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Translation for British English "take the piss" / "take the mickey"?


mungouk
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I can't find a good translation into Putonghua for the British English "take the piss" or "take the mickey".

 

I'm not even sure if it translates into other Englishes at all (such as AU/NZ/CA/US/ZA).

 

The connotation is that you're provoking, teasing or ridiculing someone in an inappropriate or particularly outrageous way.

 

Example: "My student turned up to class 50 minutes late. He was really taking the piss."

 

Disclaimer: this is not necessarily based on real life.  Much.

 

 

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他太过分了啊

他真是!

 

Too be honest I don't really agree with your usage of "taking the piss/taking the mickey" - In my lexicon it more commonly means the person is joking. Ie - Is David being serious? nah dont worry, he was just taking the piss/taking the mickey.

 

Your usage is not wrong per se for taking the piss. But I wouldn't say - "that a person is taking the mickey by arriving late" Unless they were doing it with comedic intention. This sentence would sound very strange to me ""My student turned up to class 50 minutes late. He was really taking the mickey." It wouldnt be wrong, but id think your a foreginer, or a little odd for using it.

 

"Taking the piss" i feel more comfortable with being used for being late and demonstrating anger. I think this seems fine. But not taking the mickey. I do think you could say " that person is taking liberties" 

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On 10/11/2021 at 10:49 AM, mungouk said:

I'm not even sure if it translates into other Englishes at all (such as AU/NZ/CA/US/ZA).

 

As an American I would have no idea what you meant if you used this phrase in conversation.

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On 10/11/2021 at 5:59 PM, 杰.克 said:

Your usage is not wrong per se for taking the piss. But I wouldn't say - "that a person is taking the mickey by arriving late" Unless they were doing it with comedic intention. This sentence would sound very strange to me ""My student turned up to class 50 minutes late. He was really taking the mickey." It wouldnt be wrong, but id think your a foreginer, or a little odd for using it.

Seems fine to me and the sort of usage I've commonly heard, similarly you get things like "Eight quid for a pint? I know their overheads are a bit higher but that's taking the piss." where there's no suggestion of comedy.

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https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/take_the_piss

 

Gives both definitions (definitions 1 and 3), along with a purported 2rd meaning that seems to be identical to meaning 3, at least from the example sentence given. Both definitions are in my vocabulary (I'm from quite near London).

 

I'd agree with 太过分了 or perhaps 太不像话了 for meaning 3.

 

For meaning 1, you could use 逗[某人]玩 or 嘲笑[某人].

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It can also be used in comedy form between friends - and isn't quite the same meaning - as in, it's not meant in a bad way. 

 

Intonation plays a big part in the meaning I think. 

 

(the between friends, is more similar to 'are you having a laugh?!', than are you taking liberties.

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Taking the piss - making fun of somebody/ having a laugh / pulling someones leg / being angry at someone/something for an action that they are doing to a degree that is more than can be tolerated

Taking the mickey - making fun of somebody / having a laugh /  pulling someones leg

 

My my day to day usage of these phrases. If someone was to say "£8 for a pint, they really are taking the mickey" I'd understand what they mean, but in my gut id feel a bit strange. Sounds much better in this scenario as "£8 for a pint, they really are taking the piss". Taking the mickey cant really be used about situations that you are genuinely annoyed about. It's only used in situations where there is a cheekiness or comedy attached to it or light heartedness. Piss is the more flexible of the two words I'd say.

 

Ash is definitely right about intonation playing a huge part. "are you talking the piss?" is probably the opening salvo in many fights across pubs in the UK on a weekend!

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On 10/11/2021 at 11:30 PM, 杰.克 said:

"£8 for a pint, they really are taking the piss". Taking the mickey cant really be used about situations that you are genuinely annoyed about.

I think this also depends on who I am with. 

 

I try not to swear in front of people in more formal situations. 

So, if my brain said 'you're are taking the piss! £8 for a pint'.... I would probably instantly alter this to mickey. 

On 10/11/2021 at 11:30 PM, 杰.克 said:

Ash is definitely right about intonation playing a huge part. "are you talking the piss?" is probably the opening salvo in many fights across pubs in the UK on a weekend!

haha!

 

yes!! 

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On 10/12/2021 at 12:13 AM, TaxiAsh said:

I try not to swear in front of people in more formal situations. 

So, if my brain said 'you're are taking the piss! £8 for a pint'.... I would probably instantly alter this to mickey.

rather than edit and make a mess of it, I thought of an example...

 

Me at bar with friend (at somewhere unusual, like wedding, or tourist) ... "£8 a pint, taking the piss!"

Me at bar with friend's Mum or Dad, (like at weddings) - I wouldn't say piss, I'd alter to "taking the mickey" or "taking the Michael!"

 

Would be the same meaning. 

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On 10/12/2021 at 12:59 AM, 杰.克 said:

Your usage is not wrong per se for taking the piss.

 

Thank you. I'm British and I've heard it and used it in this context for many years!

 

Obviously due to using a minor swear-word ("piss") it's a bit stronger than saying "he's having a laugh", "he's taking liberties", etc.

 

So if there's no obvious translation, what would the equivalent Chinese be when you're shocked/appalled by someone's audacious behaviour...?

 

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On 10/11/2021 at 11:30 PM, 杰.克 said:

If someone was to say "£8 for a pint, they really are taking the mickey" I'd understand what they mean, but in my gut id feel a bit strange.

 

Sounds normal to me as a Brit.

 

I agree 开玩笑 is a good translation in this context.

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On 10/12/2021 at 9:08 PM, anonymoose said:

Sounds normal to me as a Brit.

 

I agree 开玩笑 is a good translation in this context.

 

Nah it doesn't when you actually think about it. People take the mickey for some indirect comedic effect. Why is the pub charging so much money for a pint? to get a laugh out of you? to ridicule you in front of your friends?  is the pub trying to make fun of you....? no its not.  The usage is not completely wrong I admit - but it does definitely sound odd. If you said it in a group, id understand you, but id would make a small note, that was a weird use of words.

 

"£8 for a pint, they really are taking the piss" states more clearly wow they really are bleeding me dry for their own gain/profit rather than to make fun of me. It fits much much better !

 

 

 

2113501607_Screenshot2021-10-12at21_15_11.thumb.png.6f456f1f560fa1ffccda2650675246e3.png

 

 

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On 10/12/2021 at 9:14 PM, 杰.克 said:

it does definitely sound odd

 

Nope, it sounds perfectly normal. As I mentioned and linked to in my previous post, Wiktionary lists both definitions, and both sound fine to me (and to other Brits/Australians who've posted in this thread). The fact you personally aren't familiar with a certain usage doesn't mean it's not valid.

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On 10/12/2021 at 9:30 PM, Demonic_Duck said:

Nope, it sounds perfectly normal.

 Nope old chap. Afraid you are wrong, and that probably means you are in "oddball" category without realising it 😉

 

Here are the top 3 google links when i searched "taking the mickey" - 

 

None of them fit describing a situation where you want to say someone is going overboard/too far for their own profit. Yes you could use taking the Mickey, ppl would understand you, but your usage would be slightly off. Just like when people use the word "literally" incorrectly. Noones gonna make a point of it showing you up over it, but at the end of the day, the usage is incorrect. Other people will be familiar with it, as its a common mistake. But it is a mistake, small though it is, none the less.

 

Anyhow, heres the links below for you to check yourself 😃 

 

 

https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/take-the-mickey

or take the mickey out of someone
informal
to tease someone

 

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/take the mickey (out of someone)

Definition of take the mickey (out of someone)

British, informal

: to make fun of someone

 

https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=taking the mickey

Making fun of someone or something.
 
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On paper (ok, pixel) they both read the same to me. But yes, in my mind's ear, it sounds a teeny bit off to say "taking the mickey" in the £8/pint context.

 

My brain process might be: "if you'd said 'taking the piss' you'd be making a generic remark about how it's a crazy situation which I'd agree with, but since you've used the slightly less-expected 'taking the mickey' instead, you perhaps mean that the barman is genuinely trying to make a fool of me somehow, should I look around and see if people are laughing at me?"

 

Speaking of piss, the first time I met some Americans in China I was sharing a motor-rickshsaw thing one evening and apologised for being a bit pissed and they thought I must be an angry man.

 

On 10/12/2021 at 10:56 AM, mungouk said:

what would the equivalent Chinese be when you're shocked/appalled by someone's audacious behaviour...?

 

Perhaps way too punchy for your classroom context, but I've always liked 你吓我, or even 你吓老子.

 

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On 10/12/2021 at 9:52 PM, 杰.克 said:

Noones gonna make a point of it showing you up over it, but at the end of the day, the usage is incorrect. Other people will be familiar with it, as its a common mistake. But it is a mistake, small though it is, none the less.

 

I never thought I'd see the day someone tried to apply linguistic prescriptivism to the phrase "taking the piss", yet here we are 🤣

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On 10/12/2021 at 10:16 PM, Demonic_Duck said:

I never thought I'd see the day someone tried to apply linguistic prescriptivism to the phrase "taking the piss", yet here we are 🤣

 

Strange response, as we are talking about "taking the mickey" not " taking the piss" - Pretty sure that was covered in every post that "taking the piss" usage is fine, but "taking the mickey" needs a little adjustment. Not sure how you are now just getting them mixed up? I can't imagine that someone who posts words like linguistic prescriptivism and posts links to a 2006 article, would be skim reading a thread and getting muddled up , yet here we are 🤣

 

 

On 10/12/2021 at 10:16 PM, realmayo said:

On paper (ok, pixel) they both read the same to me. But yes, in my mind's ear, it sounds a teeny bit off to say "taking the mickey" in the £8/pint context.

 

My brain process might be: "if you'd said 'taking the piss' you'd be making a generic remark about how it's a crazy situation which I'd agree with, but since you've used the slightly less-expected 'taking the mickey' instead, you perhaps mean that the barman is genuinely trying to make a fool of me somehow, should I look around and see if people are laughing at me?"

 

Yeah agreed, glad we are on the same wavelength brother 👊

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