hacer lo que digan sus pistolas

English translation: to do whatever he likes / do whatever he pleases / go it alone

01:10 Mar 17, 2018
Spanish to English translations [PRO]
Government / Politics / Current events
Spanish term or phrase: hacer lo que digan sus pistolas
I encountered this phrase in an op-ed piece in a Mexican newspaper. The piece is about NAFTA, the re-negotiation process that is going on, & how people think about NAFTA & markets in general, both in the U.S. & in Mexico. Here's the phrase in context:
"Trump está decidido a ***hacer lo que digan sus pistolas***, y como le gustan las guerras comerciales, y dice que es fácil ganarlas, parece estar atrincherado, listo para que sus pistolas atruenen y, tal vez, reviente de una buena vez el peor tratado que Estados Unidos (EU) ha firmado en su historia, que así ha llamado al TLCAN."
I think maybe it means to stick to his guns, but I've been unable to confirm or disconfirm this.
Has anyone else run across this phrase? Any insight would be very much appreciated - thanks in advance.
TomWalker
United States
Local time: 15:33
English translation:to do whatever he likes / do whatever he pleases / go it alone
Explanation:
I don't quite know how to explain this, but it's very clear to me that this is what it means and that it's a variation on the idiom "por sus pistolas", which basically means "on someone's own initiative" or more colloquially, "whatever [the hell] he or she wants".

I suppose it could be stretched to mean "go it alone" or "be his own man" here, or even "thumb his nose at everyone", which is basically what's going on here, i.e., Trump couldn't care less about what anyone else says, he'll do whatever he pleases.

pistola
3 Por sus pistolas (Coloq) Por propia iniciativa o por su cuenta, sin que nadie se lo pida o sin pedir permiso: “Natalia cambió el esquema por sus pistolas”

http://dem.colmex.mx
This is not a direct link, you need to search for "pistola".

Selected response from:

Robert Carter
Mexico
Local time: 17:33
Grading comment
Selected automatically based on peer agreement.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +6to do whatever he likes / do whatever he pleases / go it alone
Robert Carter
4 +1to let his guns do the talking
Marcelo González
4following his gut instinct
David Hollywood
3to shoot it out
Wendy Streitparth
Summary of reference entries provided
Refs.
Taña Dalglish

Discussion entries: 24





  

Answers


32 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
to let his guns do the talking


Explanation:
This text is steeped in figurative language alluding to guns/pistols and such---in reaction or response to Trump's comments in the context of the recent school shooting in Florida and the ongoing debate on gun rights in the US.

Literally, it's: "He's determined to do whatever his pistols say/tell him," i.e., he'll let his guns do the talking.


Marcelo González
Honduras
Local time: 16:33
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 207

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Robert Carter: Hi Marcelo. I'm almost 100% certain that this is not the meaning, "pistolas" is figurative.
17 mins
  -> Exactly, it IS figurative, Robert, hence my mentioning (above) that 'the text is steeped in figurative language.' With 'guerras' (comerciales) and being 'atricherado,' 'to let his guns do the talking' is a common idiom and a valid option in this context.

agree  Jessica Noyes
13 hrs
  -> Thanks Jessica :-)
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41 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +6
to do whatever he likes / do whatever he pleases / go it alone


Explanation:
I don't quite know how to explain this, but it's very clear to me that this is what it means and that it's a variation on the idiom "por sus pistolas", which basically means "on someone's own initiative" or more colloquially, "whatever [the hell] he or she wants".

I suppose it could be stretched to mean "go it alone" or "be his own man" here, or even "thumb his nose at everyone", which is basically what's going on here, i.e., Trump couldn't care less about what anyone else says, he'll do whatever he pleases.

pistola
3 Por sus pistolas (Coloq) Por propia iniciativa o por su cuenta, sin que nadie se lo pida o sin pedir permiso: “Natalia cambió el esquema por sus pistolas”

http://dem.colmex.mx
This is not a direct link, you need to search for "pistola".



Robert Carter
Mexico
Local time: 17:33
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 64
Grading comment
Selected automatically based on peer agreement.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Andy Watkinson: The Spain version of this has the decision-making organs in question located at a spot midway between the hips and dangling a bit further down.
46 mins
  -> Ha ha, thanks, Andy.

agree  Muriel Vasconcellos: Or 'whatever he wants' -- 'want' is a big word for Trump, more like -- well, I won't spell it out.
2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Muriel, I feel your pain :-)

agree  Robert Forstag: “Shoots from the hip” would seem perfect here.
11 hrs
  -> Thanks, Robert, I'll leave it as an option, although I do think it strays from the actual meaning of the phrase.

agree  Manuel Aburto M
12 hrs
  -> Thanks, Manuel.

agree  Chema Nieto Castañón: Definitely the pun is not so relevant so as to force a different translation than to do as he likes/pleases, which is the main point of the original expression... Nice trip though! ;)
1 day 23 hrs
  -> Thanks for all your input, Saltasebes :-)

agree  Charles Davis: I agree with you that the meaning is that of "por sus pistolas". This lexicalised metaphor is being re-semanticised, but we can't reproduce that. I think "shoot from the hip" is the wrong idea; the writer implies that Trump knows what he's doing.
2 days 20 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
following his gut instinct


Explanation:
Trump is bent on

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Note added at 1 hr (2018-03-17 02:33:58 GMT)
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in the sense of not worrying about what anybody else might say

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Note added at 1 hr (2018-03-17 02:35:47 GMT)
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this is very figurative, so lots of room for interpretation

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Note added at 1 hr (2018-03-17 02:36:22 GMT)
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maybe "going with his gut"

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Note added at 1 hr (2018-03-17 02:55:17 GMT)
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Trump is bent on going with his gut

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Note added at 1 hr (2018-03-17 02:55:52 GMT)
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I think this catches it

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Note added at 2 hrs (2018-03-17 03:18:41 GMT)
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how about "hits from the hip"

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Note added at 2 hrs (2018-03-17 03:19:58 GMT)
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in the sense of couldn't give a tinkers suss about what anybody else thinks

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Note added at 2 hrs (2018-03-17 03:20:34 GMT)
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cuss

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Note added at 2 hrs (2018-03-17 03:22:23 GMT)
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to keep the idea of pistols which normally would go off from the hip

David Hollywood
Local time: 19:33
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 211
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5 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
to shoot it out


Explanation:
-

Wendy Streitparth
Germany
Local time: 00:33
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 17
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Reference comments


1 hr peer agreement (net): +2
Reference: Refs.

Reference information:
Tom's context alludes to NAFTA's trouble (Canada and Mexico), and various pronoucements by Trump. I went searching for some English reports. The last link mentions "trade wars are good and easy to win", a part of the original text:

https://www.ft.com/content/17bcd6da-3bdd-11e7-821a-6027b8a20...

Donald Trump has fired the starting gun on renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, with his administration notifying Congress on Thursday that it planned to begin formal talks as soon as August. 


https://www.bnn.ca/trade-wars-are-good-and-easy-to-win-trump...
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday trade wars were good and easy to win, striking a defiant tone after global criticism of his plan to slap tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum that triggered a slide in world stock markets.

Actual tweet:
Donald J. Trump
@realDonaldTrump
When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!

I am inclined to agree with Robert and his interpretation. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-02/trump-s-s...
President Donald Trump’s latest trade salvo over steel and aluminum landed squarely in the middle of Nafta talks, overshadowing efforts by his own negotiators and those from his biggest export markets to update America’s most important free-trade agreement.

After a day of will-he-or-won’t-he chatter, Trump announced Thursday he intended to slap tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports. Specifics are unclear, including whether some countries may still be exempt, but the implications rippled through the seventh round of talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement in Mexico City.

Taña Dalglish
Jamaica
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 96

Peer comments on this reference comment (and responses from the reference poster)
agree  Robert Carter: Yes, that's it Taña, the idea conveyed by "por sus pistolas" is that of "defiance". Quite apart from the international community, Trump is defying virtually everyone in his own party with these tariffs.
38 mins
  -> Thank you Robert.
agree  Juan Jacob: Como dice Robert... "por sus pistolas" es la expresión consagrada. Sentido figurativo: lo que le venga en gana (Con actitud prepotente, claro).
46 mins
  -> Gracias Juan.
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