A metaphor for a worthless thing

Status
Not open for further replies.

toloue_man

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2012
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Persian
Home Country
Iran
Current Location
Iran
Hi!
In Persian, my native language, "soil" ( probably because soil is very abundant on earth) is a metaphor for worthless thing. For example we say:

Example: In comparison with your knowledge about linguistic, mine is a fistful of soil.

The above sentence means that my knowledge about linguistic compared to yours is very tiny and worthless. Now, according to this point, what equivalent metaphor is used in English?
 

emsr2d2

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
You could fit what I know about linguistics on the back of a postage stamp.
 

toloue_man

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2012
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Persian
Home Country
Iran
Current Location
Iran
You could fit what I know about linguistics on the back of a postage stamp.

I'm going to use that metaphor in a literary context and I just mentioned that example to convey the meaning of " a fistful of soil" , I need a metaphor whose main focus be on something worthless not tiny ( a postage stamp is very tiny not worthless and is not suitable for a litrary context).

Moreover, that idiom only refers back to the amount of knowledge that someone has about something that is not my subject of translation. My translation is about two lovers, a boy and a girl, the boy writes to the girl that he himself is " a fistful of soil" in comarison with her.

Also, I found another idiom that is "a dim a dozen" but its main focus is on something that is very common not worthless.

Would you please be kind enough to come up another metaphor with taking into consideration the afroementioned issues?
 
Last edited:

emsr2d2

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
So with your original example, you meant that you know a lot about linguistics but most of it isn't worth knowing? Rather than you don't know much about it?

Hmmm, I'll keep thinking then.
 

toloue_man

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2012
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Persian
Home Country
Iran
Current Location
Iran
So with your original example, you meant that you know a lot about linguistics but most of it isn't worth knowing? Rather than you don't know much about it?

Hmmm, I'll keep thinking then.

To put it in a nut shell, I want to say that something is worthless by use of a metaphor. The main focus is on worthless thing.
Please read what I have just added to my previous post
 

Rover_KE

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
Do you mean like 'Compared to her, he's a waste of space', or 'He's as much use as a chocolate teapot'?
 

emsr2d2

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
Great suggestion! I think "My knowledge of linguistics is about as much use as a chocolate teapot" works well. That used to be the nickname for several members of staff at my old job!
 

Raymott

VIP Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
English
Home Country
Australia
Current Location
Australia
"Compared to you, I am a mere pimple on a gnat's arse."
 

toloue_man

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2012
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Persian
Home Country
Iran
Current Location
Iran
Do you mean like 'Compared to her, he's a waste of space', or 'He's as much use as a chocolate teapot'?

I exactly mean "he's a waste of space" but is there any other example that fits more in a literary context specially poem?
 

Gillnetter

Key Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2010
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
The components of this idiom such as pimple, gnat, ass are not suitable for a litrerary context specially poem.
What is the connection between a "literary context" and "specially poem"? What does "specially poem" mean to you? Poems are, by their very nature, a distillation of words and may or may not be "literary". It seems that you are attempting to compare people. Perhaps this would serve your needs - I am as dust before your feet.
 

Raymott

VIP Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
English
Home Country
Australia
Current Location
Australia
The components of this idiom such as pimple, gnat, ass are not suitable for a litrerary context specially poem.
Sorry, I misunderstood your needs. How about:

So far above me, you, whom I adore,
That since my love's insipience,
I compare me to a running sore
on the hindparts of Culex pipiens.

:)
 

toloue_man

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2012
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Persian
Home Country
Iran
Current Location
Iran
I am as dust before your feet.

Exactly what I wanted. Even the form is similar to the Persian form but it is not an idiom. Is the meaning of something worthless understood from this sentence for native speaker of English? If it is so, I think it is the best choice.
 

emsr2d2

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
Exactly what I wanted. Even the form is similar to the Persian form but it is not an idiom. Is the meaning of something worthless understood from this sentence for native speaker of English? If it is so, I think it is the best choice.

The line "I compare me to a running sore" is what tells me that the writer considers themselves worthless but I admit the rest doesn't necessarily give the same impression.
 

MikeNewYork

VIP Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
The line "I compare me to a running sore" is what tells me that the writer considers themselves worthless but I admit the rest doesn't necessarily give the same impression.

What comes to my mind is "useless as *teats* on a boar/bull". (* Expression cleaned up for a family audience) :-D
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top