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  5. "Li estas malriĉa kiel preĝej…

"Li estas malriĉa kiel preĝeja muso."

Translation:He is poor as a church mouse.

July 14, 2015



"He's poor as a church mouse" is an English idiom, and apparently used in Esperanto too.


Which I, as an american native speaker, has never heard before.


It might not exist in American English, but it certainly does in British English, amongst others. I believe it also exists as an idiom in German, and possibly other languages. Google should give more information on the idiom: https://www.google.com/search?q=%22poor+as+a+church+mouse%22


I've never heard this idiom before, but it reminds me of the mouse from that Robin Hood cartoon.


I think that was an intentional reference to the idiom.


Yeah, it's pretty common in German: "Arm wie eine Kirchenmaus."


It's the same in Russian


Also exists in Hungarian. Probably that mouse in the Robin Hood cartoon was based on this idiom (that's what I thought when I first saw that cartoon).


It exists in the American South. My mother is quite fond of the idiom.


I live in Arkansas and I've never heard it


In Danish it is slighty different but more gross. Here we talk about poor church RATS


Same in Swedish.


Yes, it also exists in Russian.


I agree with the British thing, we use British English here. Nobody uses that saying here but it was in our English books in primary school.


It also exists in Czech and Slovak languages.


My mother has used it quite often since I can remember, and I an from Virginia


Used to be well known in Minnesota. There are a lot of idioms fading because parents don't read the classic fairy tales to their kids any more.


I've heard it a few times, but definitely not frequently.


It's also used in Hungarian.


Yeah, thanks. Found out. :P


I never knew that



Alteration of earlier hungry as a church mouse, from the fact that Catholic and Orthodox priests are called to scrupulous prevent any crumb of the sacrament of Eucharist (the bread which is understood to be Christ's body) from falling on the altar or to the ground, meaning that church mice had no crumbs to feed on.



We use it in the UK. And we say "As quiet as church mice" :)


My question is about the omission of "as" before poor. He is "as" poor as a church mouse. Without this it just doesn't sound right to me.


It's not only that; without it, it is grammatically incorrect.


No, "as" can be omitted and still be gramatically correct.


Of course, but it would then mean "When he works as a mouse, he is poor."

"He's bad as an actor, but pretty decent as a writer". "He's poor as a church mouse but when he reincarnates as a house cat, he'll be pretty well-off."


poor, like a church mouse?


I think it's funny that so many people from England and the US think they speak for the entire country when they have never heard an expression, or heard it in a slightly different way. What is this competition?


Shouldn't it be "he is AS poor as a church mouse?"


Yes, unless he actually is a church mouse, and that is the reason he is poor. I’m only halfway through the course, but I’ve come to distrust both the English and Esperanto skills of the coursemakers somewhat. Also it makes me wonder how many mistakes were in the course when it was new when after almost four years it is still full of them.


What? "He is poor as a church mouse," is perfectly good English and has the intended meaning.

You can read it to mean "As a church mouse, he is poor," if you want, I guess, but that is neither the only nor the most common reading.


Well I'm a native English speaker, and it certainly isn't grammatical to my ears. Since people on both sides are so sure of this, it must be a dialectal difference.


For some reason this is just wrong to me without the first as, and most examples online show the "as ... as" format, but there are some "was ... as" examples that also sound perfectly natural. Unfortunately, without the first "as" in english, the meaning can be completely misinterpreted as a simile (see, right here, not a simile). If someone said to me "He is poor as a church mouse" my response would be "Tell him to get another job". So while correct english, it does not translate from the intended "kiel" of Esperanto. I would either write:

  • He is as poor as ...
  • He is poor like ...


"As poor as a church mouse" is the English usage I am familiar with. Poor as a church mouse is grammatically correct, but not the the traditional saying (and doesn't mean the same thing).


Either with or without is perfectly correct English grammar. Simile vs. metaphor.


Noh, not really. There are times when "as" can be omitted; this isn't one of those times because it immediately employs the other function of "as" - signifying the state/the status. Trust me, I did a Master's thesis on similes.


I'm confused about the construct tiel ... kiel versus how kiel is user alone in this sentence. Do they both translate to as ... as* in english? If so, what is the difference?


Yes, they both translate to as…as. There is no difference, you can omit tiel if it does not make the meaning unclear.


OK. That is my confusion. I did not think one omits things in Esperanto. That is why I came to this thread to try to find out why this is not tiel...kiel.


I've only ever heard "quiet as a church mouse".


This idiom is used in Polish as well.


I'm from the northeast US, and grew up with both "as poor as a church mouse" and "as quiet as a church mouse." It's interesting to see that both sayings are found in other languages, too. I am going to report that "as poor as" should also be considered correct.


Wait, so does "pregxa" mean "pray"? As in, "pregxeja" is a place of praying, aka a church? In that case, does pregxeja also mean temple/mosque/synagogue/etc.?


Yes: preĝejo can mean any place of adoration, of any religion. For example, Vortaro.net defines moskeo as "preĝejo" with the symbol of Islam (http://vortaro.net/#moskeo). https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9021838$comment_id=9158446


I have heard it in Spanish


Mi neniam aŭdis tion en francio!


Me neither !!! It's weird to be in the position where you don't know an expression and have to learn it by heart just because it exists in other languages ..... How many idiomatic expressions have been translated into esperanto ??

Well : there is 'mono ne kreskas sur arboj" , what else ?


Saluton Cleanthe!

"Pauvre comme un rat d'église" is pretty common in my region :o)


Saluton Vabelie :) Et bien pas par chez moi ! ;) Ou bien ... on ne sait jamais, je vais me renseigner !


Interesting, I didn't even know that you can say that in english. We use it in German too.


Interesting. My grandmother used to say that, but my family is brazilian for generations!


Li estas malriĉa simila al preĝeja muso, aŭ estanta preĝeja muso? Ĉu "kiel" estas dusenca ĉi tie?


Exists in my language too.


Surely, "AS poor as a church mouse" is more correct.


Do church mice not earn as much money as regular nondenominational mice?


Apparently so, since mice traditionally make their livings eating crumbs dropped on the floor, and if a church does have a kitchen, there's usually less food lying around in it.


1) For someone reason I read this quickly and thought it was "music" and not mouse which made not sense to me. 2) After seeing what it really was this still make no sense to me, I have never heard this before.


Read the other comments. This saying is common for many languages.


La pastro prendis lian monon, kaj la pastro estas lian soifan aŭton.


Does anyone else have problems with sound sometimes. There are some questions that just don't have any sound and yet I am supposed to write/construct a sentence. Unfortunately, without knowing the sentence, I'm likely to get it wrong.

The "report" option does have "No sound". So reporting it doesn't really work.


I am having the same problem. When it happens, I have to close and reopen the browser to fix it. It happens only in the website, the app is working fine.


Re: "Li estas malriĉa kiel preĝeja muso."
"Li estis tiel malriĉa, ke li ne povis froti du groŝojn!" (He was so poor he could not rub two pennies together!")


I've never heard this expression before, what does it mean?


It means he's poor.


Cxu mi estas la sola, kiu auxdas "mal-la-ricxa" anstataux "malricxa"?

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