"Pisar na bola"

Translation:To drop the ball

December 19, 2013

41 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TerraZe

"Drop the ball" is probably from a sport where losing control of the ball by dropping it can cause a mistake (like in American football or basketball). This is usually used in very important situations where if you make a mistake, it can cause a lot of complications.Boss: "I need that report by tomorrow if we are going to get that big contract, ok?" Employee: "No problem, boss. I won't drop the ball on this.".. or the boss could tell the employee not to drop the ball. It basically means "to mess up". Does that make sense, or did I drop the ball with that explination?

December 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vivisaurus

Yes, and as danmoller said, in Portuguese it probably comes from soccer/football where stepping on the ball is as bad as dropping the ball in sports played with the hands. =)

December 21, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shibopshibop

Ah, so it's literally "Step" on the ball.

June 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GlennaSol

Yes, and in English, "Step on the ball" has a different meaning. It means "to hurry up, to get moving, to get something done." A boss might say this to an employee who is working slowly or who is goofing off at work. Idioms often don't translate well because the literal meaning of the words is often different from the actual meaning of the phrase. That's what makes them more challenging for language learners. [edit: I've been thinking about this, and I think I accidentally mixed two English idioms, "Get on the ball" and "Step on it". Both mean to hurry up, get moving, get things done.]

September 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dmartinyoung

An American English speaker from childhood, I have never heard "step on the ball". I have heard "step on it" to mean "hurry up", a reference I have always associated with pressing the accelerator in an automobile.

When learning an idiom in a new language, I prefer to learn the actual translation of the phrase and how it applies in the culture from which the idiom sprang, rather than associating it with some saying in English which uses an unrelated metaphor. In this case, if "trample the ball" is the literal meaning, Duo should accept if not prefer it.

October 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pippacrh

I am an english english (british) speaker and I agree with the above statement. "step on it" means "hurry up!"

October 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ColBram

It's quite funny, in Dutch they say "step on its tail"

November 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ramon57153

"Pisar fundo"= "hurry up". Is something like speed up a car. Instead, Pisar na bola is like lose faith in you.

November 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ConorIA

Like the other commenters, I've never heard "step on the ball". I've heard "step on it" ≈ "hurry up" and "on the ball" ≈ "alert and responsive".

December 31, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ErikRed1

Probably from baseball, as most american "ball" idioms pertain to it. An outfielder can drop the ball and not get an out. "Keep your eye on the ball" is a baseball specific idiom. "You knocked it outta the park" "bases're loaded" "homerun!" And we cannot forget about "getting to first base".

The only basketball one I can think of is "the ball is in your court"

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Danmoller

In soccer, if you step on the ball, you fall. You fall, you fail.

December 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GabrielSed

in argentina pisar la pelota means to open your eyes and stop to hurry up. The oposit than a mistake.

April 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/claudineluna

Ele pisou na bola = He screwed up

February 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MRMsys

I like the idiom "pisar no tomate" much more! Such a funny image.

December 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Poukei1

What does it mean?

December 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KTKee-EnglishEng

Anyone else finding these idioms - so far - a bit rubbish?

February 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marmun-King

In the Serbian language, "drop the ball" is used to de-escalate a situation, as an order for someone to calm down. You would usually say it a person who is instigating a conflict or reacting aggressively, in the context of "burying the hatchet" for the time being. However, based on what I see from the other comments, I'm not sure if it has a similar connotation in Portuguese.

February 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pfeil

Yeah. We have it in Brazil too. 'baixa a (sua) bola!' means literally 'lower the(/your) ball!' and it's used to calm one down.

May 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JulianeDan5

Sou brasileira, usamos essa expressão para falar que a pessoa falhou conosco. Exemplo:

Você pisa na bola com sua mãe.

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Blnd_E

More specifically we say, "Don't drop the ball" or "He/she dropped the ball" in the US.

March 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jonathandickson

could you say, "Nao pisar na bola" for " dont drop the ball"?

July 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dogrow

you can say to someone: "não pise na bola"

December 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tibi838736

For who might be interested, there is a similar expression in Romanian (casual / slang), "to step on the lightbulb", meaning to get it wrong, do something wrong, ruin something. You step on it, it goes wrong, just as Daniel commented above.

July 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/billabongos

This is not a common idiom in the UK, if at all. We might say, 'keep your eye on the ball' as a way of asking someone to concentrate on the task in hand.

January 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamShea1

Dunno about that, we use it all the time up north.

March 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarkParish

Why is "na" used here as opposed to "a"? Are we talking more along the lines of "don't fall on the ball"?

August 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eziza

"Na" here makes the verb act on the ball. If you use "a" it translates to "step the ball" which doesn't work as a sentence. This way you can say "step ON the ball"

October 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/UserBob

Na = em + a No = em + o

July 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/delvi

Okay, I am confused! (has happened more than once with Duolingo, as much as I like it..) I wrote "Caiu a ficha" for "Drop the ball" and it said I was correct. Now, it says that "Pisar na bola." means "To drop the ball." Can someone clarify this for me, please? Thanks.

April 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vinidcali

Caiu a ficha = I got it, I understood it, ohhh I see!

Pisar na bola = To screw up, but not in just any way. If you screw up because you didn't know better, you did NOT pisou na bola. We use this only when someone says/promises to do something and fails at that C:

September 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ferrariblack

This translation means nothing to this Brit. I am confused. Does it mean "to have butter fingers" or does it mean "to make a mess of something" / "to make a pig's ear of something"?

Ah, I've just spoken to a Brazilian friend who teaches English and Portuguese....it means "to make a mess of something".

October 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/caydence626826

Does this idiom make sense once you conjugate "pisar"? So for example, "pisei na bola?" - I dropped the ball?

January 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paulenrique

Yes. Future tense: não vai pisar na bola.

January 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bis612099

So, literal translation of this phrase is: "To step/trample on the ball". This makes complete sense to me as a football (soccer) reference. It conjures up a picture of a player dribbling with the ball then stepping on it and bringing the ball to a halt. Which is exactly what "drop the ball means", to fail by doing something that brings momentum to a halt. It sounds like a Rugby reference. https://www.youth.gov.hk/en/special/ddb/rugby.htm

December 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeterWhaley

Why not tread on the ball?

August 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vinidcali

This would be a literal translation and not the expression we use. That's why DL translates it to drop the ball, because that's what people would say in English C:

September 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alexknick

In spanish we say «arruinar (algo)» we don't have an idiom to say that.

July 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/orfeonegro

Yes we do! For example: "la regaste!" (you made a mess of it) or maybe "metiste la pata" (you stuck your foot in)

November 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/monarchy

There is cagarla. You dropped the ball = Você pisou na bola = La cagaste

January 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/damarx

Funny! In Brazil we have a similar slang: fazer cagada. "Você fez cagada de novo!" (You screwed up again!)

August 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vinidcali

Adding a little bit to it: fazer cagada is a bad word. It's more like "you f**d up" than "you screwed up", so be careful when using it xD

September 20, 2015
Learn Portuguese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.