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  1. Marina Gaidar's Avatar
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    #1

    Not to move a muscle

    I came across such an idiom "not to move a muscle". In thesaurus it is explained as "usually put negatively, either with implied criticism, as in She won't move a muscle to help get dinner". I was a little bit surptised because in Russian-English dictionaries it was given with such a translation which means "not to show that you are scared or nervous". What statement is true? What idiom is appropriate, if I wan't to say that someone has not shown that he is frightened and stayed calm?

  2. Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Not to move a muscle

    NOT A TEACHER

    Quote Originally Posted by Marina Gaidar View Post
    I came across such an idiom "not to move a muscle". In thesaurus it is explained as "usually put negatively, either with implied criticism, as in She won't move a muscle to help get dinner". I was a little bit surptised because in Russian-English dictionaries it was given with such a translation which means "not to show that you are scared or nervous". What statement is true? What idiom is appropriate, if I wan't to say that someone has not shown that he is frightened and stayed calm?
    It can also mean "to stay completely still".

    2 not move a muscle to stay completely still : The soldier stood without moving a muscle.

    muscle - Definition from Longman English Dictionary Online
    Last edited by Chicken Sandwich; 26-Jul-2012 at 22:49.

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    #3

    Re: Not to move a muscle

    Quote Originally Posted by Marina Gaidar View Post
    ...in Russian-English dictionaries it was given with such a translation which means "not to show that you are scared or nervous".
    That's interesting, because, in Hungarian, there exists an idiom which expresses remaining calm/cool even in an extreme situation, and it goes like this: "None of her/his facial muscles (has) moved." That is, s/he didn't show any sign of being afraid or nervous. S/he didn't show any (facial) expressions. (Cf., "poker face". )

    Out of curiosity, is there a Russian equivalent of this idiom, and if so, what does it mean? Staying completely still or not showing that one is scared/nervous?





    PS:

    Quote Originally Posted by Marina Gaidar View Post
    In thesaurus it is explained as "usually put negatively, either with implied criticism, as in She won't move a muscle to help get dinner".
    I think, "s/he won't move her/his (lazy) ass" would be much more telling and straightforward.
    Dear native English speakers of this forum,
    Please, always point out my grammatical mistakes, assuming you have "the time and the inclination". That is really the most effective way for me to improve. Thank you very much.

    Please note that I am NOT an English teacher.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Not to move a muscle

    The two uses that are familiar to me in English, are 1) The one mentioned by Gil - "Now, stand in the corner and don't move a muscle!" and 2) the not-being-scared definition: "The bullet whizzed past his ear and he didn't move a muscle."

    For me, it doesn't work for laziness. For that, we say, "She didn't lift a finger to help herself."

  4. Marina Gaidar's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Not to move a muscle

    Quote Originally Posted by ~Mav~ View Post
    Out of curiosity, is there a Russian equivalent of this idiom, and if so, what does it mean? Staying completely still or not showing that one is scared/nervous?
    I would say that "none of her/his facial muscles (has) moved" in Russian means "try to seem indifferent if you are told something unpleasant or sad" and at the same time "remain calm even in dangerous situation". It will not mean "not to do anything out of laziness". In Russian we have other idiom for this case - "not to move a finger" - literally in Russian we would say "not to strike finger against finger".

  5. Marina Gaidar's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Not to move a muscle

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    The two uses that are familiar to me in English, are 1) The one mentioned by Gil - "Now, stand in the corner and don't move a muscle!" and 2) the not-being-scared definition: "The bullet whizzed past his ear and he didn't move a muscle."

    For me, it doesn't work for laziness. For that, we say, "She didn't lift a finger to help herself."
    The same is in Russian, that is why I was surprised to see in dictionary.com that "not to move a muscle" means not to do something out of laziness.

  6. Marina Gaidar's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Not to move a muscle

    Quote Originally Posted by ~Mav~ View Post
    I think, "s/he won't move her/his (lazy) ass" would be much more telling and straightforward.
    Yes, I would prefer your variant

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