Cows come home

Posted by R. Berg on December 09, 2004

In Reply to: Cows come home posted by Smokey Stover on December 09, 2004

: : : : In Portuguese there is a current expression in these terms: "Deixe os patos passar". It means word by word: Let the ducks go by or pass along.

: : : : This is an ironical expression, whereby someone suggests that something will happen but certainly in a time that will never really come. The origin is probably from a fable in which a king promises to release a young man from death if he is able to tell him a never-ending story. And the astute young man tells a tale of ducks passing along in a stream. One duck follows the other, and the ducks never stop coming. So the story never reaches the end. Waiting for all the ducks to pass means waiting for ever.

: : : : Any equivalent in English?

: : : : Jose Carlos

: : : Til the cows come home?

: : I'm not sure how the expression "'til the cows come home," but I can assure you that they do come home, and every day unless there's some impediment. (The cow in question may be ill, or may be fresh, or may be lost, or may be locked out by some obstacle. If you don't know what a fresh cow is, apply here for information.) SS

: Excuse, please, lege "how the expression . . . is used." SS

"When hell freezes over" and "when pigs fly" are common phrases used emphatically (and only in informal contexts) to mean "That will never happen!"