Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jack of all trades, master of none

"Jack of all trades, master of none" is a figure of speech used in reference to a generalist: a person that is competent with many skills but is not outstanding in any particular one.....That's me!!

Sayings and terms resembling 'jack of all trades' appear in almost all languages. Whether they are meant positively or negatively varies, and is dependent on the context.

* Chinese
o Mandarin (Simplified): 门门懂,样样瘟 ("All trades known, all trades dull")
o Shanghainese (Simplified): 三脚猫 ("A cat with only 3 legs")
o Shanghainese (Simplified): 万宝全书缺只角 ("An encyclopedia with one corner missing")
o Mandarin (Traditional): 樣樣通,樣樣鬆 ("All trades known, all trades dull")
o Cantonese: 周身刀,無張利 ("Surrounded by knives, none is sharp")

* Spanish
o Argentina: El que mucho abarca poco aprieta ("The one who takes a lot of space makes little pressure").
o Spain: Todero,[7] Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada ("Apprentice of everything, master of nothing").[8]
o Spain: Maestro Liendre, que todo sabe y de nada entiende ("Knows about everything but understands nothing").
o Spain: Un océano de conocimiento de una pulgada de profundidad ("An ocean of knowledge of an inch deep").
o Mexico: A todo le tiras, y a nada le pegas ("You shoot for everything, but you hit nothing").

* German: Hansdampf in allen Gassen ("Wise guy in all alleys").

* French: Homme-à-tout-faire ("All-trades guy"), Touche-à-tout ("Touch everything").

* Dutch: Manusje-van-alles ("Hand-of-all"), usually meant positively. There is also Handige Harry ("Handy Harry"), which has a negative connotation.

* Persian: همه‌کاره و هیچ‌کاره ("One tries to do everything, but is capable of doing nothing").

* Italian: Esperto di tutto, maestro in niente ("Expert of everything, master of none").

* Brazilian Portuguese: Pau para toda obra ("Wood for every construction"). Commonly used, but with a positive connotation, describing someone who is able and willing to serve many tasks with enough competence.

* Lithuanian: Devyni amatai – dešimtas badas ("When you have nine trades, then your tenth one is famine/starvation"). There is also Barbė šimtadarbė ("Barbie with hundred professions").

* Estonian: Üheksa ametit, kümnes nälg ("Nine trades, the tenth one - starvation").

* Finnish: Jokapaikanhöylä (Plane for all purposes). Usually a compliment, but sometimes implies irony: a tool designed for all purposes is not really good for any specific purposes.

* Polish: Siedem fachów, ósma bieda ("Seven trades, the eighth one - poverty").

* Greek: Πολυτεχνίτης και ερημοσπίτης ("He who knows a lot of crafts lives in an empty house"). The empty house – without a spouse and children – implies poverty and lack of prosperity.

* Arabic: سبع صنايع والبخت ضايع ("The one who knows seven professions but is so unlucky").

* Turkish: Her işi bilen hiçbir şey yapamaz. ("One who knows everything cannot do anything")

* Elizabethan English: the synonymous quasi-New Latin term Johannes factotum ("Johnny do-it-all") was sometimes used, with the same negative connotation[9] that "Jack of all trades" sometimes has today. The term was famously used by Robert Greene in the earliest surviving published reference to William Shakespeare.

* Urdu: ھر فن مولا.

* Russian: Мастер на все руки ("Master in all hands."). Used only as a term of praise. За десять дел возьмется, ни одно не закончит ("Goes for ten, done with nothing"). К каждой бочке затычка ("A peg for every barrel") — someone who wants to participate in every deal.

* Vietnamese: Một nghề cho chín, còn hơn chín nghề ("Being master in one job is better than doing normally in nine jobs").

* Czech: Devatero řemesel, desátá bída. ("Nine crafts, tenth comes misery").

* Hungarian: Ezermester ("Master of a thousand things")
(quoted from:,_master_of_none)


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