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  5. "Mentira tem perna curta."

"Mentira tem perna curta."

Translation:Lies don't travel far.

December 19, 2013

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The Portuguese seems to say "[a] lie has short legs", and with the English "lies don't travel far", it makes me think that it's saying that once a lie is said, it won't go very far. I think however, it means something closer to "lying will get you nowhere" or something similar. Thoughts?


it means that when you tell a lie, sooner or later the truth will come up! Lies won't last long.


It's the same in German ;-) "Lügen haben kurze Beine"


it's the same in Polish "Kłamstwo ma krótkie nogi" ;)


we have the same thing in hebrew, but a bit different. the literal meaning is "the lie doesn't have legs" "לשקר אין רגליים"


The same in Spanish: "Las mentiras tienen las piernas cortas".


The exact same in Greek: "Το ψέμα έχει κοντά ποδάρια".


Ah, hmm. Maybe "lies won't last long" would be closer as "travel far" seems incorrect in English because lies spread like wildfire. I can't think of an English idiom with lying in it that matches at the moment though.


'The truth will out' seems a better translation to me, although it doesn't mean exactly the same thing. Like many of the English phrases on here, I've never heard anyone say lies don't travel far.


That's perfect!


It is an idiom, don't try to understand its literal translation, you need to think of the sentence as a whole.


I'm not trying to get the literal, just as close to what it means in English as I can. If you say "travel far" in English it would literally mean that since that's not an idiom in English (afaik).


I think that the previously-mentioned idiom "Lies will get you nowhere" is a near equivalent in that it means that the truth will out and so no benefit will be gained from the lies.


Right, this is a better one I believe, "lies have short legs but runs faster than the truth".



I'm a native speaker and it's not one I've ever heard. Maybe outside of the US, or in another part of the US from where I live.


Cool, that might work. (From the other comment) Not sure if it's an english idiom or just translated from another, but it seems that a lot of cultures say it, surely it should be an idiom in English if it's not already.


It's similar in the Urdu language. Country Pakistan جھوٹ کے پیر نہیں ہوتے "Jhoot ke peir nahee hote" Lies have no feet


Cool... sooner or later the lie is revealed...


Yes, another, more classical, phrase : "The truth will out." Perhaps more bookish, however!


I've never heard "Lies don't travel far" in my life. "Lying will get you nowhere!" isn't bad but I think the best version is just, "(sooner or later,) the truth will out!"


I like "lies will get you nowhere" as the translation here because it carries the sense of movement just like the Portuguese


Yeah, but it's not the same motion. Lies will get you nowhere means that YOU won't get ahead in life, by lying. The focus is on the liar, not the lie. It's prescriptive: Don't lie.

Lies don't travel far means that the LIE won't get far before the truth catches up. The focus is on the lie, and on the person or thing lied about, not the liar. It's meant to be comforting, I suppose, to anyone hurt by the lie.


We say the same thing in German.( Lügen haben kurze Beine).' Lies have short legs'. It means they can't run very fast and will be caught soon.


Just as Paulenrique says, the Portuguese meaning is more or less that the truth will catch up to the lie, as it can't go on for long with those short legs. =)


If someone said to me in English, "lies have short legs", I would simply understand that to mean that lying won't get me very far; it is only a short-term solution. Is that the thought that the native Brazilian is conveying? If so, then I would think that "lying won't get you far" should be an accepted translation.


No, it's not exactly the same meaning. We mean that the lie doesn't last and it eventually gets revealed... so it is not talking about how the liar, but the lie itself. It's not saying "don't be a liar because you'll get into trouble/not succeed", but more like "if you tell lies, they won't last long". Does that make sense? =]


I think this is particularly vexing because I see "lies don't travel far" and I think that's the opposite of reality: lies do travel far, they get around very fast! The sense of lies getting revealed soon doesn't really come across her. I like "lies won't get you far" better because it carries the sense of movement like the Portuguese. Or perhaps something like "the truth will catch up with you"


@Jospeh I agree with you. I don't agree with this sentence.


Fun fact: the Romanian expression is word for word the same ("minciuna are picioare scurte"). Even though both are Latin languages, they have developed in opposite sides of Europe.


But a lie can get around the world before the truth has got its boots on!


The portuguese saying refers to the short time the lie will prevail, not the distance it will reach.


That was my first thought. I can't think of an equivalent English idiom, in fact all the English ones I can think of mean the opposite of lies don't travel far, suggesting we have less faith in the truth emerging than other cultures (although I don't think that's true).


I am thinking "the truth will catch up to you" - although it doesn't convey that it will happen soon


I think it's more about lies in your every day life.. Like the dad says to his kid "Don't lie because sooner or later the truth will come to light anyways". From my German point of you..


Finally! It is the same in Latvian, word for word: meliem īsas kājas.


Same in German, too ;-)


And Estonian :) (Valel on lühikesed jalad.)


Also in Polish. Kłamstwo ma krótkie nogi.


Italian too: "Le bugie hanno le gambe corte" :)


And almost same in Finnish: valheella on lyhyet jäljet. ('A lie doesn't get far'; lyhyet, jäljet = short, footprints)


The closet English idiom I can see is "the truth will out" meaning you'll get caught lying sooner or later.


this reminds me of an English saying which means exactly the opposite: "a lie is half way around the world, before the truth gets out of bed"


The portuguese saying refers to the short time the lie will prevail, not the distance it will reach.


"lies don't travel far" seems like a lie to me. In my experience lies travel faster than anything else (except maybe light!). My parents often used the expression "your sins will find you out!' meaning that if you lied or did anything wrong, it wouldn't be long before it would be discovered, and you wouldn't get very far that way.


The portuguese saying refers to the short time the lie will prevail, not the distance it will reach.


This comment IS about speed.

And it may be indicative that in a society where people move around a lot (individually, and as families, not being rooted to the ancestral home), a lie can prevail for a much longer time, than in societies where people know each other better.


Unfortunately there's no English equivalent idiom - most of our idioms about lies say the opposite! "A lie gets half way around the world before the truth has got its boots on." I agree that "the truth will out" is the closest in intent to this saying, perhaps it should be added?


The reason this saying is so common is that it comes from Latin:

Mendacia curta semper habent crura.

As mentiras sempre têm pernas curtas.

A mentira tem pernas curtas. ou

A mentira não tem pés.


Interestingly, this can be translated one to one into german and it still works (you have to swap the word order a little bit though) — Lügen haben kurze Beine


Never, ever, ever heard this saying


It is pretty common in Brazilian Portuguese. I even have a friend nicknamed "Mentirinha" (little lie) because she is short. =]


In Dutch: "Al gaat de leugen nog zo snel, de waarheid achterhaalt hem wel" almost Literally translated: Even if the lie goes that fast, the truth will overtake it.


Never heard of this one or most of the english idioms that say a lie gets around fast. All I can remember hearing is "Spinning a web of lies" or "Caught in your own web of lies" or "What's done in the dark comes to light".


In Serbian and German it's the same expression :) What language other language has it as well?


Croatian :D :D But it really amazed me while reading comments how many languages have this expression, completely the same, word by word.


I love this saying.

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