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Se queres conhecer o vilão, mete-lhe o pau na mão.

English translation: If you want to know the villain, just give him a gun.

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Portuguese term or phrase:Se queres conhecer o vilão mete-lhe o pau na mão.
English translation:If you want to know the villain, just give him a gun.
Entered by: Henrique Magalhaes
Options:
- Contribute to this entry
- Include in personal glossary

16:14 Jul 4, 2003
Portuguese to English translations [Non-PRO]
Portuguese term or phrase: Se queres conhecer o vilão, mete-lhe o pau na mão.
Until a person has not been in a position with power (o pau na mão...), one doesn't show what really we are.
Henrique Magalhaes
Local time: 18:32
if you want to know the villain, just give him a gun
Explanation:
usually only when someone reach "the power" reveals his real "inside"
Selected response from:

Carlos Monteiro
Portugal
Local time: 18:32
Grading comment
Eu preferia 'stick' em vez de 'gun' porque se trata mais de punir do que matar,ou seja mais bastonada q. tiro, mas enfim, foi de todas a versão mais aproximada.
2 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +2If you want to know his heart, make him rich.silviafont
5If you wish to know a man, give him authority.
Paula Vaz-Carreiro
5if you want to know the villain, just give him a gunCarlos Monteiro
5It takes ONE to know ONEJane Lamb-Ruiz
4If you want to reveal the scoundrel, just provide him with some power.
Сергей Лузан
3Annoint a clown and he'll grip you; grip a clown and he'll annoint you
marinagil


  

Answers


42 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
if you want to know the villain, just give him a gun


Explanation:
usually only when someone reach "the power" reveals his real "inside"

Carlos Monteiro
Portugal
Local time: 18:32
Native speaker of: Native in PortuguesePortuguese
PRO pts in pair: 18
Grading comment
Eu preferia 'stick' em vez de 'gun' porque se trata mais de punir do que matar,ou seja mais bastonada q. tiro, mas enfim, foi de todas a versão mais aproximada.
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
If you want to know his heart, make him rich.


Explanation:
People only reveal themselves in power situations

silviafont
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ricardo Fonseca
1 hr

agree  Michael Powers (PhD): saludos, Silvia - muy bien - Mike :)
2 hrs
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4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
If you want to reveal the scoundrel, just provide him with some power.


Explanation:
Good luck, Henrique Magalhaes!

Сергей Лузан
Russian Federation
Local time: 20:32
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian
PRO pts in pair: 4
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4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
If you wish to know a man, give him authority.


Explanation:
Again this is from the Penguin dictionary of proverbs and it seems to me the most appropriate to convey the meaning of the Portuguse proverb.

Whatever it is you're doing, I envy you. Finding English proverbs that match Portuguese ones and vice-versa is something that fascinates me.

Paula Vaz-Carreiro
Local time: 18:32
Native speaker of: Native in PortuguesePortuguese, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 421
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6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
Annoint a clown and he'll grip you; grip a clown and he'll annoint you


Explanation:
É isso que conheço como equivalente em inglês para os ditos portugueses:
"dêem ofício a vilão e conhece-lo-ão"
OU AINDA
"vilão ruim dá sempre mau pago a quem o serve"

marinagil
Brazil
Local time: 14:32
Native speaker of: Native in PortuguesePortuguese, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in pair: 43
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1 day30 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
It takes ONE to know ONE


Explanation:
when the context tell you what the one is you can either fill it in OR leave it like this.
"He's a real menance to society."

"Oh, really? It takes one to know one"

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Note added at 2003-07-05 17:33:32 (GMT)
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The US TV program, \"It Takes A THief\" is derived from this:

It takes a thief to know a thief!

Cheers

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2003-07-05 17:35:10 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

and how would you translate this mixed metaphor I just made up:

Thieves of a feather, flock together....two in one

Jane Lamb-Ruiz
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in PortuguesePortuguese
PRO pts in pair: 3273

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  moken: two completely different meanings. to know a thief you must be a thief. to know what someone is really like - you must put him into power, not have power yourself.
18 hrs
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