en combinación

English translation: in a combination / ina a slip / in a negligee

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Spanish term or phrase:en combinación
English translation:in a combination / ina a slip / in a negligee
Entered by: Robert Forstag
Options:
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17:36 Mar 26, 2018
Spanish to English translations [PRO]
Journalism / unusual behavior / mental illness / Spain
Spanish term or phrase: en combinación
The extract below is from an article in today’s *El País* (Spain) about the American playwright Tennessee William and his relationship with his sister, who ended up being diagnosed with schizophrenia, subjected to a lobotmy, and spending most of her adult life in psychiatric institutions:

...se podía descubrir a Rose en las fiestas que hacían en casa caminando en combinación, balbuceando en su acento sureño.

Here is an indirect link to the entire article:
https://www.google.com.mx/search?q="caminando en combinacion...

Does “en combinación” here mean that she was walking about the house wearing mismatched shoes?

The expression does not seem to be particularly common in the sense of describing unusual behavior (as is apparently the case here).

Many thanks.
Robert Forstag
United States
Local time: 00:15
in a negligee
Explanation:
This is the word Williams actually used; I'm sure the following must be the source of what the Spanish article says here:

"In his diary, he wrote: ". . . The house is wretched. Rose is on one of her neurotic sprees - fancies herself an invalid - talks in a silly dying-off way - trails around the house in negligees. Disgusting." Re-reading this three years later, Williams added a note: "God forgive me for this!"
This is from Rose's obituary in the Independent.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-rose-will...

OK, that's cheating, I suppose, but it's what I'd put if I were translating this.

"Combinación" means: "7. Prenda de vestir que usan las mujeres por encima de la ropa interior y debajo del vestido"
http://dle.rae.es/?id=9tifgi6

So not underwear (which means bra and panties), and definitely not knickers. A "combinación" is worn over these.

It is a synonym of enagua(s):
https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enagua

But only of "enagua entera" (de cuerpo completo), which covers the upper body too; not of "media enagua", which is what "enagua" usually means by default and which is a petticoat in English. A "combinación", as the name implies, is a combination of chemise and petticoat in a single garment.

So is "combination" in English, and that is a correct translation here. It is what we would nowadays call a slip. But this apparently refers to the 1930s, when Rose was in her twenties, and although "combination" sounds a bit old-fashioned and nineteenth-century, the word was still used then. See here:
http://www.fashion-era.com/drawers-pants-combinations-knicke...

However, TW uses the word "negligee", and so would I.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2018-03-26 19:27:38 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I see that Cecilia suggested "slip" in her added note (which I didn't see until after posting my answer). That's another correct option, in my opinion, and I don't think it's too modern a word.

One point that is perhaps worth mentioning is that the sexy, seductive combinations of "negligee" (essentially nightwear) may be relevant, given that sex was a big problem here. Tennessee took a long time to come to terms with his homosexuality. Rose is said to have been a virgin all her life. At this stage Tennessee apparently felt betrayed by Rose's incipient sexuality, and the word he uses for this garment may project his own hangups in that regard.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs (2018-03-26 20:01:01 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

(I meant sexy, seductive connotations, not combinations.)

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 day 15 hrs (2018-03-28 09:02:32 GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

Many thanks, Robert. I very much appreciate your kind words.
Selected response from:

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 06:15
Grading comment
To get away for a moment from the linguistic question, I found the family tragedy reflected in yesterday’s article at once sad and compelling. Reading a bit further, I discovered that, while Rose was dealing with her own issues, young Tennessee was interned in a psychiatric hospital for several months. He emerged from the experience apparently unscathed, only to discover that his sister’s condition had worsened. He then left the family home, never to return, while Rose’s condition deteriorated still further, and she was eventually subjected to a lobotomy, on their mother’s authorization. While Tennessee went on to become an internationally renowned playwright, she ended up spending most of her life in a highly delusional and semi-vegetative state, first in psychiatric institutions and later under deluxe private-care arrangements. He paid for her care and visited her regularly, while constantly feeling himself “under the household curse” of mental illness (of which there was a history on both sides of the family). He in fact had a lifelong addiction to alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, and later in life sufferred a nervous breakdown resulting in psychiatric hospitalization.

As for the linguistic question, my guess is that the writer of the piece – rather than inventing the term himself – took “en combinación” from a decades-old Spansh translation of Williams’ diaries. As Charles points out, it is possible that Williams’ use of “negligee” to describe the garment was as much the product of his own psychosexual conflicts as whatever it actually was that his sister was wearing (wherever the latter might have fallen on the continuum ranging from “sensual and beguiling” to “drab and matronly”). It would seem to follow that the translator’s “en combinación” represented something of a guess.

So, in the end, we appear to be dealing with terminology as loose as the article of clothing itself.

As regards the translation of “combinación,” Neilmac’s “combinación”/“slip” is undeniably correct. However, given that the source that served for the translated term “combinación” used “negligee,” I find it impossible to conclude that the latter is *not* the correct translation within the restricted context of the posted term. For this reason, I am awarding the points to Charles.

I had myself searched for the English source of the translated quote containing the term “en combinación.” Apparently, I did not use the right “combination” of terms to hit pay dirt. My mild embarrassment at not having done so is a small price to pay for the sublime pleasure of seeing a true master at work, supporting his suggestions with unimpeachable references and logic, and then defending and reinforcing them with Olympian calm and poise.

Many thanks to all who responded to and commented upon this query.

4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +6in a negligee
Charles Davis
4 +2Underwear
neilmac
4in her petticoat
Cecilia Gowar
4in her slip
Sofia Bengoa


Discussion entries: 14





  

Answers


3 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
Underwear


Explanation:
"Combination/s" is an old-fashioned type of ladies' underwear, like a slip or chemise... Run a Google search for "frilly combinations" and you'll see what I mean.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 4 mins (2018-03-26 17:40:34 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Basically, it's like a combination of a bodice and bloomers.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 4 mins (2018-03-26 17:41:03 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Basically, it's like a combination of a bodice and bloomers.
https://www.google.es/search?q=frilly drawers combinations&r...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 5 mins (2018-03-26 17:42:04 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Google images for ""frilly drawers combinations" shows a lot of examples.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 6 mins (2018-03-26 17:43:02 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/39275745/
"... wives who protested against the lure/of the bodice and bloomer combination"

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 9 mins (2018-03-26 17:46:07 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

NB: As Cecilia notes in her suggestion, it's akin to a petticoat or "enagua", but not quite. It's actually the bodice and bloomers combination (hence the name) mentioned in the link below. In fact, it used to be called "combinations" in English too.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 13 mins (2018-03-26 17:50:13 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

One Taste of Scandal - Page 236 - Google Books Result
https://books.google.es/books?isbn=1601831129
Heather Hiestand - 2013 - ‎Fiction
“I am tired of being cold,” she announced, and unbuttoned her corset cover. Judah moved behind her and helped her with her corset. She dashed into bed, still in her combinations..."

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 27 mins (2018-03-26 18:03:58 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

David: I don't think "in her knickers" is a great translation for this myself; "in her slip/nightdress" sound less "Benny Hill".
In fact, I agree with Phil's comment below, that "combinations" (my final answer) would be a good translation, especially if the text is a period piece. According to this link, combinations appeared on the scene in 1877:


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 28 mins (2018-03-26 18:04:31 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

http://www.fashion-era.com/drawers-pants-combinations-knicke...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 29 mins (2018-03-26 18:05:42 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

In fact, even Cecilia's suggestion "petticoat" sounds better to me than"knickers", which I always find slightly humorous. Think of expressions like "don't get your knickers in a twist"...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 37 mins (2018-03-26 18:13:58 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

And knickers apparently came onto the scene about 20 years after combinations, so it would be historically inaccurate, despite being more accessible to readers.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 46 mins (2018-03-26 18:23:07 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

The Daughter of the Hawk - Google Books Result
https://books.google.es/books?isbn=1448211220
C. S. Forester - 2013 - ‎Fiction
"The sight of the Hawk's daughter in her combinations troubled his newly respectable soul to its depths, ..."..


    https://www.google.es/search?q=frilly+drawers+combinations&rlz=1C1CHBD_esES719ES721&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi_wp__w4raAhV
neilmac
Spain
Local time: 06:15
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 20
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thank you for your suggestion and comments. It sounds like “in her knickers” would be an acceptable translation into UK English. Would you agree?


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  philgoddard: I'd say combinations - they could have said "ropa interior", but didn't.
4 mins
  -> I agree,"combinations"is the best option, but maybe it's too recondite for the target audience?

agree  Helena Chavarria: I'm not sure how many people know what combinations are. I like 'walking around in her underwear'.
1 hr
  -> Underear is pretty neutral, yes. But I'd still use "combinations" and damn the torpedoes.
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4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
in her petticoat


Explanation:
it is another word for "enagua".

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 8 mins (2018-03-26 17:44:37 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

7. f. Prenda de vestir que usan las mujeres por encima de la ropa interior y debajo del vestido. RAE

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2018-03-26 18:41:05 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Actually not too different from today's versions. "Slip" would be the modern word.

https://goo.gl/b2LWSK

Cecilia Gowar
United Kingdom
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 68

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  neilmac: "Petticoat" would actually work for this context IMHO, and appears to be better known than "combinations"...
7 mins
  -> I know the name and the garment. Both went out of fashion in my time.
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
in her slip


Explanation:
Oxford Duden: slip (for a whole underwear piece)
waist slip (media combinación or enagua).
No doubt the drawings match the underware you are describing.

Sofia Bengoa
Spain
Local time: 06:15
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  neilmac: I already suggested this
13 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +6
in a negligee


Explanation:
This is the word Williams actually used; I'm sure the following must be the source of what the Spanish article says here:

"In his diary, he wrote: ". . . The house is wretched. Rose is on one of her neurotic sprees - fancies herself an invalid - talks in a silly dying-off way - trails around the house in negligees. Disgusting." Re-reading this three years later, Williams added a note: "God forgive me for this!"
This is from Rose's obituary in the Independent.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-rose-will...

OK, that's cheating, I suppose, but it's what I'd put if I were translating this.

"Combinación" means: "7. Prenda de vestir que usan las mujeres por encima de la ropa interior y debajo del vestido"
http://dle.rae.es/?id=9tifgi6

So not underwear (which means bra and panties), and definitely not knickers. A "combinación" is worn over these.

It is a synonym of enagua(s):
https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enagua

But only of "enagua entera" (de cuerpo completo), which covers the upper body too; not of "media enagua", which is what "enagua" usually means by default and which is a petticoat in English. A "combinación", as the name implies, is a combination of chemise and petticoat in a single garment.

So is "combination" in English, and that is a correct translation here. It is what we would nowadays call a slip. But this apparently refers to the 1930s, when Rose was in her twenties, and although "combination" sounds a bit old-fashioned and nineteenth-century, the word was still used then. See here:
http://www.fashion-era.com/drawers-pants-combinations-knicke...

However, TW uses the word "negligee", and so would I.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2018-03-26 19:27:38 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I see that Cecilia suggested "slip" in her added note (which I didn't see until after posting my answer). That's another correct option, in my opinion, and I don't think it's too modern a word.

One point that is perhaps worth mentioning is that the sexy, seductive combinations of "negligee" (essentially nightwear) may be relevant, given that sex was a big problem here. Tennessee took a long time to come to terms with his homosexuality. Rose is said to have been a virgin all her life. At this stage Tennessee apparently felt betrayed by Rose's incipient sexuality, and the word he uses for this garment may project his own hangups in that regard.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs (2018-03-26 20:01:01 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

(I meant sexy, seductive connotations, not combinations.)

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 day 15 hrs (2018-03-28 09:02:32 GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

Many thanks, Robert. I very much appreciate your kind words.

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 06:15
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 116
Grading comment
To get away for a moment from the linguistic question, I found the family tragedy reflected in yesterday’s article at once sad and compelling. Reading a bit further, I discovered that, while Rose was dealing with her own issues, young Tennessee was interned in a psychiatric hospital for several months. He emerged from the experience apparently unscathed, only to discover that his sister’s condition had worsened. He then left the family home, never to return, while Rose’s condition deteriorated still further, and she was eventually subjected to a lobotomy, on their mother’s authorization. While Tennessee went on to become an internationally renowned playwright, she ended up spending most of her life in a highly delusional and semi-vegetative state, first in psychiatric institutions and later under deluxe private-care arrangements. He paid for her care and visited her regularly, while constantly feeling himself “under the household curse” of mental illness (of which there was a history on both sides of the family). He in fact had a lifelong addiction to alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, and later in life sufferred a nervous breakdown resulting in psychiatric hospitalization.

As for the linguistic question, my guess is that the writer of the piece – rather than inventing the term himself – took “en combinación” from a decades-old Spansh translation of Williams’ diaries. As Charles points out, it is possible that Williams’ use of “negligee” to describe the garment was as much the product of his own psychosexual conflicts as whatever it actually was that his sister was wearing (wherever the latter might have fallen on the continuum ranging from “sensual and beguiling” to “drab and matronly”). It would seem to follow that the translator’s “en combinación” represented something of a guess.

So, in the end, we appear to be dealing with terminology as loose as the article of clothing itself.

As regards the translation of “combinación,” Neilmac’s “combinación”/“slip” is undeniably correct. However, given that the source that served for the translated term “combinación” used “negligee,” I find it impossible to conclude that the latter is *not* the correct translation within the restricted context of the posted term. For this reason, I am awarding the points to Charles.

I had myself searched for the English source of the translated quote containing the term “en combinación.” Apparently, I did not use the right “combination” of terms to hit pay dirt. My mild embarrassment at not having done so is a small price to pay for the sublime pleasure of seeing a true master at work, supporting his suggestions with unimpeachable references and logic, and then defending and reinforcing them with Olympian calm and poise.

Many thanks to all who responded to and commented upon this query.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  JohnMcDove: "Slip" is the first word that came to mind, but "negligee" seems a very fitting choice in this context. Indeed.
58 mins
  -> Thanks, John :-) Yes, "slip" is the most accurate modern translation, I think. (No es que yo sea un gran experto en ropa interior femenina)

agree  Helena Chavarria: I hadn't seen your answer. There's nothing better than the original version!
1 hr
  -> Thanks very much, Helena :-)

agree  Marcelo González
4 hrs
  -> Many thanks, Marcelo :-)

agree  James A. Walsh: I've always thought "negligee" is such an elegant word, so yeah - all the way! ;)
4 hrs
  -> Cheers, James ;-) I like it too; it sounds like one of those southern belles in Tennessee Williams plays, Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire and all that.

agree  Muriel Vasconcellos: Because of the original quote. In those days, women would wear filmy costumes at home. Not really a negligee, but also not a garment meant to be a slip. Williams probably had no idea what to call i.t
9 hrs
  -> Thanks, Muriel :-) Yes, that's the reason I chose it. // Quite possibly. A negligee is now a kind of loose dressing gown; then again, in 1913 Webster's first definition was "An easy, unceremonious attire; undress", which is perhaps closer to "combinación"

agree  Ashlie: Per original version!
13 hrs
  -> So it seems! Thanks, Ashlie :-)

neutral  neilmac: So TW used "negligee" after all? Well, I'll de damned. I salute your "Olympian calm and poise" :-)
13 hrs
  -> Believe me, I know the feeling, Neil. All the best :-) // Ah! Good, I'm glad that's cleared up.
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