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I'd like to know if there is an English equivalent to the Swedish idiom "gå över ån efter vatten", literally translated "crossing the river to get water" (i.e. solving a problem in a clumsy roundabout way when there obviously is a much easier solution).
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While a little unknown to some (although, I use do use it), you can say : "Cutting the Gordian knot"

It is a metaphor based on a Alexander the Great.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordian_Knot
well... I would say that cutting the knot would be an unexpected and clever solution, whereas I was looking for an idiom that describes an inefficient resource-wasting solution (that is crossing the river when you could just as well have taken the water on this side of it)
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jennyblingWhile a little unknown to some (although, I use do use it), you can say : "Cutting the Gordian knot"

Hmm... I'm not at all sure that this has the required meaning.
In otherwords, it is stating that there is a much easier way to solve the "problem." Instead of untying all the string for hours, you can just cut through it with a knife.

Maybe this is what you mean? but maybe not.
jennyblingIn otherwords, it is stating that there is a much easier way to solve the "problem." Instead of untying all the string for hours, you can just cut through it with a knife.

As I understood it, the OP wants an idiom that means "solving a problem in a clumsy roundabout way when there obviously is a much easier solution". I feel sure there must be one! All I can think of is "beating around the bush" and "gilding the lily", neither of which are really right. (Oh, and "reinventing the wheel", which is also not exactly right.)
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How about "going round the houses"?
Another one that just popped into my head: "using a sledgehammer to crack a nut".

Before I know it, I'll be writing my own idiom dictionary here...
AnonymousI'd like to know if there is an English equivalent to the Swedish idiom "gå över ån efter vatten", literally translated "crossing the river to get water"
I thought it was the same in English (well, almost): to cross the creek to fetch water.

Maybe I grew up around a lot of Swedes and it's not really an English expression.

CJ
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