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tener pantalones (IN THIS CONTEXT)

English translation: he doesn't have the backbone

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Spanish term or phrase:tener pantalones (IN THIS CONTEXT)
English translation:he doesn't have the backbone
Entered by: Stuart Allsop
Options:
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15:50 Aug 11, 2006
Spanish to English translations [PRO]
Bus/Financial - Idioms / Maxims / Sayings
Spanish term or phrase: tener pantalones (IN THIS CONTEXT)
This phrase occurs in a sarcastic speech that attacks the new administration of a company, after a major change in the board of directors. This specific comment is directed at one of the "old team" directors who is still around, is liked by the speaker, but does not seem to be able to accomplish much, due to being kept out of the loop and being blocked by the efforts of the "new team" directors.

The exact context is: "... pero no ha logrado tener el Liderazgo de esta organización porque (los nuevos directores) no lo dejan, él generalmente está ausente, no participa, no se le ve tomando decisiones. Y es conocido por todo (la empresa), que (otro director) es el que maneja el negocio. Algo para reflexionar. El esta así por que todo su equipo directivo se contacta diariamente con (el otro director) además que le son serviles, ***el no tiene los pantalones*** para ejercer su Liderazgo, aquí observamos un co-gobierno..."

I know what the term means, of course, but I'm looking for a colloquial way of putting it in English.
Stuart Allsop
Chile
Local time: 21:33
he doesn't have the backbone
Explanation:
Another option along the same lines
Selected response from:

JudyK
Local time: 01:33
Grading comment
Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and comments here. It wasn't easy, but I think Judy's suggestion fit best here.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +13doesn't have (hasn't got) the guts to / have enough guts toCinnamon Nolan
4 +1he doesn't wear the pants in this family
Patricia Rosas
4 +1he doesn't have the backboneJudyK
5he doesn't have the power
Maria Luisa Duarte
4(he doesn't) wear the pants/run things around here
Heather Chinchilla
4doesn't have [the/enough] clout
jmf
4he doesn' have the nerve to.../ lacks backbone
Flavia Scafatti
4he doesn't have the balls
Roxanna Delgado


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


1 min   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
he doesn't have the balls


Explanation:
asi es como se dice aunque no se escuche tan bonito

Roxanna Delgado
United States
Local time: 20:33
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
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6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
he doesn't wear the pants in this family


Explanation:
I would hesitate to use "balls" in a formal letter. This is a common phrase and I think that "in this family" will be understood to mean "in this company" ...

Patricia Rosas
United States
Local time: 17:33
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 20

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Hebe Martorella
3 mins
  -> thank you, Hebe

neutral  Cinnamon Nolan: I take this more as "no es quien manda" and here we're talking about not daring to call the shots.
9 mins
  -> maybe a "pantywaist" then?? (has an ugly ring to it...)

neutral  Roxanna Delgado: It doesn't really say that is a "formal letter" ; it actually says a "sarcastic speech".
10 mins
  -> well, Stuart will know best, but I'd err on the side of caution -- thanks for sharing the opinion all the same!
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7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
he doesn't have the power


Explanation:
or what ever it takes.

Maria Luisa Duarte
Spain
Local time: 02:33
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in PortuguesePortuguese
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9 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +13
doesn't have (hasn't got) the guts to / have enough guts to


Explanation:
A "softer" version of Roxanna's answer.

Cinnamon Nolan
Spain
Local time: 02:33
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Angelo Berbotto
2 mins
  -> Thanks, Angelo.

agree  Marylen
5 mins
  -> Thanks, Marylen.

agree  Jairo Payan: De acuerdo, suave pero efectiva. Es el equivalente para "no tiene las agallas"
27 mins
  -> Thanks, Jairo.

agree  Patricia Rosas: this seems to convey the idea without being too insulting!
33 mins
  -> Thanks, Patricia.

agree  Refugio: Yes, since pantalones is a euphemism, this serves perfectly as an equivalent.
40 mins
  -> Thanks, Ruth.

agree  BDT
1 hr
  -> Thanks.

agree  Sara Noss
1 hr
  -> Thanks.

agree  Sp-EnTranslator: my first thought...
3 hrs
  -> Thanks, Claudia.

agree  Claudia Luque Bedregal
8 hrs
  -> Thanks.

agree  christine72
10 hrs
  -> Thanks, Christine.

agree  nedra: Exactly.
18 hrs
  -> Thanks, Nedra. Your exact agreement is appreciated. ;->

agree  Marcelo González
1 day10 hrs
  -> Gracias, Marcelo.

agree  María Eugenia Wachtendorff
2 days3 hrs
  -> Gracias, Mª Eugenia.
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18 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
he doesn't have the backbone


Explanation:
Another option along the same lines

JudyK
Local time: 01:33
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 12
Grading comment
Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and comments here. It wasn't easy, but I think Judy's suggestion fit best here.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Daniel Burns
54 mins
  -> Thanks, Daniel
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45 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
he doesn' have the nerve to.../ lacks backbone


Explanation:
otra posibilidad


    Reference: http://web.stcloudstate.edu/jeoneill/clothes_op.html
Flavia Scafatti
Argentina
Local time: 21:33
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
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51 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
doesn't have [the/enough] clout


Explanation:
doesn't have the clout to / doesn't have enough clout

Since it says "los nuevos directores no lo dejan".... it
seems to me that he doesn't have enough clout at this company to lead/carry out his leadership role.

Other phrasing that comes to mind is "doesn't have the influence" or "doesn't carry enough weight", but I think "clout" conveys the idea nicely.

HTH

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 56 mins (2006-08-11 16:47:39 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I don't think the main focus of the sentence is what the man lacks, but that the others are not recognizing or respecting his position of leadership.

jmf
United States
Local time: 20:33
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
(he doesn't) wear the pants/run things around here


Explanation:
This is what I would say. :-)

Heather Chinchilla
United States
Local time: 20:33
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
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