloes, like musk oxen, facing a storm, especially when protecting their young, but "run headlong" suggests a situation I'm not familiar with.

: : I do have a suggestion. Just translate what the author says, and don't worry about whether it makes sense or not.
: : SS

: SS is of course right when he says there are no Buffalo in the British Isles, but then there are no lions or elephants either, and the Brits have phrases involving those...

: Having said that, I have never heard the phrase either, so if it is a genuine proverb it is presumably a fairly obscure one.

: I am led to suspect the original writer was using the word 'proverbial' in a 'loose' (ie 'wrong') sense, rather in the way some people use the word 'literally' when they actually mean nothing of the sort.

: DFG