43 Comments This discussion is locked.
Funny, I kept hearing that expression and never looked it up. Had no idea that's what it meant, thank god I didn't use it :D http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/a+cradle-robber
In Australia we often use cradle snatcher for someone robbing the cradle. I've also heard robbing the rocking chair for the same relationship viewed from the reverse perspective ;-)
This is also an idiom in English when someone is dating someone else much younger than they are. Let's say my friend is 40yrs old and he is dating someone that is 18yrs old. I would call him a "cradle robber", or that he is "robbing the cradle". It can be used in a rude way, or simply between friends. Use caution.
In portuguese exist a similar expression: "papar anjo" literally would "eating eat angel".
Wouldn't that rather be "to eat an angel"? What I picked up so far: When you are doing something NOW (ing-form in English), you'll use the gerúndio in Portuguese...
So "eating an angel" would probably be translated to: "papando um anjo", I guess...?
Interesting! Is it still called cradle robber if the older one would be for example 50 and the younger one 36?
Well, if we do some basic math we see that the younger one in the second couple is twice the age of the younger one in the first couple (18 vs 36 – which is a different level of maturity and only 4 years younger than the elder in the first couple), and while the Eldest is 10 years older than the elder of the first couple (50 vs 40), the age difference in the second couple is only 14 years not 22... which means 5 years have to pass before the first couple will not have an age difference that is more than double the age of the youngest.
Hahaha! You're a math lover, aren't you? :-)
But that wasn't the original question :-) And being no English native speaker myself I'm interested to know more...
I can understand why it's called a "cradle robber" when someone in his 40s is dating someone who is 18... But is the same true for someone in his 40s dating someone who is 25 or 30? Just to give another example ;-)
More generally used when the younger party is also literally young, possibly questionably so, not just relatively young. As with any phrase, can be used by extension for circumstances where that doesn't fit. As it dates to an era without strict limits for age of consent, some people may be quite offended if jokingly accused of cradle robbing.
Normally in English as I know it, robbing the cradle refers to relationships with someone who is still a child. It might be used at times to refer to someone who is very much older (30+ years older) dating someone in his or her twenties.
Depends on who is doing the judging, but 25 or 30 is 7 to 12 years more mature than 18; and at 7 years that is 40%, while 12 years is 67% older than the 18 year-old.
It is the same sort of reasoning when you are 3, it is a big deal to turn 4 because one year of your life at 3 is 33% of your entire life, while at 4 a year is 25% of your entire life (that is also why a year seems so long when you are young but flies by as you age).
But of course, many people – at least jokingly – will say that a 70 year-old coupled with one who is 50 is also, "robbing the cradle"
S explained mathematically why that example is less extreme, but otherwise yes; it's a very informal expression, and I wouldn't put any age limit on it.
I'm assuming this has nothing to do with the English idiom... Can anyone confirm?
I'm pretty sure that the Portuguese version of the English idiom would have a different way to say it. And I think that this sentence is just saying that there are some people who are stealing a crib.
It's likely just a sentence to help us learn vocabulary. As UneJamKuzEZi implies.
We also have the expression in Spanish as well: "Robar la cuna" Date or marry someone who is way younger than yourself!
You rob a victim. You steal an item. You steal money when you rob a bank. You can only steal a crib.
Au contraire, you rob a bank by taking money from the bank. You rob a cradle by taking a baby from the cradle.
If you did that, you stole a baby. A crib is not an entity that can be robbed. A car isnt either.
I agree rather with paulconsul: 'rob' in effect often means 'steal (contents/belongings ) from' as in: rob a bank, house, person, etc. So it seems to me that if a baby were stolen or if toys from the cradle were stolen, 'rob a cradle' would be apt. But can someone put me right on the Portuguese sentence?
So robbing is contents of a object while stealing is the object itself "robbing a cradle"->stealing the baby that was in the cradle..... oh wait that's kidnapping.....so stealing the toys that was in the cradle
The idiom is "robbing the cradle": a relationship in which one person is much younger than the other. What constitutes "robbing the cradle" is culturally based.
Maybe it wasn't accepted just because it's a current expression in English and you have to translate it as it is in your language... but, literally, it could be "we robbed/stole the crib" or "we rob/steal the crib" indeed. "Roubamos" may be past or present depending on the context.
How are we supposed to know? it has not been introduced as yet. They tell me that I am 48 percent fluent and ain't told me how to say anything in the past tense. I teach Spanish as a second language and we start out in the past tense. Most every day speech is past tense.
I have trouble pronouncing the word "roubamos". It sounds like "four-BAH-mus" to me. Does the R sound like an F in this word? (I can read Portuguese but I cannot speak it because I have trouble understanding the accent. (Mi lengua materna es el Inglés , pero puedo hablar y entender español. Estoy aprendiendo portugués como tercer lengua. Tengo dificultad para pronunciar las palabras portugueses y entender el acento. Por cierto, he aprendido a hablar español en Duolingo!) Where can I get more help learning and understanding the basic sounds of the alphabet?
I never heard this expression in Portuguese, I think just to thieves who steal cribs. We have the expression "Papa anjo".
There's a difference in tenses when using steal and stole. Clarity need here as to what is meant here.