Login or register (free and only takes a few minutes) to participate in this question.
You will also have access to many other tools and opportunities designed for those who have language-related jobs
(or are passionate about them). Participation is free and the site has a strict confidentiality policy.
|English to German translations [PRO]|
Art/Literary - Idioms / Maxims / Sayings
|English term or phrase: seen the elephant|
|it seems to be an old american phrase|
seen the elephant - meaning that one is worldly and has much life experience.
You may use it ironically : sure, he has seen the elephant
I'm looking for a appropriate german phrase.
11 hrs confidence:
hat die sieben Weltmeere bereist / hat die Welt gesehen
mehr im Sinne von "ist schon überall gewesen", "hat schon alles erlebt", und somit einen grossen Erfahrungsschatz. Knüpft hier auch gut an die exotische Vorlage an (Elefant), passt allerdings nicht auf eine "generell weise" Person...
|Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)| Return to KudoZ list
20 mins peer agreement (net): +1
|Reference: elephants or lions :-)|
"I have seen the elephant" is an expression denoting world-weary experience. It is an Americanism dating to the early 19th century. The elephant is metaphorical, standing it for the exotic and strange things one sees when one has experience and has seen the world.
Many associate the phrase with the Civil War. While it was certainly in use during the war and undoubtedly crops up in letters and diaries from that period, the phrase is older. From Augustus B. Longstreet’s Georgia Scenes, in a passage written in 1835:
That’s sufficient, as Tom Haynes said when he saw the elephant.1
And there is G.W. Kendall’s Narrative of the Texan Santa Fé Expedition from 1844:
There is a cant expression, “I’ve seen the elephant” in very common use in Texas. […] The meaning of the expression I will explain. When a man is disappointed in any thing he undertakes, when he has seen enough, when he gets sick and tired of any job he may have set himself about, he has “seen the elephant.”2
This is an American version of the older British expression to see the lions. The British phrase, meaning the same thing or, in later use, meaning to see something of celebrity or note, is a reference to lions that were kept in the Tower of London and were an early tourist attraction. Those who came to London from the country were often taken to see the lions in the Tower. From Robert Greene’s 1590 Greenes Neuer Too Late:
Francesco was no other but a meere nouice, and that so newly, that to vse the olde prouerbe, he had scarce seene the Lions.3
1Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, Georgia Scenes (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1897), 3.
2G.W. Kendall, A Narrative of the Texan Santa Fé Expedition (London: Sherwood, Gilbert, and Piper, 1847), 74-75.
3Oxford English Dictionary, lion, n., 2nd Edition, 1989, Oxford University Press, accessed 12 Jan 2009 <http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50133810>.
|Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)|| |
KudoZ™ translation help
The KudoZ network provides a framework for translators and others to assist each other with translations or explanations of terms and short phrases.
Search millions of term translations