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Дорога ложка к обеду

Used to mean: that is good what is in time ^ It's good to have mustard in time, not after dinner (Contrast:~ After dinner (or meat), mustard. After death, the doctor. Slow help is no help. When the house is burned down, you dring water. When a thing is done, advice comes too late) # A spoon is dear when lunch time is near. Ср. Дорого яичко к Христову дню

Государь выпил анисовки, крякнул:
- Ну, сказывай, Демидыч, много пушек отлил да ядер?..
Никита спокойно ответил царю:
- Может, и мало, государь Пётр Алексеевич, да дорога ложка к обеду. Акинфка сплавом гонит. (Е. Федоров. Каменный пояс)

The Tzar drank a cup of anisette, wheezed and said, "Well, tell me, Demidov, have you managed to found many cannons and shots?"
Demidov answered composedly, "Sure not many, Your Majesty Peter Alexeyevich, but as they say, it's no good to have mustard after dinner. Akinf is coming here with the ammunition on rafts."

* "Дорога ложка к обеду!" - так говорит пословица. И если технику для активного вентилирования сена приравнять к ложке, то, видимо, она нужна в пору сенокосную, а не после. (Ложка… после обеда. Сельская жизнь, 26.07.1972)

As the proverb has it, "A spoon is dear when lunch time is near. "If the machines for active ventilating and drying of hay is the proverbial spoon, this kind of spoon is needed at hay-cutting season and surely not after it.


The Conventional Designations and Signs:

1. Brackets in combination with different letter types in the Russian title units. For instance, Бабушка (Бабка, Старуха) (ещё) надвое сказала (гадала), where the words Бабушка надвое сказала are the saying in its basic form. The words (Бабка, Старуха) given in brackets, are the variants of the basic component Бабушка; the word (гадала) is the variant of the basic component сказала; the word (ещё) is an optional component of the saying.
2. Description (in English) of a proverb's/saying's meaning is given in italics, e.g.: Бабушка (Бабка, Старуха) (ещё) надвое сказала (гадала) Nobody knows whether it is so or not, whether it will happen or not.
3. = is put before an English monoequivalent e.g.: Аппетит приходит во время еды = Appetite (or The appetite) comes with (or in, while) eating.
4. ~ is put before an English analogue, e.g.: Близок (Близко) локоть, да не укусишь ~ There's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip; or before an English antonym, e.g.: Скоро сказка сказывается, да не скоро дело делается (Contrast: ~ No sooner said than done).
5. ^ is put before a descriptive translation, in which components of an English proverb/saying or an English set-phrase is used, e.g.: Воду (в ступе) толочь - вода (и) будет ^ Beating the air is just beating the air. (The translation is made by way of using the English set-phrase "to beat the air".)
6. :: is put before such a descriptive translation as does not convey the image of the Russian proverb/saying, e.g.: Чем дальше в лес, тем больше дров:: Complications begin to set in.
7. # is put before such a descriptive translation as conveys, partially or in full, the image of the Russian proverb/saying, e.g.: Чем дальше в лес, тем больше дров # The farther into the forest, the thicker the trees. The deeper into the wood you go, the more timber seems to grow.
8. * (the asterisk) is put before those illustrations of the Russian proverb/saying's use where it has undergone an occasional change and/or participates in a stylistic device, e.g.: * Во-первых, как вам известно, вопреки пословице, брань на вороту виснет… (Ю. Герман. Я отвечаю за всё)
Firstly, because mud has a way of sticking, as you probably know…
9. Ср. is a sign of reference informing the reader that the site also contain number of similar Russian proverb/sayings, e.g.: Бабушка надвое сказала Ср. Это еще вилами по воде писано.



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