Portuguese idiom of the day

Just learned this one, and am going to be waiting for a chance to use it:

É cor de burro quando foge.

“It’s the color of a burro on the run.” (Literally, “when it flees.”) In other words, a color that defies description. This reminds me of a friend who dyed her hair and called it “a color not normally found in nature.” She doesn’t dye her hair anymore, alas, so I can’t use this phrase on her.

I’ll keep looking.

About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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2 Responses to Portuguese idiom of the day

  1. xenatuba says:

    Reminiscent of a car color that came out a few years back from Chrysler…was it brown? pink? Mauve? I will now call it “É cor de burro quando foge”, or “fleeing donkey” for my dispatchers.

  2. Alex says:

    I’m glad you liked it, I use it very often 😀 . Many portuguese speakers don’t know, but it’s believed that this expression came from a corrupted form of “Corro de burro quando foge”, which sounds almost the same and means “I run away from a donkey when it flees” (an advice not to mess with it when it’s fleeing, because it becomes quite aggressive). The derived form is much funnier and was adopted popularly as an expression meaning a color which is either unspecified or impossible to describe. (Source: Origens de Anexins, by Castro Lopes, ed. Rio de Janeiro: Francisco Alves, 1909).

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