KudoZ home » Spanish to English » Idioms / Maxims / Sayings

No saber ni jota

English translation: doesn't have a clue; doesn't understand a thing; doesn't understand the first thing

Advertisement

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.
GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Spanish term or phrase:no saber ni jota
English translation:doesn't have a clue; doesn't understand a thing; doesn't understand the first thing
Entered by: Michael Powers (PhD)
Options:
- Contribute to this entry
- Include in personal glossary

04:58 Feb 18, 2009
Spanish to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Idioms / Maxims / Sayings / Sayings
Spanish term or phrase: No saber ni jota
La letra "j" proviene de las lenguas primitivas del Medio Oriente, como el hebreo, el caldeo y el siríaco, y era la más pequeña de esos alfabetos, por lo que su nombre llegó hasta nosotros como equivalente de cosa pequeña o insignificante.

En la escritura hebrea, por otra parte, la iod -o sea, la jota- participaba como rasgo inicial de todas las demás letras.

De ahí que el modismo "no saber ni jota" alude a la extrema ignorancia de alguien en una cosa determinada y así es como lo utilizamos en la actualidad.
Rosina Peixoto
Uruguay
Local time: 09:42
Doesn't have a clue; doesn't understand a thing; doesn't understand the first thing
Explanation:
Oxford

Mike :)

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 5 days (2009-02-23 22:58:16 GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

No hay de qué.
Selected response from:

Michael Powers (PhD)
United States
Local time: 08:42
Grading comment
Muchas gracias a todos por su ayuda. Saludos.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

Advertisement


Summary of answers provided
4 +10Doesn't have a clue; doesn't understand a thing; doesn't understand the first thing
Michael Powers (PhD)
5 +8doesn´t know one iota
Cristina Connor
4 +2dumb as a box of rocks//clueless
Lydia De Jorge
5to have no ideaBarbara Cochran, MFA
4doesn't know a bean about ...
Eileen Banks


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


3 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
dumb as a box of rocks//clueless


Explanation:
.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 5 mins (2009-02-18 05:04:30 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Don't know jack

Lydia De Jorge
United States
Local time: 08:42
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 90

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Lisa McCarthy: I like 'clueless' :-)
1 hr

agree  liz askew
3 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

33 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +8
doesn´t know one iota


Explanation:
The noun jot (or "Jota") comes from the Greek iota.


    Reference: http://www.answers.com/topic/not-one-iota
Cristina Connor
Spain
Local time: 14:42
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in CatalanCatalan
Notes to answerer
Asker: Me gustaría saber si existe la expresión con el verbo "know". Vi que lo usan: "not one iota of difference", to signify a meaningless distinction (lit. "not even a small difference"). También vi en CNN por internet lo siguiente: (Name of country) will not retreat one iota in its path to nuclear victory". Seguiré buscando. ¿Se puede elegir a dos personas? ¿Cómo se otorgan los puntos? Saludos.


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Pilar Díez: Esta expresión mantiene la idea del original.
2 hrs
  -> Gracias Pilar

neutral  liz askew: Trouble is I have never ever heard it in the UK.
2 hrs
  -> Hi Liz, I´m sure it´s correct, although I agree in that I haven´t heard it used often, not as much as "doesn´t make one iota of a difference" for instance.

agree  rodwilliamyoung: Nice one!
3 hrs
  -> Thank you

agree  Michael Kincaid: Excellent!
3 hrs
  -> thanks Michael

agree  Catherine Gilsenan: I have heard of it
7 hrs
  -> thank you Catherine.

agree  Kathryn Litherland: I understand Rosina's "explanation" to be the actual text, and I don't see how anything else could possibly make sense in the context.
7 hrs
  -> Kathryn, thank you although Mike´s "hasn´t got a clue" is accurate and is commonly used.

agree  AVCR: Hola Rosina! Me gusta esta respuesta! Creo que mantiene la expresion coloquial. And I like Cristina's explanation.
7 hrs
  -> Thank you :-)

neutral  Cecilia Gowar: se usa, pero por ejemplo "not to care one iota"
7 hrs
  -> Cecilia, yes :-)

neutral  Marian Vieyra: it exists and is used but not in this context
8 hrs
  -> Marian, thank you.

agree  Cesar Serrano: I´m so sorry! I agree!
17 hrs
  -> Thank you Cesar! :-)

agree  argosys: I'd consider this more accurate.
1 day5 hrs
  -> Lorenzo, gracias :-)
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

5 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
to have no idea


Explanation:
Referencia:

Collins Robert Unabridged Spanish/English Dictionary

Barbara Cochran, MFA
United States
Local time: 08:42
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

7 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
doesn't know a bean about ...


Explanation:
... decision was likely made before September, adding skeptically, "I wouldn't bet a cookie that [Ambassador] Dobrynin doesn't know a bean about this. ...
books.google.com/books?

When I performed a search on this forum I could see that the Jack Bean Pods ... I don't know anything about this website, I was just googling for Korean ...
forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/legumes/msg0120423423713.html - 58k

:) I remember using this expression a lot at school! :)

Eileen Banks
Argentina
Local time: 09:42
Native speaker of: Spanish
PRO pts in category: 4
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 min   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +10
Doesn't have a clue; doesn't understand a thing; doesn't understand the first thing


Explanation:
Oxford

Mike :)

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 5 days (2009-02-23 22:58:16 GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

No hay de qué.

Michael Powers (PhD)
United States
Local time: 08:42
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 58
Grading comment
Muchas gracias a todos por su ayuda. Saludos.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Luis Medina
8 mins
  -> Thank you, Luis - Mike :)

agree  Lisa McCarthy: I like 'doesn´t have a clue'
1 hr
  -> Thank you, Lisa - Mike :)

agree  liz askew
3 hrs
  -> Thank you, liz - Mike :)

agree  Carol Gullidge: given Rosina's explanation, the last one fits best (doesn't know the first thing about..."
3 hrs
  -> Thank you, Carol - Mike :)

agree  AleTolj
3 hrs
  -> Thank youk Alejandra - Mike :)

agree  Alex Lago: doesn't have a clue
4 hrs
  -> Thank you, Alex - Mike :)

agree  Mirtha Grotewold
7 hrs
  -> Thank you, Mirtha - Mike :)

agree  kironne
10 hrs
  -> Thank you, Kironne - Mike :)

agree  Beta Cummins
19 hrs
  -> Thank you, Beta - Mike :)

agree  Maha Medhat
22 hrs
  -> Thank you, Maha - Mike :)
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




Return to KudoZ list


Changes made by editors
Feb 23, 2009 - Changes made by Michael Powers (PhD):
Edited KOG entry<a href="/profile/761543">Rosina Peixoto's</a> old entry - "No saber ni jota" » "Doesn't have a clue; doesn't understand a thing; doesn't understand the first thing"
Feb 23, 2009 - Changes made by Michael Powers (PhD):
Field (specific)Poetry & Literature » Idioms / Maxims / Sayings


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.



See also:



Term search
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search