To have your cake and eat it too

In English people often say “you cannot have your cake and eat it too”.  What they mean when they say this is that it is not possible to have two good things at the same time.

I often find myself saying “you can have your cake and eat it too.”

It is very amusing to look at the Wikipedia definition of this idiom.  It gives the equivalent of this saying in many languages, and some of them are very funny.  I’m not sure whether my favourite is “To have the barrel full and the wife drunk” or “To want both the one on the roof, and the one in your armpit”.

I have pasted some below.  On The Language List Facebook page we put some English idioms, and invite people to give the English translation of the equivalent idiom from their own country.

 

Albanian To take a swim and not get wet
Bosnian You can’t have both the lamb and the money
Chinese You can’t have both the fish and the bear’s paw (Bear’s paw is considered a delicacy in ancient China)
Croatian You can’t have both the sheep and the money
Danish You cannot both blow and have flour in your mouth
French To want the butter and the money (from selling) the butter
German You can’t dance at two weddings at the same time
Swiss German You can’t have the five cent coin and a bread roll
Greek You want the entire pie and the dog full
Hebrew You can’t eat the cake and keep it whole
Hungarian It is impossible to ride two horses with one arse (The meaning is similar to the Russian translation)
Icelandic You cannot both blow and have flour in your mouth
Italian To have the barrel full and the wife drunk
Kannada Desire over rice, love over relatives
Malayalam To want both the one on the roof, and the one in your armpit
Nepali Having laddu (a sweet candy) in both your hands
Norwegian You can’t get both in bag and sack
Persian Wanting both the donkey and the sugar
Polish To eat the cookie and have the cookie
Portuguese Wanting the sun to shine on the threshing floor, while it rains on the turnip field
Romanian You can’t reconcile the goat and the cabbage
Russian Wanting to eat a fish without first catching it first
Serbian You can’t have both the baby goat and the money
Spanish Wishing to be both at Mass and in the procession – or – to be at the mass and ringing the bell…
Spanish (Columbia) You can’t sing and whistle at the same time
Swahili The greedy hyena was split in half trying to follow both crossroads
Tamil Desire to have both the moustache and to drink the soup
Turkish Neither giving up one’s lover nor one’s self
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