Irish Proverb 74 - Seanfhocail Ghaeilge 74

Is é seo Seanfhocal an Lae:

Today's Proverb is:

Is beo duine tar éis a bhuailte ach ní beo é tar éis a cháinte.

Seo ciall an tseanfhocail:

The translation or meaning is:

A person is alive after being beaten but not after his good name is taken.
(Sticks and stones may break my bones.)

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 May 13 2017


Dale D wrote re: Irish Proverb 74 - Seanfhocail Ghaeilge 74
on Fri, May 18 2012 23:47

I'm trying to follow the logic of this to see the parallel meaning given (sticks and stones....)

The full expression in English is "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me."

The sentiment in this proverb seems to run directly opposite that:  "You're still alive if they beat you up, but if they take your good name you're dead."  Am I missing something?  If someone slanders me and attempts to take my good name from me (calling me names, etc.) I can ignore them or whatever and they can't really get to me unless I let them.  If I, on the other hand, do something really bad that brings dishonor to my name, then I have lost something more irretrevable than if someone accuses me falsely.  The tenor of the proverb (as translated) sounds more like encouragement to strike at those attempting to slander you, because it's actually worse than being beaten up.  So I'm not sure I follow the logic offered here.  At least, I think that the comparative to "Sticks and stones..." may be off the mark.

Any thoughts?  Any help?

Dale D

seano wrote re: Irish Proverb 74 - Seanfhocail Ghaeilge 74
on Sat, May 19 2012 13:36

Hi, As you say, Dale, it is more or less opposite to the familiar English proverb sticks and stones, so the translation given above which compares it to that proverb is wrong. The familiar English expression "sticks and stones" also has an Irish equivalent "Téann focal le gaoth ach téann buille le cnámh" (A word goes to the wind but a blow goes to the bone). I suppose it depends on the context. We all know that sometimes kids have a fight and the next day it's forgotten but sometimes taunts and verbal bullying can be much more hurtful (where this proverb would be appropriate) but at the same time there are other cases where you would be encouraging a person to ignore harsh words with the Sticks and stones proverb. So both of them are useful but in different circumstances. But well spotted, this ISN'T the same as sticks and stones.  

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