An earful of expressions

What a pity that the third season of Downton Abbey has finished! I enjoyed it so much that you ‘wouldn’t be able to pull me away by the ears’ while I was watching it.

In Russian we say за уши не оттянуть/оттащить кого-то от чего-то (not to be able to pull by the ears somebody away from something) when we want to express how fond a person is of doing something.

Моя дочь с ума сходит, когда мы приходим в парк развлечений. Как только мы заходим, она тут же забирается на какую-нибудь карусель и всё, ее оттуда за уши не оттащишь.

My daughter goes crazy whenever we go to an amusement park. The very second we enter she mounts some merry go round and that’s it, you cannot pull her away by the ears.

This idiom is often used while speaking about something delicious, for example:

Он так любит пасту карбонара, просто за уши не оттянуть!
He likes eating pasta carbonara so much that you wouldn’t be able to pull him away by the ears.


And I even found a recipe of a snack named “За уши не оттащишь”! It consists of sow’s ears, carrots, onions, garlic etc. Well, there is no accounting for taste!

The other expression with ‘ears’ is ‘to pull something up by the ears’ — притянуть что-то за уши.
We use it more in a form “притянутый за уши” (pulled up by the ears) when we are not convinced with the arguments that our interlocutor gives us when explaining why something happened.
If you type into Google “такое объяснение кажется мне притянутым за уши” you will get a bunch of colourful examples, such as:

Есть мнение связать корень слова злачный со словом зло, то есть, злое, нехорошее место, но думается, что такое объяснение «притянуто за уши», ибо зло и злак кроме совпадения первых двух букв не имеют ничего общего.

Some think that zlachnyi (as in zlachnoe* mesto — bawdy house; brothel) has the same root as zlo (evil), because zlachnoe mesto is an evil, bad place, but it seems that this explanation is «pulled up by the ears» since, apart from two similar first letters, zlo (evil) and zlak*(cereal) have absolutely nothing in common.

*zlachnoe comes from zlak (cereal) and in its first meaning zlachnoe mesto is a public house.

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