Student or Learner
My name is Laura and I am searching for an ideom that is quite hard to find. I hope that someone can help me...
The thing is, I have to translate a text from Dutch into English and in the Dutch text there is a saying "De kat uit de boom kijken". Ik looked it up in the dictionnary what this could be in English and I found that there are two possibilities. The first is: "wait to see which way the wind blows" and the second is: "wait to see which way the cat jumps". So I asked my teacher here at my school which one the best option is (she is a native speaker, she comes from the US), but she told me that she had never heard about those two sayings. So my question is: (because she couldn't think of one) is there a saying that means: delaying making a descision or doing something untill you know what is going to happen or what other people are going to do. I found out that the saying "wait to see which way the cat jumps" is an informal Australian saying, and its meaning matches entirely with the Dutch saying. However, he problem is that I need a saying that is quite general so that everybody (so an international audience) can understand what it means.
Could someone help me please?
Both the idioms provided are old English ones. This is from the 19th century Brewer's dictionary of Phrase and Fable:
See how the cat jumps, “which way the wind blows”; which of two alternatives is likely to be the successful one before you give any opinion of its merit or adhesion to it, either moral or otherwise. The allusion is to the game called tip-cat. Before you strike, you must observe which way the “cat” has jumped up. 1 We are told that our forefathers had a cruel sport, which consisted in placing a cat in a tree as a mark to shoot at. A wily sportsman would, of course, wait to see which way it jumped before he shot at her. This sort of sport was very like that of hanging two cats by their tails over a rope. (See page 224, KILKENNY CAT.) 2“He soon saw which way the cat did jump, And his company he offered plump.”The Dog’s-meat Man (See Universal Songster, 1825.)
There is an American idiom - "let's see which way the cookie crumbles" or "that's the way the cookie crumbles" which is similar.
A similar American (I think) expression I've always liked is, "Let's run it up the flagpole and see who salutes."
'See which way the wind blows [before deciding]' - not a very common expression, but I've heard it.
See which way the wind blows.
Wait until the smoke clears.
Test the water before we jump in.
'test the water' or 'put a toe in the water'.