Wed 20 Oct, 2010 07:26 am
I am translating a Chinese passage. The original meaning of the Chinese sentence is : the person is so disgusting that he couldn't be called a man, but a dog. Here the author is to tell us how bad the person is. But I know in English, dog is a lovely pet, not used in bad language. So I wonder which word could better fit this sentence. Thank you so much!
Dog is used in a pejorative manner in English to describe people. In the modern American language, it usually is used to mean a man who is sexually unfaithful, a man who will do or say anything in order to get sexual satisfaction.
As a general term, though, it has been used a pejorative for many, many centuries, perhaps a thousand years. In the 1300s, the French complained about being called dogs by the English, which implies it was a common insult even then.
To know what English equivalent would be best, though, it would be necessary for you to tell us why the person concerned is considered bad.
Hello! Thank you for your explanation. This is about an official that had betrayed the emperor's trust and accepted a lot of bribes. The emperor of China's Qing dynasty is expressing his anger toward this man.^_^
Well, in English, greed is usually expressed with an animal metaphor by comparing the offending individual to a pig. However, that word, too, has taken on some special significance in the modern American language. I'd say that "dog" would be a reasonable translation, or perhaps pig.
Many of my classmates say it should be "dog". But I konw it better now. By the way, this is the first time I ask a question here. Anyway, a million thanks!! O(∩_∩)O
You're welcome. Feel free to come back any time with questions about the English language.
If you don't want to use dog you might consider using "cur", which means an inferior dog or a despicable person.
When one English word does not suffice try using two, an adjective and a noun.
i.e. bad dog...
But I know in English, dog is a lovely pet, not used in bad language.
It is not so simple. Yes, many Western people have pet dogs, but still, calling a person a "dog" (or the names of most other animals except perhaps "lion" or "tiger") is an insult.
context context contex, right, Contrex?
Except when Randy calls you "Dog" on American Idol.
"Subhuman" might be considered. Comparisons with non-human creatures can be positive (such as "kittenish") or negative, depending on the context, connotation, and culture. Contradictions abound. For example, the serpent often symbolizes evil, but in the Bible, reference is made to being "wise as serpents" (Matthew 10:16). In terms of etymology, "animal" is akin to the Latin word "animus": soul, desire, mind, courage.