la punta del ovillo

English translation: follow the trail of crumbs

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Spanish term or phrase:la punta del ovillo
English translation:follow the trail of crumbs
Entered by: Elizabeth Lyons

21:43 Apr 25, 2005
Spanish to English translations [PRO]
Idioms / Maxims / Sayings / common expressions
Spanish term or phrase: la punta del ovillo
"Encontrale la punta al ovillo", meaning that you find the first significant clue that will most surely lead you to an expected or wanted result or discovery. Do you know of an expression in English for this.

Example:
Parece que le encontramos la punta al ovillo y nos vamos a topar con algo grande...
Martin Harvey
Argentina
follow the trail of crumbs...to the heart of the matter
Explanation:
Since it literally means, "the end of the thread or end of the yarn", the closest idiomatic equivalent in English that occurs to me is "follow the trail of crumbs", which is a reference to the Hansel and Grethel fable because it really means that you want to follow a lead to the goal. Tip of the iceberg on the other hand alludes to almost the opposite, a hidden danger beneath the surface so appearances are deceiving. I don't think that is what you want here.

Selected response from:

Elizabeth Lyons
United States
Local time: 16:46
Grading comment
Yours is the closest here. Thank you Elizabeth.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 +6tip of the iceberg
Giovanni Rengifo
5 +2follow the trail of crumbs...to the heart of the matter
Elizabeth Lyons
4the key to the puzzle
bigedsenior
4by putting two and two together
felizfeliz


Discussion entries: 5





  

Answers


0 min   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +6
tip of the iceberg


Explanation:
-

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Note added at 2 mins (2005-04-25 21:45:14 GMT)
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I must have heard this somewhere before, but I´m pretty sure it fits here.

Giovanni Rengifo
Colombia
Local time: 18:46
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 56
Grading comment
I agree with Elizabeth here. The tip of the iceberg makes allusion to some looming danger hidden out of sight or knowledge. Thanks a lot Gionvanni.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  JaneTranslates: Exactly.
1 min
  -> Thank U!

agree  LogieBear (X)
31 mins

agree  Alejandra Vega
1 hr

agree  Gabriela Rodriguez
2 hrs

agree  RebeW
2 hrs
  -> Thank you

agree  Maria Boschero
5 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)
The asker has declined this answer
Comment: I agree with Elizabeth here. The tip of the iceberg makes allusion to some looming danger hidden out of sight or knowledge. Thanks a lot Gionvanni.

1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
follow the trail of crumbs...to the heart of the matter


Explanation:
Since it literally means, "the end of the thread or end of the yarn", the closest idiomatic equivalent in English that occurs to me is "follow the trail of crumbs", which is a reference to the Hansel and Grethel fable because it really means that you want to follow a lead to the goal. Tip of the iceberg on the other hand alludes to almost the opposite, a hidden danger beneath the surface so appearances are deceiving. I don't think that is what you want here.



Elizabeth Lyons
United States
Local time: 16:46
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
Grading comment
Yours is the closest here. Thank you Elizabeth.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Oso (X): Me gusta mucho la imagen que provoca tu idea ¶:^)
2 hrs
  -> Gracias, Oso! :)

agree  María Teresa Taylor Oliver: I think your interpretation works best in this case... I had read the question as "following the clues", so "trail of crumbs" is the most approximate expression :)
3 hrs
  -> I appreciate that feedback Maria Teresa, thank you so much:)
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
by putting two and two together


Explanation:
El Gran Diccionario Larousse:
por el hilo se sace el ovillo (by putting two and two together)

felizfeliz
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish, Native in EnglishEnglish
Grading comment
Thanks a lot felizfeliz by I would translate "put two and two together" as "atar cabos".
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The asker has declined this answer
Comment: Thanks a lot felizfeliz by I would translate "put two and two together" as "atar cabos".

7 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
the key to the puzzle


Explanation:
It is the clue that leads you to solving the problem.

bigedsenior
Local time: 16:46
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
This would be something like "dar en la tecla", it is closer to finding the solution, whereas "la punta del ovillo" is the first steps towards the solution... Thanks bigedsenior.
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The asker has declined this answer
Comment: This would be something like "dar en la tecla", it is closer to finding the solution, whereas "la punta del ovillo" is the first steps towards the solution... Thanks bigedsenior.



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