Guardianes que dibujan puentes entre culturas...

Happy New Year!

We sincerely thank your continued trust in us.

May 2012 be a successful year for everybody.


Time for reflection

The Paradox of Our Age

by Dr. Bob Moorehead
(Attributed to George Carlin)

We have taller buildings but shorter tempers; wider freeways but narrower viewpoints; we spend more but have less; we buy more but enjoy it less; we have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, yet less time; we have more degrees but less sense; more knowledge but less judgement; more experts, yet more problems; we have more gadgets but less satisfaction; more medicine, yet less wellness; we take more vitamins but see fewer results. We drink too much; smoke too much; spend too recklessly; laugh too little; drive too fast; get too angry quickly; stay up too late; get up too tired; read too seldom; watch TV too much and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values; we fly in faster planes to arrive there quicker, to do less and return sooner; we sign more contracts only to realize fewer profits; we talk too much; love too seldom and lie too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life; we've added years to life, not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We've conquered outer space, but not inner space; we've done larger things, but not better things; we've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we've split the atom, but not our prejudice; we write more, but learn less; plan more, but accomplish less; we make faster planes, but longer lines; we learned to rush, but not to wait; we have more weapons, but less peace; higher incomes, but lower morals; more parties, but less fun; more food, but less appeasement; more acquaintances, but fewer friends; more effort, but less success. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication; drive smaller cars that have bigger problems; build larger factories that produce less. We've become long on quantity, but short on quality.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men, but short character; steep in profits, but shallow relationships. These are times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure and less fun; higher postage, but slower mail; more kinds of food, but less nutrition. These are days of two incomes, but more divorces; these are times of fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, cartridge living, thow-away morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies and pills that do everything from cheer, to prevent, quiet or kill. It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stock room. Indeed, these are the times!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!


Nuevo Diccionario urgente de dudas (DUD)

El sitio web de la Fundéu BBVA estrena nueva sección: el DUD o Diccionario urgente de dudas, que responderá, con sus más de 4.000 entradas, a las dudas más frecuentes sobre el español.

Como rápidamente descubrirán quienes conozcan la web de la Fundéu, el nuevo Diccionario de dudas parte del clásico Vademécum, que la Fundación ha ido confeccionando, a lo largo de los años, gracias a su análisis diario de los medios de comunicación.

Pero el DUD no es un diccionario cualquiera, además de poder consultarse por orden alfabético y de acceder a sus entradas usando el buscador, el diccionario cuenta con un rico sistema de etiquetas para mejorar su navegabilidad.

Gracias a este etiquetado, el DUD te ofrece en un solo clic todas las entradas que tienen que ver, por ejemplo, con temas deportivos o con asuntos relacionados con la economía o el mundo empresarial; también se pueden ver todas las dudas que tienen que ver con un verbo o con una preposición o un nombre, o con problemas de extranjerismos, de topónimos, de acentuación, de concordancias.

Por ahora es solo una prueba, una especie de versión 1.0.

Lost in translation (comic reliefs)

To make a long story short...
A missionary goes to Africa to visit a community, a very old, primitive tribal community. He gives a long sermon. For half an hour he tells a long anecdote, and then the interpreter stands up. He speaks only four words and everyone laughs uproariously. The missionary is puzzled. How is it possible that a story half an hour long can be translated in four words. What kind of amazing language is this? Puzzled, he says to the interpreter, "You have done a miracle. You have spoken only four words. I don't know what you said, but how can you translate my story, which was so long, into only four words?"
The interpreter says, "Story too long, so I say, 'He says joke -- laugh!' "

Two translators on a ship are talking."Can you swim?" asks one."No" says the other, "but I can shout for help in nine languages."

There were a group of archeologists who dug up a line of hieroglyphics that were, from left to right: a dog, a donkey, a shovel, a fish, and a Star of David. After years of study they came up with an explanation. They believed that this was a very wise group of people. First, they knew man had to have company, hence the dog. Next, they knew that they needed animals to help with work, so the donkey. The shovel was there because of their advanced knowledge of tools. Next, they knew that they had to eat, and that fish were the best source of food. Finally, they were a religious group and knew man had to have religion.
After the explanation, a man jumped up and said, "You fools, Hebrew is read from right to left! It says 'Holy mackerel, dig the ass on that bitch!'

Evenings of Theatre

A bitter sweet comedy of today's young adults.

In an exclusive country club a group of young adults, some married, some not, meet in The Club Room, a space for the adolescent to gather and party. But they are no longer adolescents and through a series of holiday theme reunions (New Years, St. Patrick's Day, April Fools, Thanksgiving… etc.) this brittle comedy unfolds: One of the group returns after a two year absence, another is engaged to a working class outsider, there is drinking and laughter, and eventually little lies are found out, betrayals are ever present, old relationships come and go, there is charm and wit, and fun is made of the outside world as the fear of the future and adulthood peeks through the jokes and the laughter. The Country Club: Who loves who, who is sleeping with whom, and what life is all about.


How do you say...? (2)

Animal Idioms

act as a guinea pig

- to allow some kind of test to be performed on someone

I was not happy to act as a guinea pig for the new training material.

ahead of the pack

- to be more successful than other people who are doing the same thing as you (a pack is a group of animals like dogs or wolves who live together)

The girl studied hard all summer and was ahead of the pack when she returned to school in the autumn.

alley cat

- a stray cat

I began to feed the alley cat and now it comes to my house every day.

as awkward as a cow on roller skates

- very awkward

The little girl was as awkward as a cow on roller skates when she first began riding her bicycle.

as blind as a bat

- blind

The man is as blind as a bat and cannot see more than a small distance ahead.

as busy as a beaver

- very busy

I have been as busy as a beaver all morning.

as clean as a hound's tooth

- very clean

The classroom was as clean as a hound's tooth when the students finished cleaning it.

as conceited as a barber's cat

- very conceited, vain

My friend became as conceited as a barber's cat after she won the award at school.

as crooked as a dog's hind leg

- dishonest

The politician is as crooked as a dog's hind leg and nobody trusts him.

as drunk as a skunk

- very drunk

The man was as drunk as a skunk when he walked into the restaurant.

as fat as a pig

- very fat

The woman in the supermarket was as fat as a pig.

as gentle as a lamb

- very gentle

The girl is as gentle as a lamb when she is with her little sister.

as gruff as a bear

- gruff, unsociable

Our neighbor is as gruff as a bear when we meet him in the morning.

as hungry as a bear

- very hungry

I was as hungry as a bear when I arrived home from work.

as innocent as a lamb

- having no guilt, naive

The little girl is as innocent as a lamb and everybody loves her.

as meek as a lamb

- quiet, docile, meek

The secretary was as meek as a lamb when she went to ask her boss for a salary increase.

as nervous as a cat

- very nervous

The man was as nervous as a cat when he talked to the woman.

as poor as a church mouse

- very poor

My cousin is as poor as a church mouse and never has any money to spend.

as quiet as a mouse

- very quiet, shy

I was as quiet as a mouse when I left my house early this morning.

as scared as a rabbit

- very scared

I was as scared as a rabbit when I entered the empty room.

as sick as a dog

- very sick

My friend was as sick as a dog when he left the restaurant last night.

as sly as a fox

- smart and clever

The manager of our apartment is as sly as a fox.

as strong as a horse/ox

- very strong

The man was as strong as an ox and easily helped us move the sofa.

as stubborn as a mule

- very stubborn

My friend is as stubborn as a mule and you can never make her change her mind.

as weak as a kitten

- weak, sickly

The girl is as weak as a kitten and cannot carry the books.

as wild as a tiger

- very wild

The little boy was as wild as a tiger when we were trying to look after him.

back the wrong horse

- to support someone or something that cannot or does not win or succeed

We backed the wrong horse when we supported the candidate for mayor.

badger (someone)

- to get someone to do something by repeated questions or by bothering them

I always have to badger my friend in order to make him return my computer games.

one's bark is worse than one's bite

- one's words are worse than one's actions

You should not worry about the secretary. Her bark is worse than her bite and she is really a very nice person.

bark up the wrong tree

- to choose the wrong course of action, to ask the wrong person (a hunting dog may make a mistake when chasing an animal and bark up the wrong tree)

My boss is barking up the wrong tree. I did not cause the computer problem.

beat a dead horse

- to continue fighting a battle that has been won, to continue to argue a point that has been settled

I was beating a dead horse when I was arguing with my boss.

the best-laid plans of mice and men

- the best thought-out plans that anyone can make

The best-laid plans of mice and men could not prevent our travel problems.

bet on the wrong horse

- to misread the future, to not choose the winning person or solution

The man is betting on the wrong horse if he supports the other city in their bid for the Olympic games.

better to be a live dog than a dead lion

- it is better to be a live coward than a dead hero (this is from Ecclesiastes in the Bible)

It is better to be a live dog than a dead lion so I walked away and did not try and fight with the man.

better to be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion

- it is better to be the leader of a small group than a follower of a bigger one

The young athlete always played for his hometown team rather than moving to a larger city with a bigger team. He thought that it was better to be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion.

the black sheep of the family

- the worst or the most unpopular or disliked member of a family

My cousin is the black sheep of the family and nobody likes to talk about him.

bright-eyed and bushy-tailed

- to be very cheerful and eager (like a squirrel with bright eyes and a bushy tail)

The children were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed when they woke up in the morning.

a bull in a china shop

- a tactless person who upsets others or upsets plans, a very clumsy person

The boy is like a bull in a china shop so you should be careful if you invite him to your house.

buy a pig in a poke

- to buy something without seeing it or knowing anything about it

You can buy the used computer but it will be like buying a pig in a poke if you do not look at it first.

by shank's mare

- by foot

I came to the meeting by shank's mare.

call the dogs off or call off the dogs

- to stop threatening or chasing or hounding someone

The police decided to call the dogs off and stop hunting for the man.

a cash cow

- a product or service that makes much money

Our new business is a cash cow. We are making much money now.

cast pearls before swine

- to waste something on someone who will not be thankful or care about it

Giving the jewellery to the woman will be casting pearls before swine. She will not appreciate it at all.

cat burglar

- a burglar who enters a building by climbing a wall, etc.

A cat burglar entered our apartment and stole our television.

cat gets one's tongue

- one cannot speak because of shyness

The cat got the woman's tongue and she could not say anything at all.

a cat has nine lives

- cats can survive accidents that would kill most animals

The boy never becomes injured. He is like a cat with nine lives.

a cat in gloves catches no mice

- if you are too careful and polite you may not get what you want

A cat in gloves catches no mice and I advised my friend that he should be more aggressive at work or he will not be successful.

a cat nap

- a short sleep taken during the day

I had a cat nap in the afternoon so that I would feel refreshed in the evening.

a cat on a hot tin roof

- full of lively activity

The boy was jumping around like a cat on a hot tin roof and we could not make him be quiet.

champ/chomp at the bit

- to be ready and anxious to do something (a bit is put into a horse's mouth for control of the horse)

Everyone was chomping at the bit to get started on their holiday.

change horses in midstream

- to make new plans or choose a new leader in an activity that has already begun

They have decided to change lawyers but I told them that they should not change horses in midstream.

a cock-and-bull story

- a silly story that is not true

Our neighbor gave us a cock-and-bull story about how our window was broken.

a copycat

- someone who copies another person's work etc.

The boy is a copycat and often copies the other students' work.

cry wolf

- to give a false alarm, to warn of a danger that is not there

The man is crying wolf. There is no danger from the electrical system.

curiosity killed the cat

- being too nosy or curious may get a person into trouble

"You should not worry about what your friend is doing. Remember, curiosity killed the cat."

a dark horse

- a candidate who is little known to the general public

The candidate for mayor was a dark horse until he gave some good speeches on TV.

dog and pony show

- something that you disapprove of because you think that it has only been organized to impress you (like a dog and pony show in a circus)

We had serious questions about the project but we only got a dog and pony show when we questioned our business partners.


- ready or willing to fight and hurt others to get what one wants

It is a dog-eat-dog world in our company.

dog in the manger

- someone who prevents others from doing what they themselves do not want to do (in Aesop's Fables a dog that cannot eat hay lays in the hayrack and prevents the other animals from eating the hay)

My friend always acts like a dog in the manger and often tries to prevent us from enjoying ourselves.

donkey's years

- a very long time

I was happy to see my friend because I had not seen her in donkey's years.

a dumb bunny

- a stupid or gullible person

"He really is a dumb bunny. He does such stupid things."

eager beaver

- a person who is always eager to work or do something extra

The woman is an eager beaver and will do very well in this company.

eat high on/off the hog

- to eat good or expensive food

We were eating high off the hog during our ocean cruise.

eat like a horse

- to eat a lot

My brother eats like a horse.

every dog has his day

- everyone will have his chance or turn, everyone will get what he deserves

"Don't worry about him. Every dog has his day and he will eventually suffer for all the bad things that he is doing."

ferret (information or something) out of (someone)

- to get something from someone by being persistent

I worked hard to ferret the location of the party out of my friend.

fight like cats and dogs

- to argue and fight with someone (usually used for people who know each other)

The two children were fighting like cats and dogs when we entered the room.

flog a dead horse

- to continue fighting a battle that has been won, to continue to argue a point that has been settled

My friend was flogging a dead horse when she would not stop arguing about the mistake on her paycheck.

a fraidy-cat

- someone who is easily frightened (usually used by children)

The little boy called his friend a fraidy-cat because his friend would not climb the tree.

get (someone's) goat

- to annoy someone

My friend is always complaining about the way that I do things which gets my goat.

get off one's high horse

- to begin to be humble and agreeable

I wish that my supervisor would get off her high horse and begin to think about how other people feel about things.

get on one's high horse

- to behave with arrogance

My friend is always getting on her high horse and telling people what to do.

go ape (over someone or something)

- to become highly excited or angry about someone or something

Our teacher will go ape if you do not finish the work that was due today.

go hog-wild

- to behave wildly

The soccer fans went hog-wild when they arrived in the city for the game.

go to the dogs

- to deteriorate, to become bad

Many things in our city have gone to the dogs during the last ten years.

go whole hog

- to do everything possible, to be extravagant

We went whole hog in our effort to make the convention a success.

grin like a Cheshire cat

- to grin or smile broadly

The little boy was grinning like a Cheshire cat when he entered the room.

the hair of the dog that bit one

- a drink of alcohol that one takes when recovering from a hangover

The man had the hair of the dog that bit him before he ate breakfast.

have a cow

- to become very angry and upset about something

Our teacher had a cow when nobody prepared for the class.

have a tiger by the tail

- to have a task or situation that you are not prepared for or which is a bigger challenge that you expected

The politician had a tiger by the tail as he tried to manage the large problem.

have a whale of a time

- to have an exciting and interesting time

We had a whale of a time at the party last night.

have bats in one's belfry

- to be a little bit crazy

I think that our neighbor has bats in her belfry.

hit the bulls-eye

- to reach or focus on the main point of something

Our manager hit the bulls-eye when he talked about the problems in the company.

hold one's horses

- to wait, to be patient

"Hold your horses for a moment while I make a phone call."

Holy cow

- used to express strong feelings of astonishment or pleasure or anger

"Holy cow," the man said when he saw the car that hit the street lamp.

hoof it

- to walk or run (a hoof is the foot of a horse or sheep or cow, etc.)

I decided to hoof it when I came downtown this morning.

horse around

- to play around (in a rough way)

The teacher told the children not to horse around while they were getting ready for class.

a horse of a different color

- another matter entirely, something else, something different than the subject that is being discussed

Changing locations is a horse of a different color and was never discussed in the meeting.

horse sense

- common sense, practical thinking

The boy does not have any horse sense and often makes the wrong decision.

horse trade

- to bargain in a hard and skillful way

We had to do some horse trading but finally we were able to buy the new house.

to hound (someone)

- to pursue or chase someone, to harass someone

The manager is always hounding the younger members of her staff to make them work hard.

in a pig's eye

- unlikely, not so, never

Never in a pig's eye will my friend be able to save enough money to go to Mexico for the winter.

in the doghouse

- in disgrace or disfavor, in trouble

The man is in the doghouse with his wife because he came home late last night.

in two shakes of a lamb's tail

- very quickly

I promised that I would meet my friend in two shakes of a lamb's tail.

kangaroo court

- an illegal court formed by a group of people to settle a dispute among themselves

The military court in the small country was a kangaroo court that permitted the military to do whatever they wanted.

keep the wolf from the door

- to maintain oneself at the most basic level

My friend's part-time job is enough for him to keep the wolf from the door.

keep the wolves at bay

- to fight against some kind of trouble

Many people are angry about the new tax. The government has to work hard to keep the wolves at bay.

kill the fatted calf

- to prepare an elaborate banquet for someone

We will kill the fatted calf and have a big feast for my parents.

lead a dog's life

- to lead a miserable life

The man is leading a dog's life since he married the woman who everyone told him not to marry.

a leopard can't change its spots

- you cannot change someone's basic human nature or bad qualities

The manager wrote a letter of apology to the customer but a leopard can't change its spots. The manager has not changed and the letter does not mean anything.

let sleeping dogs lie

- do not make trouble if you do not have to

You should let sleeping dogs lie and not ask our boss about the dispute.

let the cat out of the bag

- to tell something that is supposed to be a secret

The teacher let the cat out of the bag when she began talking about the plans to close the school.

like a bat out of hell

- with great speed and force

I ran like a bat out of hell to catch the bus.

like a deer caught in the headlights

- like someone who is very confused and does not know what to do

The boy looked like a deer caught in the headlights when we discovered him in the locked room.

like lambs to the slaughter

- quietly and without complaining about the dangers that may lie ahead

Our football team went like lambs to the slaughter to play against the best football team in the country.

lion's share of (something)

- the larger part or share of something

We found the lion's share of the lost tickets but some are still missing.

a live dog is better than a dead lion

- it is better to be a live coward than a dead hero (this is from Ecclesiastes in the Bible)

A live dog is better than a dead lion and I told my friend not to get into a fight with the angry man in the restaurant.

live high on/off the hog

- to have the best of everything

My friend has been living high on the hog since he changed jobs.

loaded for bear

- very angry

The man was loaded for bear when he went in to see the supervisor.

lock horns with (someone)

- to get into an argument with someone

I locked horns with my neighbor yesterday morning.

lock the barn door after the horse is gone

- to try to deal with something after it is too late

My friend wants to fix his house. However, it is like locking the barn door after the horse is gone. There was a flood and the damage is already done.

a lone wolf

- someone who prefers to spend time alone and has few friends

The boy was a lone wolf and spent most of his time alone.

look a gift horse in the mouth

- to complain if a gift is not perfect

The girl should not look a gift horse in the mouth. She should be happy that she received a present from her friends.

look like something the cat dragged in

- to look tired or worn out or dirty

I was very tired and I looked like something the cat dragged in.

look like the cat that swallowed/ate the canary

- to look smug and self-satisfied, to look as if you have just had a great success

"You look like the cat that swallowed the canary. What happened?"

make a monkey out of (someone)

- to make someone look foolish

My friend made a monkey out of me when he started arguing with me in front of my boss.

make a mountain out of a molehill

- to make something that is unimportant seem important

You are making a mountain out of a molehill when you talk about the mistake.

make a silk purse out of a sow's ear

- to create something of value from something of no value

You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. There is no point in trying to teach that woman manners.

monkey around with (someone or something)

- to play with or waste time with someone or something

The boy spent the morning monkeying around with the old radio.

monkey business

- unethical or illegal activity, mischief

The boy should stop the monkey business and do the job correctly.

a monkey on one's back

- a serious problem that stops someone from being successful at something

Seven games without scoring a goal was a monkey on the back of the famous soccer player.

monkey see, monkey do

- someone copies something that someone else does

It is monkey see, monkey do for the boy. He copies everything that his friend does.

more fun than a barrel of monkeys

- very funny, fun

The children love their teacher because he is more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

not enough room to swing a cat

- not very much space

There was not enough room to swing a cat in the small apartment.

on horseback

- on the back of a horse

We rode to the river on horseback.

a paper tiger

- a person or organization that is supposed to have a lot of power but is actually very weak

The manager was a paper tiger and did not have any power in the company.

piggy bank

- a small bank (sometimes in the shape of a pig) for saving money

The boy has been putting money into his piggy bank to save for a bicycle.


- sitting or being carried on someone's back and shoulders

The boy was riding piggyback on his father's shoulders.

play cat and mouse with (someone)

- to tease or fool someone, to change between different types of behavior when dealing with someone

The man is playing cat and mouse with his company about his plans to quit or not.

play possum

- to pretend to be inactive or asleep or dead

I think that the man is playing possum and is not really sleeping.

put on the dog

- to dress or entertain in a luxurious and extravagant manner

We put on the dog for my parents when they came to visit us.

put (someone or something) out to pasture

- to retire someone or something (just as you would put a horse that is too old to work out to pasture)

We finally decided to put our old car out to pasture and buy a new one.

put the cart before the horse

- to do things in the wrong order

Buying a ticket before we make our holiday plans is putting the cart before the horse.

put the cat among the pigeons

- to cause trouble

Sending the unpopular supervisor to talk to the angry workers was like putting the cat among the pigeons.

rain cats and dogs

- to rain very hard

It has been raining cats and dogs all day.

rat on (someone)

- to report someone's bad behavior to someone

The little boy ratted on his friend at school.

rat out on (someone)

- to desert or betray someone

The boy ratted out on his friends. Now they won't talk to him.

rat race

- a rushed and confusing way of living that does not seem to have a purpose

My uncle is tired of being in the rat race every day. He plans to quit his job soon and do something else.

ride herd on (someone)

- to watch closely and strictly supervise someone (as a cowboy would supervise a herd of cattle)

The manager has been riding herd on his employees so that they can finish the job quickly.

a road hog

- a car driver who uses more than his share of the road

The person in front of me on the highway was a road hog but I tried not to get angry.

rub (someone/someone's fur) the wrong way

- to irritate someone (just as you would irritate a dog or cat if you rub their fur the wrong way)

The woman who I work with always rubs me the wrong way.

a sacred cow

- a person or thing that is never criticized or changed even if it should be (from a cow which is sacred in India)

The school lunch program is a sacred cow which they do not want to change.

a scaredy-cat

- someone who is easily frightened (usually used by children)

The children called their friend a scaredy-cat because she would not enter the empty house.

see a man about a dog

- to leave for some unmentioned purpose (often to go to the washroom)

I left our table in the restaurant to go and see a man about a dog.

separate the sheep from the goats

- to divide people into two groups

We had to separate the sheep from the goats when we began to make selections for the school choir.

serve as a guinea pig

- to allow some kind of test to be performed on someone

I was not happy that I had to serve as a guinea pig for the new training material.

a shaggy dog story

- a long and often pointless story that is told as a joke and often ends in a very silly or unexpected way

My friend told me a shaggy dog story about how he lost his bicycle.

smell a rat

- to be suspicious of someone or something, to feel that something is wrong

I smell a rat. There is something wrong with the free credit card offer.

squirrel away (something) or squirrel (something) away

- to hide or store something

My niece likes to squirrel away as much money as possible from her part-time job.

straight from the horse's mouth

- directly from the person who said something, directly from a dependable source

I heard it straight from the horse's mouth that our supervisor will be leaving the company next week.

the straw that broke the camel's back

- a small final trouble or problem which follows other troubles and causes everything to collapse or something to happen

The mistake on the bill was the straw that broke the camel's back. We finally fired the new accounting clerk.

one's tail between one's legs

- feeling beaten or humiliated (like a frightened or defeated dog as it walks away)

The manager left the meeting with his tail between his legs after he was criticized by the company president.

the tail wagging the dog

- a situation where a small part controls the whole thing

The tail is wagging the dog. The receptionist controls everything in the office.

take the bull by the horns

- to take decisive and direct action

My aunt decided to take the bull by the horns and begin preparations for the family reunion.

there is more than one way to skin a cat

- there is more than one way to do something

I knew that there was more than one way to skin a cat so I did not worry about the rules and time limit of my project.

throw (someone) to the lions

- to permit someone to be blamed or criticized for something without trying to help or protect him or her

The company threw the manager to the lions and made him take responsibility for the problem.

throw (someone) to the wolves

- to send someone into danger without protection, to sacrifice someone

The salesman decided to throw his coworker to the wolves when he asked him to meet the angry customer.

top dog

- the most important person in an organization

My uncle is the top dog in his company.

turn tail

- to run away from trouble or danger

We decided to turn tail and leave the restaurant before there was an argument.

until the cows come home

- until very late, for a long time

We can talk until the cows come home this evening.

weasel out of (something)

- to not have to do something (like a weasel which can move through small openings)

My friend was able to weasel out of going to the store for his mother.

when the cat's away, the mice will play

- when you are not watching someone they may get into trouble, when a person with authority is absent then those below him or her can do whatever they want

When the cat's away, the mice will play and when the teacher left the classroom the students began to play.

a white elephant

- something that is not useful and costs a lot of money to maintain

The airport is a white elephant and nobody liked to use it.

wild horses could not drag (someone away)

- there is nothing that will force someone to go somewhere or do something

Wild horses could not drag me away from my favorite TV show last night.

a wildcat strike

- a strike spontaneously arranged by a group of workers

There was a wildcat strike at the factory and the workers stopped work.

wolf down (something)

- to gulp down something, to eat something quickly

I wolfed down my dinner and left the house for the movie.

a wolf in sheep's clothing

- a person who pretends to be good but really is bad

"Be careful of that man. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing."

work like a dog

- to work very hard

The boy worked like a dog on his school project.

work like a horse

- to work very hard

My grandfather worked like a horse when he was a young man.

you can lead a horse to water (but you can't make it drink)

- you can give someone the opportunity to do something but you cannot force him or her to do it if they do not want to

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink and no matter how hard we try to help my cousin get a job he will not make any effort to find one.

you can't teach an old dog new tricks

- it is difficult for older people to learn new things

You can't teach an old dog new tricks and I do not think that my father will ever change his eating habits.

Jornada: Buenos Aires y sus idiomas 2011

November 22, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Organized by: Dirección Operativa de Lenguas Extranjeras, Ministerio de Educación C.A.B.A.

Venue: Salón Dorado, Legislatura de la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Perú 160, C.A.B.A.

Aimed at: Público con interés en la educación en general y en las lenguas y las políticas lingüísticas en particular. Rectores, directores, supervisores, coordinadores, traductores y docentes de todos los niveles de la educación pública de gestión estatal y privada. Alumnos avanzados de profesorados, traductorados, licenciaturas y otras carreras relacionadas con las lenguas.

Fee: Free of charge

More information and pre-enrolment:


Nuevo Colegio de Traductores Públicos de la Provincia de Buenos Aires‏

El 13 de octubre de 2010 tuvo sanción definitiva en la Honorable Cámara de Senadores de la Provincia de Buenos Aires el proyecto de modificación de la Ley 12.048 Regulatoria de la Profesión de Traductor Público e Intérprete de la Provincia de Buenos Aires. Este proyecto fue llevado a cabo en conjunto por los cuatro Círculos de Traductores Públicos de la Provincia de Buenos Aires desde el año 2006, en una labor de suma responsabilidad, seriedad y solidez.

El Colegio de Traductores Públicos e Intérpretes de la Provincia de Buenos Aires estaba creado por ley desde el año 1996, pero un veto parcial de cuatro artículos impedía su puesta en marcha. El colegio no podía funcionar si otra ley no modificaba a la Ley 12.048. Después de 14 años, este sueño largamente acariciado se ha hecho realidad. Todos los traductores públicos bonaerenses podremos, por fin, ejercitar el derecho que nos confiere la Constitución de la Provincia de Buenos Aires en su artículo 41: el derecho a la constitución y el desenvolvimiento de colegios o consejos profesionales.

La modificación más importante es, sin duda, la incorporación de la figura de los colegios regionales que formarán el colegio provincial y que en principio tendrán sede en Bahía Blanca, La Plata, Morón y San Isidro, ciudades donde en este momento existen círculos de traductores públicos. La nueva ley considera expresamente la posibilidad de creación de nuevos colegios regionales debido al constante crecimiento de la matrícula y a la extensión de la provincia. Este es un punto importantísimo para garantizar la representatividad de todos los matriculados de la provincia.

Habiendo “superado” la etapa legislativa, esta ley modificatoria, que lleva el número 14.185, ya se encuentra publicada en el Boletín Oficial. Ahora queda por delante lo que seguramente será un largo camino administrativo de puesta en marcha de un colegio profesional.

Translator's Day!

Reflections on a Translator's Life

by Susana Greiss

Stick to the languages you know best, and polish, them, polish them, polish them.

 When I reflect on my professional life, I am always surprised at how quickly we have accepted the revolution in the way translators are trained and how they earn their livelihood, which has actually occurred in the span of only a few short years.

The changes that have taken place with the advent of computers are nothing short of miraculous, and yet we have not only taken them in stride, but are constantly seeing new developments, which most of us embrace almost immediately. Perhaps it is in the very nature of translators to adapt, since we are used to going back and forth between cultures, so why not the ever-shifting conditions with which we must deal at every turn?

When I think back, it seems that it was quite inevitable that I would become a translator, although in those days parents were usually concerned with their daughters' future, more than they were concerned with their careers. They believed that their daughter's future would be determined by who they would eventually marry.

My parents were Russian and I was born in Georgia, where they had moved from Moscow to escape the harsh winter and the famine that followed the Russian Revolution. My father was a civil engineer, which automatically made him an "enemy of the State", part of the "intelligentzia". It soon became clear that it was not safe for us to remain, even in the South, and so my parents found a way to get out. The first country that would take us was Brazil. I was four years old, an only child, and already on the way to a multicultural destiny.

I learned to read and write Russian on that first long and arduous voyage. Upon arriving in Brazil, my father went to work in the jungles of São Paulo in search of sources of hydroelectric power for the Light & Power Company (of Canada). When I developed a bone disease, doctors advised us to seek treatment in France, where my mother and I spent four years. At the age of 7, I was learning my third language, French. Life was harsh for emigrés. Unlike immigrants who leave their country in search of a better life, never intending to return, emigrés are like exiles, always dreaming of a triumphant return to their ancestral home, with their bank accounts intact. This is why emigrés seldom prosper in their new land - they always feel they are just visiting and will soon be heading home. The downside of this thinking is that it is unlikely to happen; the upside is that children of emigrés like myself retain a great deal more of their parents' culture and are the richer for it.

Upon our return from France, my parents split up, my mother remaining in Brazil and my father, having lost his job due to the nationalization of foreign-owned utilities by the new Brazilian President Getulio Vargas, moved to Uruguay in hopes of finding work. It was the depth of the Depression. He eventually found a job with the British Railroad, which assured him a lifetime of genteel poverty. I moved to Uruguay at the age of 15 and enrolled in the British School. One thing my parents learned early on: if you knew English, you could make it anywhere, but it was too late for them. At the American School I attended in Rio de Janeiro, English was taught as just another foreign language, but at the British School all the subjects were taught in English. So now I had to learn Spanish and English at the same time: languages four and five.

Upon graduation, after two years of business and more language courses, I went to work as a bilingual secretary. I found the work extremely boring and regimented, but as long as I was acquiring skills and experience, I stayed with it. I wasn't thinking about the long term; in those days, a girl worked for a few years, and then she got married. If a girl continued to work after getting married, everyone would shake their heads: "He is unable to support her," they would say. Then came the war, and the world was turned upside down.

I eventually went to work for the American Embassy in Buenos Aires and married an Argentinian. One good thing came out of that marriage: my two kids, a boy and then a girl. My life as a homemaker was short-lived, though; it lasted about six years, and then it was back to earning a living. In those days secretaries didn't make enough to support a family, so after returning to Uruguay for three years, I moved to Brazil where my mother still lived. I became a trilingual secretary - a notch up. I found that there was a demand for translators at international conferences, and they paid well. I was probably not a very good translator, but I was in demand and I was learning "on the job." My father insisted that I should go to the United States. It would be good for me, he said, and it would be good for the kids. To placate him I reluctantly agreed to apply, half hoping that it would take ten years before I was called. I liked what I was doing, and I was not eager to embark on a new venture. However, barely two years later, the American Consulate called me for an interview and my company agreed to sponsor me. I was in!

My first job in the United States was a disappointment and paid little. I was supposed to "pay my dues," they said. I didn't like that; I wasn't using my talents. So I began looking for another job. I found one as a Translator-Correspondent, working in four languages - English, Spanish, Portuguese and French. At last, another notch up. A few years later I was hired by a leading bank in New York as a translator. Over the years I had acquired a background in several fields, and could hold my own among my peers. However, it took me a few more years before I actually earned a bachelor's degree and then a master's degree in translation. That's what I call doing it the hard way!

At the time, I discovered that translators generally 1) were foreign-born, and many were refugees; 2) they had started out with other aspirations. No one woke up in the morning saying to themselves: "My goal in life is to be a translator!" Only at the League of Nations did they have good jobs for translators, and you know what happened to IT! Also, a few ladies of leisure would translate poems and novels for pocket money or because they felt it was "glamorous." It was like this wonderful TV ad where kids say: "When I grow up, I want to be a school dropout;" "When I grow up, I want to be ignored;" "When I grow up, I want to be forced into early retirement...." Translators just didn't get recognition, they didn't expect to make much of a living, just get by. Very few people were actually trained as translators, but most had a solid college education and a solid knowledge of languages, at least their own language.

I had a friend who fell exactly into that category and my circle of friends expanded to include other translators. I found them to be much more interesting as people, and discovered that we often had similar life experiences. I never had trouble making friends, but I always felt "different" and I'm sure they felt it too. When my friend retired, she recommended me as her replacement. I now entered the realm of Reinsurance, of which I knew nothing. I was also the only translator there, and didn't have much to fall back on. However, it was another notch up....

On my new job, I started looking through the files, asking questions and got the company to enroll me in Insurance courses. The College of Insurance was across the street, and I consulted fire codes, insurance policies and fire extinguisher catalogs in their library. I was learning what I had never had the luxury of being able to do before: research. The first time I had to translate a proposal for purposes of insurance of a nuclear plant, I got a call from the head man in that department, congratulating me on the job I had done. "Compares favorably with what we are used to," he said. What an upper! What happened was that I consulted a document in the files similar to the one I was tackling for guidance, but when I saw that my predecessor had used the word "nucleus" instead of "core", I realized that the files were useless to me. I went across the street to the library and looked up "nuclear plants." I immediately found all the terminology I needed.

It takes a great deal more than that to be a good translator these days, of course. We still have very few institutions where we can take formal courses or a degree in translation. But we have a strong organization - the American Translators Association - with its annual conferences and scores of workshops starting from beginners to advanced to specialized. We have accreditation in all major languages, and some not-so-major languages. We have a directory where we can look up other translators in our own field or language, most of whom are quite gracious when it comes to sharing their expertise and give their support to those less experienced. We have local groups, such as the New York Circle of Translators which organizes monthly meetings and frequent workshops, and offers opportunities to socialize and meet not only other translators but also owners of translation bureaus and potential employers.

The trend today is away from full-time employment and toward independent work as a contractor or a bureau offering other related services, such as editing, extracting, research, desktop publishing, teaching, not to mention the wide range of specialized interpreting skills (court, conference, escort, community, etc.), script writing, cross-cultural consulting, voiceovers, narration, dubbing, and so forth - the latter bordering on acting. Translation itself is also specialized: medical, legal, financial, and a million other fields, which can be quite challenging and require special background.

We are now also required to live in close intimacy with computers, familiarize ourselves with new software, and span the world on the wings of the Internet. All this is very exciting, but it is also time-consuming and costly. Just as you thought you had it all together, here comes a new program, and your state-of-the-art computer is obsolete. It can be frustrating, especially for a newcomer who can barely wait to get his or her first assignment, not to mention pay his or her first month's rent. Some of us love it, and some are cool to it. For instance, I don't feel that I have a really close, intimate relationship with my computer. I don't trust "him" one hundred percent. Sometimes it plays annoying tricks on me at the most inconvenient times, so we either sit down for a quiet heart-to-heart talk, or I call 911 for a rescue team (usually some more knowledgeable colleague!). Of course, the "impasse" is usually my own fault, but that's besides the point!

Seriously, if anyone is interested in a few pearls of wisdom from someone who has been around this business for a while, I will say this:

1. Get all the education you can. There is no such thing as information that you cannot use in translation. You never know what your next assignment might be.

2. Decide whether you want to concentrate on just one or two language combinations or go as far afield as you can. There are pros and cons on either side. For instance, in my case, I have accreditation in five language combinations (but only into two) languages. Stick to the languages you know best, and polish, them, polish them, polish them. Language evolves so fast these days that it is hard to keep up. If you translate into only one language, your brain will respond much faster; you don't have to shift gears all the time. You retain new terminology better. You can work more efficiently. Of course, we have exceptionally gifted people who seem to have no limits to their language skills. But not everyone is like that. On the other hand, if there isn't a large volume of translation work into your native language, then you should try to develop another language as much as possible. However, this is almost impossible unless you have lived a number of years in a country where that language is spoken.

3. Develop writing skills. I see a lot of badly written documents authored by native writers. If you cannot write, you can never be a good translator because you have difficulty putting words together and expressing what you want to say.

4. Choose one or more specialized fields. Remember that unless you are translating a letter from someone's aunt (and that doesn't pay much), practically everything that needs translating is either literary or technical. If you live outside the United States, in many countries there is work for literary translators, because there is a large number of new books published in English and a large market for them abroad. In the United States, as my friend Cliff Landers, professor of economics and Portuguese translator once said, you can count the number of people who make a living at literary translation in the United States on the fingers of one hand. Go into any bookstore and see how many books are translations from other languages: very few. And these translations are done by people like Cliff, who is a full-time professor and translates in his spare time for the love of the art (and a few bucks).

5. How do you acquire a technical background? You take courses, preferably college or graduate courses. You take a job as a paralegal, in a doctor's office or hospital, a bank, a real estate office, or what have you. Read the Wall Street Journal, or at the very least the New York Times or Time Magazine.

6. You also need to learn how the world of translation works. For that, in the first place you must be schizophrenic. That is a requirement. On the one hand, here you are, an aspiring translator. On the other hand, you have to be a business person. The best translator in the world will sit idle if he or she is not a business person. So, how do you achieve that? My first advice is get a job in a translation bureau if you can. You will see how they go about getting clients, how they relate to their clients, translators and other professionals. You will learn how to organize your office, and many other useful things. You will also see the work of many experienced translators and learn from them.

7. If you are a nine-to-five person, freelance translation is not for you. On the other hand, freelancing does give you the flexibility to take care of your other responsibilities or to travel, or sleep late (or stay up late to finish a job due first thing in the morning). It also opens up the opportunity to grow into a business. Many translation bureaus started out that way. If you have family obligations, working at home is a Godsend. When I had a full-time job, I was counting the months and weeks I had to wait until my vacation, and the years I had to wait for my retirement. My retirement age has come and long gone, but now I don't want to retire. I am my own boss and working gives me a rich life (never a dull moment), friends, it keeps me in the fray of things and gives me enough income to indulge in some travel and a few "luxuries."

When I decided to freelance after many years of working in-house, the only calls I got were for interpreting. Interpreting today is much more professional than it used to be. Years ago courts would hire you practically off the street. No test was required. If the clients didn't complain, they would use you again and again. I refused these assignments at first, but since I wasn't busy, I decided to try my hand at EBTs (examinations before trial), Family Court cases, etc. The rules were simple and I did a good job. After a while, I became busier with translation work. We didn't have beepers or cell phones in those days, so I would stand in line at the phone booth at lunch break to call home. However, I never knew when I would be through with my assignment, or a translation bureau would call while I was in the subway on my way home, so I would lose work. Also, I didn't like the court atmosphere and having to sit for hours just waiting to be called. When I figured that I was probably losing more money interpreting than staying home, I gave up interpreting (To this day they sometimes still call me). Some people prefer interpreting to translating, they say it's easier. You might want to try it.

8. You need to have a good résumé and cover letter. Writing or calling translation bureaus cold is a hard way of getting work. However, there are lists of translation bureaus that can be purchased (with labels and all), and you must decide whether this is the way you want to go.

9. Translators don't live in an oasis. They need contacts and they need credentials. You can get both by joining (and attending) your local translation group and the American Translators Association. ATA puts out a magazine that will open your eyes, as it did for me when I first joined. Get accreditation if you feel you are ready for it, or take a practice test, which will be returned to you with corrections and comments and will give you food for thought. If you fail accreditation, you can always try again later. Accreditation and membership will get you listed in professional directories and lists consumers of translation buy. The ATA directory is on the Internet, and I have received a number of calls from that listing.

When I joined ATA and the New York Circle of Translators, it opened a whole new world for me. Not only did I learn from my peers and made contacts, but I found that one person can make a tremendous difference. I started the Continuing Education Committee, the Slavic Languages Division, and presented several sessions at ATA Annual Conferences, to mention a few of my professional activities. In 20 years, I only missed one conference, and everyone knows me or of me. It's almost like a passport (not to mention all the fun I've had along the way). But the point is that I started with no particular talents that qualified me over anyone else.

10. The most important thing is for you to be proficient, to be honest with your clients and to follow their instructions, particularly deadlines. Deadlines are the password in translation. A missed deadline could have dire results for your client, so honor it. If you find you have a problem with it, be honest. Don't bury your grandmother. After all, you only have two of those. Don't use her as an excuse for not delivering the job on time. Call your client and explain as early on as possible what the problem is. It is a good idea to look your document over immediately to check for any problems (legibility, missing pages, etc.).

If you have a genuine concern that you may not be able to complete the job on time, or that you may not be familiar with the subject matter, let the client know at once. For instance, a new client called asking that I translate a piece for some publication in Spanish. When I received the document, I saw that it was on architecture and had very specific architectural terms. I then called the client and told him that since this piece was going to be published, correct terminology was of essence and that architecture was not my field. I could do some research in the library, but the result might still be wanting and the job would be time-consuming. My client was silent for a moment, and then he said: "I am impressed by your sincerity and your professionalism. Thank you for being honest with us. We will certainly keep you in mind for other assignments because we value quality work." Within the hour, he was on the phone with another job. However, even if he hadn't, I am sure that he would have no problem recommending me to his colleagues.

The client will sometimes describe the document inaccurately; one of my least favorite terms some clients use is "straightforward." Very often what seems straightforward to them may not be straightforward to you. For instance, I once was given a brochure for pre-teen girls to translate into Spanish. The only problem was that in every Spanish-speaking country the designation for women's clothing is different, so they had to go through a string of "consultants" to decide which term would be understood by everybody.

11. Reputation is extremely important in our profession. Guard yours with great care. It will pay off.

To conclude, as I said earlier, freelance translating is not for everyone, but good translators can make excellent money these days. We have lawyers, engineers and other professionals who are making a good living at translation. We are also developing ways in which you can provide for your future with IRAs, KEOG plans, annuities, group insurance, and so forth. If you are looking for a full-time job, at this juncture your best bet is the government, but in the corporate world there are many jobs that are translation related, so develop other skills, the least of which is, of course, good typing.

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

Museo del Libro y de la Lengua

Inauguran el Museo del Libro de Clorindo Testa en Barrio Norte

Dirigido por la socióloga y ensayista María Pía López, docente de la Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires (UBA), el instituto -planta baja, dos pisos, zona de instalaciones, auditorio y otros espacios aun no habilitados- es una construcción diseñada y ejecutada por el estudio del arquitecto Clorindo Testa.

Por los caminos internos, el nuevo museo quedará conectado con la Biblioteca Nacional, con el Museo Nacional del Grabado, con el Instituto Cultural Juan Domingo Perón, con la embajada del Paraguay y con las plazas Del Lector y Boris Spivacow.

La voluntad de hacer desaparecer de la memoria histórica, lingüística y visual de los argentinos la política del primer peronismo, empujó en 1955 a los militares a demoler la mansión Alzaga Unzué, expropiada en la década del 30 del siglo pasado, y que fuera la residencia presidencial de Juan Domingo Perón y Eva Duarte.

El espacio destinado a dar cuenta de los avatares del lugar está en marcha, bajo la curaduría del artista plástico Daniel Santoro.

El proyecto del museo -pensado por el director de la Biblioteca Nacional, el sociólogo y ensayista Horacio González- está inspirado en el Museo de la Lengua Portuguesa, ubicado en la ciudad de San Pablo, Brasil, la versión local, a otra escala, es una novedad continental.

La idea-fuerza es provocar una reflexión sobre el idioma de los argentinos, sus continuidades y metamorfosis, su irrigación, influencia y efectos sobre los usos y las costumbres.

El ejercicio crítico sobre el estatuto de la lengua, para los responsables del museo, atraviesa la historia, en sintonía con las preocupaciones de Alberdi, Sarmiento, Echeverría, Hernández y Lugones, hasta Borges, Masotta, Martínez Estrada y Viñas, sin olvidar las novedades (lingüísticas) del universo digital.

En la planta baja ("El territorio del idioma"), el objetivo será "señalar los procesos históricos más profundos que modificaron las lenguas utilizadas mediante paneles expositivos, archivos sonoros y mapas", así como "exponer el carácter plural y constitutivamente heterogéneo de la cultura nacional, y exponer de manera crítica las políticas restrictivas de la pluralidad popular".

En el primer piso ("Los libros"), se trata de "mostrar un conjunto de libros organizados alrededor de distintos temas: tecnologías de impresión, traducciones, pedagogía política, ciencias y descubrimientos, cronistas y viajeros, risas y parodias, libros infantiles, el Martín Fierro y su crítica, editores europeos en la Argentina, nuevos públicos".

En este caso, la exposición estará ordenada según ejes temáticos, y contemplará tres niveles de investigación: la creación, la producción y la recepción.

En el segundo piso ("Sala de exposiciones temporarias: el mundo de las palabras") se implementará "un dispositivo tecnológico -realizado con proyectores, computadoras y sensores- que permita la proyección lumínica de palabras y textos, móviles en relación a la circulación del visitante", y cuyo contenido textual variará con cada exposición temporaria.

Los murales expuestos son "Otoño", de Juan Carlos Castagnino; "Primavera", de Lino Enea Spilimbergo; "Verano", de Manuel Colmeiro Guimaraes; e "Invierno", de Demetrio Urruchúa, ubicados, cada uno, en los cuatro puntos cardinales.

El museo cuenta con un auditorio equipado como sala de conferencias y de proyecciones audiovisuales. La programación estará ligada a la profundización de los temas tratados en las distintas salas del museo y estará ligada a dos políticas centrales del mismo.

Por un lado, incentivar el lazo con las instituciones escolares y el desarrollo de estrategias pedagógicas respecto de la cultura argentina. Y por el otro, la de constituirse como un centro de investigación sobre la lengua, ligado a la red de universidades del país entero.

También habrá una "constelación editorial", un mapa interactivo que ofrecerá al visitante un panorama detallado de la industria editorial argentina desde sus comienzos hasta la actualidad, y estará armada con un diseño que simula un mapa donde figuraran editoriales e imprentas, desde la (imprenta) misionera hasta los emprendimientos independientes surgidos a partir del 2001.

El visitante podrá elegir una editorial y presionando sobre el nombre de la misma, acceder a más información: año de fundación, responsables, escritores asociados a ese emprendimiento, principales libros editados, impacto sociocultural, etcétera.

El espacio de las instalaciones mediante un dispositivo de proyección y reproducción de fragmentos de radio o televisión, permitirá al interesado ver u oír fragmentos de programas de distintas épocas donde se podrán percibir las variaciones ocurridas a través del tiempo alrededor de distintos tópicos: uso del tú, vos y usted; frases que entraron en el habla cotidiana; humor, juegos de palabras, entonación y coloquialismos.

Finalmente, el curioso podrá "navegar" a través del territorio argentino eligiendo ente diversos contenidos: registros del habla natural de algunas provincias, música representativa de cada región y habla de los pobladores originarios.

How do you say...? (1)

Love & Relationship Idioms

ask for someone's hand in marriage
- to ask someone to marry you

After dating his girlfriend for several years the man finally asked for her hand in marriage.

attracted to (someone)
- to feel a physical or emotional attraction to someone

I was attracted to the woman at the party from the moment that I first met her.

blind date
- a date where the two people have never met before

I went on a blind date in university but it was not too successful.

break (someone's) heart
- to cause someone emotional pain

The man broke his girlfriend's heart when he told her that he no longer loved her.

break up
- to end a relationship

The couple broke up after dating for more than three years.

crazy about (someone)
- to think that another person is wonderful

My cousin has been crazy about her colleague for many months now.

date (someone)
- to go on a date with someone, to have a date with someone

My sister has been dating her boyfriend for about two years.

dig (someone)
- to like someone a lot

The girl really digs the boy in her chemistry class.

double date
- a date where two couples do something together

It was fun to go on the double date even though everybody wanted to do something different.

dump (someone)
- to end a relationship by telling someone that you do not want to see him or her

The woman dumped her boyfriend after they had a big fight.

fall for (someone)
- to begin to feel love for someone

The woman always falls for the wrong person and is never happy.

fall in love (with someone)

- to begin to experience feelings of love for someone

The man fell in love with a woman from his university class and they got married several months later.

find Mr. Right
- to find the right or perfect person

The woman is always hoping to find Mr. Right but so far she has not had any luck.

find the right girl/guy

- to find the right partner, to find the person you want to marry

The woman is always making an effort to find the right guy.

first love

- the first person that one falls in love with

The girl's first love was with a boy in her high school art class.

get along with (someone)
- to have a good friendly relationship with someone

The woman gets along with everybody very well.

get back together
- to return to a relationship or marriage after separating

The man got back together with his girlfriend after separating for several months last winter.

get engaged

- to decide to marry someone

The man got engaged to his wife several years before they got married.

get hitched

- to get married

My sister and her boyfriend surprised everyone by suddenly getting hitched last weekend.

get serious (with someone)

- to become more serious with someone (used for a relationship)

The two students dated for several months before they began to get serious.

give (someone or something) a second chance
- to try to save a relationship by forgiving and welcoming the other person back, to give a person or a relationship a second chance

The girl's boyfriend left her for several months but when he came back she was happy to give him a second chance.

go dutch
- to go on a date where each person pays half of the expenses

Many university students have little money so they often go dutch when they go on a date.

good together
- to be able to get along well with each other

The couple are good together and nobody has ever seen them argue.

go out with (someone)

- to go on a date or to be dating someone

I am going out with a woman from my hiking club.

go steady

- to date one person regularly (not so common recently but at one time used often by teenagers)

The two students have been going steady for three years now.

have a crush (on someone)
- to have strong feelings of love for someone (often for a short time and with no results)

The girl has a crush on a boy in her class.

have a thing for (someone)
- to be attracted and care about someone

The girl has a thing for the new boy in her class.

head over heels in love with (someone)
- to be very much in love with someone, to be completely in love

My friend is head over heels in love with someone in his company.

hit it off (with someone)
- to get along well with someone (from the first time that you meet that person)

I hit it off with a woman in my photography class and we have been dating for several months now.

hung up on (someone)
- to be obsessed with another person, to be interested in another person

The young woman is hung up on a member of her tennis club.

interested in (someone)
- to have a romantic interest in someone and possibly want to date that person

My sister is interested in someone from her university biology class.

kiss and makeup

- to become friends again after a fight or argument

After they have a fight the couple is quick to kiss and make up.

leave (someone) at the altar
- to decide not to marry someone at the last minute

The man became very nervous and decided to leave his girlfriend at the altar.

leave (someone) for (someone else)

- to end a relationship with your partner and start a relationship with someone else

The man left his wife for his secretary but soon discovered that his life was worse than before.

love at first sight
- to fall in love with someone or something the first time that one sees him or her or it

When I saw the woman at the party it was love at first sight and I knew that I wanted to meet her.

The woman loved the house. It was love at first sight.

made for each other

- to get along extremely well with another person

The man and woman get along very well together and seem to be made for each other.

make eyes at (someone)
- to look at someone in a way that makes it clear that you like that person and find him or her attractive

The man became angry when he saw that his girlfriend was making eyes at someone else at the party.

make up

- to forgive each other after an argument, to begin to see each other again after ending a relationship

The couple had a big fight at the restaurant but they made up and things quickly got back to normal.

The boy and girl separated but recently they made up and began seeing each other again.

a match made in heaven
- a couple who get along perfectly

When the two people finally got together it was a match made in heaven and everybody thought that they would stay together forever.

 meet the right girl/guy
- to meet the right partner, to meet the person that you want to marry

The woman always joked that she would never return home if she met the right guy.

on the rocks

- to be in a state of difficulty, to be having problems (usually used for a relationship)

The couple are experiencing many problems at the moment and their relationship appears to be on the rocks.

the one (for someone)

- the right partner, the right person to marry

When I introduced my girlfriend to my mother she said that she was the one for me.

one and only

- the only person that one loves

The man's wife was his one and only since they met in high school.

patch up a relationship
- to repair a broken relationship

The couple wanted to separate but they managed to patch up their relationship and are now very happy together.

perfect couple
- two people who appear to get along perfectly

Our neighors seem to be the perfect couple.

pop the question
- to ask someone to marry you

The man thought about things carefully before he actually decided to pop the question.

puppy love
- infatuation (strong feelings of love) between school-age children or teenagers

The two teenagers thought that their love was the greatest in the world. Other people thought that it was only puppy love.

say I do
- to get married (during a wedding ceremony it is common to say "I do" when you agree to marry your partner)

The man was very happy to say "I do" at the wedding ceremony.

seeing (someone)
- to be dating someone on a regular basis

The woman was not seeing anyone when she met a man who she liked at the party.

set a date
- to decide on a date for a wedding

After thinking about marriage for a long time the couple decided to set a date.

settle down
- to establish a regular routine after getting married

After dating many women the young man finally decided to settle down.

split up

- to end a relationship

The girl and her boyfriend decided to split up after being together for seven years.

steal (someone's) heart
- to cause someone to fall in love with you

The woman stole the heart of the man who was working beside her at her office.

take one's vows
- to get married and take your wedding vows or promises

The couple took their vows at the courthouse in the small town.

those three little words
- the words "I love you"

After several months of dating the young man finally said those three little words to his girlfriend.

tie the knot
- to get married

After dating for several years the young couple decided to tie the knot.

true love
- a genuine feeling of romantic love

It seemed like true love until the couple began to fight all of the time.

unrequited love
- love that is not returned, one-way love

The woman was in love with the president of her company but it was unrequited love. He did not love her.

walk down the aisle together
- to get married (in this case in a church and where the bride walks down the aisle to the altar)

The couple have decided to walk down the aisle together and begin their new life.

walk out on (someone)
- to abandon your partner and end a relationship

The man walked out on his wife and nobody knew the reason why.

whisper sweet nothings in (someone's) ear
-to say romantic or intimate things to someone

The actor was whispering sweet nothings in the ear of the actress in the romantic movie.