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  1. #1
    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Default Cut off one's nose to spite one's face

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to explain to me the proper meaning of the idiom “Cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face”? or (“cut her nose to spite her face”, or “cut off their nose to spite their faces)

    I know the following interpretation which stands in many dictionaries: “to create a disadvantage to oneself through one's own spiteful action “.

    There is another expression: “Don't cut off your nose to spite your face - don't do something that ... or makes your life hard just so you can spite someone else or get one up on them.

    In my opinion there is something wrong in the expressions in question.

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Regards

    V.

  2. #2
    colloquium is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Cut off one's nose to spite one's face

    I think the explanations you have quoted are fairly accurate.

    A) I'm thinking of quitting my job.

    B) Why?

    A) It pays terrible money and I hate the people I work with with.


    B) But you need the money! If you quit you won't be able to pay your bills. You'd be better off looking for another job while you're working. Don't cut off your nose to spite your face!

    In other words - don't allow a poorly thought out short term solution create even greater problems in the long run.

    I'm not a teacher.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Cut off one's nose to spite one's face

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to explain to me the proper meaning of the idiom “Cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face”? or (“cut her nose to spite her face”, or “cut off their nose to spite their faces)

    I know the following interpretation which stands in many dictionaries: “to create a disadvantage to oneself through one's own spiteful action “.

    There is another expression: “Don't cut off your nose to spite your face - don't do something that ... or makes your life hard just so you can spite someone else or get one up on them.

    In my opinion there is something wrong in the expressions in question.

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Regards

    V.
    Check this link for the above-mentioned idiom:http://www.answers.com/
    It is an informal idiom meaning harming oneself out of pique,meaning that due to the fact that you were angry,you did or said sth to provoke and harm the other person, which consequently harmed you.

    Negative sentence has negative connotation.
    In my opinion, the sentence is perfectly fine.

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Cut off one's nose to spite one's face

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to explain to me the proper meaning of the idiom “Cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face”? or (“cut her nose to spite her face”, or “cut off their nose to spite their faces)

    I know the following interpretation which stands in many dictionaries: “to create a disadvantage to oneself through one's own spiteful action “.

    There is another expression: “Don't cut off your nose to spite your face - don't do something that ... or makes your life hard just so you can spite someone else or get one up on them.

    In my opinion there is something wrong in the expressions in question.

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Regards

    V.
    Do you mean it should be more like "to cut off one's nose to spite someone else's face"?

  5. #5
    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Cut off one's nose to spite one's face

    Hi colloquium, Stella1977 and Raymott,

    Thank you for your straightforward and well-meant intentions towards me. Thank you also for your well-grounded explanations and articulated arguments.

    What prompted me to put the question in my original post? They must be probably my unconscionable radicalism as well as my inadequately managing of English language.

    There is my crooked interpretation of the expression in question:

    “Do you mean it should be more like "to cut off one's nose to spite someone else's face?" (Raymott’s question)

    Yes, I do. I have an edge on someone, have/bear a grudge against someone; I have spite against someone else;

    Yes, you are in the right. The present expression is “a warning against spiteful revenge which results in one's own hurt or loss”.

    Do you know the following expressions?

    “Burn one’s house to rid it of the mouse”. “Don’t burn your house to rid of the mouse!”

    “Throw out the child along with the bath.” Don’t throw the child along with the bath!”

    Thank you again for your kindness.

    Regards

    V.
    Last edited by vil; 08-Aug-2008 at 17:09.

  6. #6
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Cut off one's nose to spite one's face

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    “Throw out the child along with the bath.” Don’t throw the child along with the bath!”
    Yes, generally said as "Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater".
    In the "nose/face" idiom, you might just have to accept that it doesn't strictly make sense.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Cut off one's nose to spite one's face

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    Do you know the following expressions?

    “Burn one’s house to rid it of the mouse”. “Don’t burn your house to rid of the mouse!”
    I didn't, but I do like it. I would say 'Don't burn your house down to get rid of the mouse.'

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Cut off one's nose to spite one's face

    Injure oneself out of pique. For example, Staying home because Meg was invited first is cutting off your nose to spite your face. Similar hyperboles appeared in several Latin proverbs; in English the expression was first recorded in 1561.

    http://www.answers.com/topic/cut-off...ite-one-s-face

    Proverbs:

    Don't cut off your nose to spite your face

    A warning against spiteful revenge which results in one's own hurt or loss. The metaphorical phrase to cut off one's nose to spite one's face is very frequently found. Cf. medieval L. male ulciscitur dedecus sibi illatum, qui amputat nasum suum, he who cuts off his nose takes poor revenge for a shame inflicted on him; mid 14th-cent. Fr. qui cope son nčs, sa face est despechie, the man who cuts off his nose spites his face.

    He that byteth hys nose of, shameth hys face.
    [c 1560 Deceit of Women I1]

    He cut off his nose to be revenged of his face, said of one who, to be revenged of his neighbour, has materially injured himself.
    [1788 F. Grose Dict. Vulgar Tongue (ed. 2) U3V]

    He was in that humour when a man—in the words of the old adage—will cut off his nose to spite his face.
    [1889 R. L. Stevenson Master of Ballantrae x.]

    Don't cut off your nose to spite your face.
    [1964 Ridout & Witting English Proverbs Explained 43]

    So the next thing anybody knew she'd run off an' married that no-good Bob Bascom an' if that ain't cuttin' off your nose to spite your face, I'd like to know what is.

    [1980 A. Craig Pint of Murder vi.]

    http://www.answers.com/topic/don-t-c...pite-your-face

    Cut off your nose to spite your face

    Meaning - Disadvantage yourself in order to do harm to an adversary.

    http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/106875.html

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