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the sword of Damocles

English translation: living with a dark cloud over his head

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:the sword of Damocles
English translation:living with a dark cloud over his head
Entered by: Demi Ebrite
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07:28 Jul 10, 2008
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Idioms / Maxims / Sayings
English term or phrase: the sword of Damocles
A sword of Damocles hangs over someone's head (literary, literary)
if a sword of Damocles hangs over someone, they are in a situation where something bad is likely to happen to them very soon. You live with this sword of Damocles hanging over your head, knowing that you carry the virus for a deadly disease.

http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/sword of Damocles hangs ...

I'm looking for alternative idioms or expressions with the same meaning, i.e. an impending threat.

Thanks
xxxd_vachliot
Local time: 00:59
living with a dark cloud over his head
Explanation:
Meaning that you are doomed and the sunlight doesn't shine for you.

Others:

(Living) on pins and needles:
Anxious or nervous, especially in anticipation of something.

Behind the eight ball:
A difficult position from which it is unlikely one can escape.



Selected response from:

Demi Ebrite
United States
Local time: 16:59
Grading comment
Thank you.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +3impending threat, menacePatricia Townshend
5 +2imminent threat
Vincentius Mariatmo
5 +1living with a dark cloud over his head
Demi Ebrite
4a ticking time bombHeather Shaw
3 +1to cast a dark shadow / dark clouds are gathering / living on the edge
Max Nuijens
3 +1Comments - not for points
Mark Nathan


  

Answers


5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +3
thw sword of damocles
impending threat, menace


Explanation:
Impending threat sounds good to me or menace.

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Note added at 6 mins (2008-07-10 07:35:06 GMT)
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In this case the impending threat of death. Walking in the valley of the shadow of death?

Patricia Townshend
South Africa
Local time: 23:59
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Kirill Semenov: doom
1 min
  -> Thanks

agree  xxxsavaria
43 mins
  -> Thanks

agree  Vicky Papaprodromou
2 hrs
  -> Thanks
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30 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
the sword of damocles
imminent threat


Language variant: imminent peril

Explanation:
I think imminent threat is another optional term for this question ^^
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damocles

Vincentius Mariatmo
Local time: 04:59
Native speaker of: Indonesian

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Liam Hamilton
1 hr

agree  Vicky Papaprodromou
1 hr
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
the sword of damocles
to cast a dark shadow / dark clouds are gathering / living on the edge


Explanation:
sure it depends on the context, but in the domain of falling swords, you could play with dark shadows or dark clouds that fill the clear blue sky, blacken our perception, and generally promise disaster.

For further inspiration, I refer to Aerosmith's song "Living on the Edge", which may serve as a suitable expression for an impending threat, standing on the edge of a cliff and possibly falling down:

There's somethin' wrong with the world today
I don't know what it is
Something's wrong with our eyes

We're seeing things in a different way
And God knows it ain't His
It sure ain't no surprise

We're livin' on the edge
We're livin' on the edge
We're livin' on the edge
We're livin' on the edge

There's somethin' wrong with the world today
The light bulb's gettin' dim
There's meltdown in the sky

If you can judge a wise man
By the color of his skin
Then mister you're a better man that I

We're livin' on the edge
You can't help yourself from fallin'
Livin' on the edge
You can't help yourself at all
Livin' on the edge
You can't stop yourself from fallin'
Livin' on the edge

Tell me what you think about your sit-u-a-tion
Complication - aggravation
Is getting to you

If chicken little tells you that the sky is fallin'
Even if it wasn't would you still come crawlin'
Back again?
I bet you would my friend
Again & again & again & again & again

(solo)

Tell me what you think about your sit-u-a-tion
Complication - aggravation
Is getting to you

If chicken little tells you that the sky is fallin'
Even if it was would would you still come crawlin'
Back again?
I bet you would my friend
Again & again & again & again

There's something right with the world today
And everybody knows it's wrong
But we can tell 'em no or we could let it go
But I would rather be a hanging on

Livin' On the Edge
You can't help yourself from fallin'
Livin' On the Edge
You can't help yourself at all
Livin' On the Edge
You can't stop yourself from fallin'
Livin' On the Edge
Livin' On the Edge
Livin' On the Edge
Livin' On the Edge
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Livin' On the Edge
You can't help yourself from fallin'
Livin' On the Edge
You can't help yourself at all
Livin' on the edge
You can't stop yourself from fallin'
Livin' on the edge
Livin' on the edge
You can't help yourself
You can't help yourself
Livin' On the Edge
You can't help yourself at all
Livin' On the Edge
You can't help yourself
You can't help yourself
Livin' On the Edge
You can't help yourself
You can't help yourself
Livin' On the Edge
You can't help yourself from fallin'
Livin' On the Edge
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, you got to that now

Max Nuijens
Belarus
Local time: 00:59
Native speaker of: Native in DutchDutch

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  island-vlad: Well done, Max! Livin' On the Edge
1 hr
  -> well, the Asker was looking for alternative idioms, that is what I provided ...
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Comments - not for points


Explanation:
For the record, here is the story of Damocles (below). The interesting point is that this is subjective. Dionysius either does not see this sword hanging over his head (and therefore suffer from a sense of foreboding) or he does see it and it does not bother him.

Dionysius does not behave recklessly, he is not "riding for a fall", quite the opposite - he is very careful to make sure that this sword or impending threat does not overpower him.


Dionysius was a fourth century B.C. tyrant of Syracuse, a city in Magna Graecia, the Greek area of southern Italy. To all appearances Dionysius was very rich and comfortable, with all the luxuries money could buy, tasteful clothing and jewelry, and delectable food. He even had court flatterers (adsentatores) to inflate his ego. One of these ingratiators was the court sycophant, Damocles. Damocles used to make comments to the king about his wealth and luxurious life. One day when Damocles complimented the tyrant on his abundance and power, Dionysius turned to Damocles and said, "If you think I'm so lucky, how would you like to try out my life?"

Damocles readily agreed, and so Dionysius ordered everything to be prepared for Damocles to experience what life as Dionysius was like. Damocles was enjoying himself immensely... until he noticed a sharp sword hovering over his head, that was suspended from the ceiling by a horse hair. This, the tyrant explained to Damocles, was what life as ruler was really like.

Damocles, alarmed, quickly revised his idea of what made up a good life, and asked to be excused. He then eagerly returned to his poorer, but safer life.

Another suggestion. This would be when someone is behaving recklessly, and therefore is likely to fall from their horse.

The interesting question

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Note added at 2 hrs (2008-07-10 09:55:42 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Sorry, the last three lines should be deleted.

Mark Nathan
France
Local time: 23:59
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 28

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  xxxTatiana N.: it's "glory on horseback, disaster sitting behind" situation, it's not as good as it seems...
5 hrs
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8 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
the sword of damocles
a ticking time bomb


Explanation:
as if the disease within the person is a time bomb waiting until the time that it will cause his demise.

Heather Shaw
United States
Local time: 23:59
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
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8 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
the sword of damocles
living with a dark cloud over his head


Language variant: US English

Explanation:
Meaning that you are doomed and the sunlight doesn't shine for you.

Others:

(Living) on pins and needles:
Anxious or nervous, especially in anticipation of something.

Behind the eight ball:
A difficult position from which it is unlikely one can escape.





Example sentence(s):
  • He lives with a dark cloud over his head.
  • He is walking on pins and needles! That guy is really behind the eight ball!

    Reference: http://www.idiomsite.com/
    Reference: http://http:/www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/b.html
Demi Ebrite
United States
Local time: 16:59
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
Grading comment
Thank you.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Phong Le
11 hrs
  -> Thanks, phongicehcmc
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Changes made by editors
Jul 11, 2008 - Changes made by Demi Ebrite:
Created KOG entryKudoZ term » KOG term
Jul 10, 2008 - Changes made by Steffen Walter:
Term askedthw sword of Damocles » the sword of Damocles


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