Irish Proverb 315 - Seanfhocail Ghaeilge 315

Is é seo Seanfhocal an Lae:

Today's Proverb is:

Mair a chapaill is gheobhaidh tú féar.

Seo ciall an tseanfhocail:

The translation or meaning is:

Live horse and you will get hay.

An bhfuil a mhalairt de thuairim agat maidir le ciall an tseanfhocail seo, nó ar mhaith leat an t-aistriúchán s’agatsa a roinnt linn? Déan caint ar seo thíos.

Got a different idea on what this proverb means or want to share your own translation? Comment below. 

 


Posted Jan 09 2017

Comments

fiach.dubh wrote re: Irish Proverb 315 - Seanfhocail Ghaeilge 315
on 01-09-2015 17:39

"Live horse" doesn't make sense. Is it "live like a horse"?

seano wrote re: Irish Proverb 315 - Seanfhocail Ghaeilge 315
on 01-09-2015 18:32

I must say, I agree, it does seem strange. However, if you Google "Live horse and you'll eat grass", "Live horse and you'll get grass", "Live horse, get grass" you'll find that the expression is very much alive in Irish English. It would be hard to do a literal translation of the Irish because a chapaill is "oh horse" - it's a vocative addressing the horse! It is basically saying to someone, if you don't insist on your rights you won't get them, if you're happy to live like a horse, people will feed you grass. Hope this makes it a bit clearer.

fiach.dubh wrote re: Irish Proverb 315 - Seanfhocail Ghaeilge 315
on 01-12-2015 20:35

Aha, so the "a chapaill" is a bit strange to non-Irish ears indeed. Well, nothing surprises me any more in this amazing language.

Yes, I agree with your interpretation.

Thanks, your comment helped a lot!

Hesk wrote re: Irish Proverb 315 - Seanfhocail Ghaeilge 315
on 02-09-2016 10:02

I was just talking about this with my great Grandmother, and she said it was more of a promise (or something like that ahah). According to her, it's sort of like a farmer going out to his starving horse and saying 'live horse! ... And you'll eat grass.'

I've heard it more used in a cynical fashion of a promise that is not intended to be fulfilled at all. I.e. The farmer knows the horse will starve anyway!

That's how I tend to use it anyway, especially in reference to people who promise and promise but never actually deliver. ;)

rorym wrote re: Irish Proverb 315 - Seanfhocail Ghaeilge 315
on 12-02-2016 21:26

My father used this sometimes.

"Live horse" as in "Stay alive, oh horse". And you'll get grass--the grass you need to live. So it's a slightly dark way of saying 'do the impossible'. Dark because failure means the horse dies.

As least that's how he used it on me.

Riobard Hand wrote re: Irish Proverb 315 - Seanfhocail Ghaeilge 315
on 05-03-2017 11:20

I had understood this idiom in the context of some future reward based upon quicksand expectations . So foolishness!

fergalo wrote re: Irish Proverb 315 - Seanfhocail Ghaeilge 315
on 05-03-2017 22:22

My mam, PBUH, who was born in 1912, used the phrase just as Seano stated it above, which is to say, "If you are willing to live like a horse (that is, expect nothing better) you will get grass (and nothing more)". I suppose that would be written, "Mair a chapaill is gheobhaidh tú féar".  

I've seen it with commas that makes a difference:"Mair, a chapaill, is gheobhaidh tú féar".  

I prefer my mam's admonition to expect better over the latter false-sounding promise.

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