Fire burning under his ass

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Malika, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I am a translator and often use a translators' forum for any words/phrases I am hesitant about. Today a French translator posted for translation ideas for this phrase (a film she is subtitling), the context being a mother speaking to her rather offbeat and wild daughter about a new boyfriend:
    Maybe not enough fire burning under his ass for your tastes, but he'll do for the day?
    This is American English and we are all guessing at the meaning of "fire burning under his ass" - I imagine it means energy, passion but am not sure. I know you talk about asses a lot, for some reason :)
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    That's really not something I've ever heard. Perhaps it is some colloquialism... Different parts of the country, and all.

    It's more like "Maybe not enough ambition for your tastes..."

    I've heard people say "light a fire under so-and-so's ass" but...
  3. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I've never heard the phrase "fire burning under his a**" either. (Being Canadian, I can't even type out the full word without blushing)
    Like Step, I've heard people say things like "You need to light a fire under his a**", in other words, do something to shock him out of complacency and get him moving and motivated.
  4. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    It refers to him being self-motivated, and it's not a phrase used in polite company. But I'm sure it's been used sarcastically on many school mornings by the parents of difficult children. Sometimes, it would be phrased "I'm going to light a fire under his..."
  5. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks both. Could it mean "restlessness", I wonder?
  6. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I'd phrase it like:

    Maybe not enough fire lit under his ass for your tastes, but he'll do for the day?
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks! Actually, this is a French translator needing to translate the phrase into French so she just needs to understand the meaning in English... and I am just curious and indulging my bad habit of seeking distractions from the loooooong translation project I am working on myself.
  8. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Restlessness doesn't really fit. The idea of having the fire already lit is a positive thing, whereas restlessness is more neutral or negative.

    Someone who's a real go-getter already has the internal flame, if you will, and doesn't require having a fire lit under him. Someone who does not have it internally, needs the external prod.

    Is this making any sense?
  9. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I posted a summary of your replies on the forum and the French translator said:

    Thank you very much for asking American people! So I was wrong when I said "crazy, eccentric", right? Is it "self-motivated" as "having initiative", as the WR dictionary says?
    In fact, the guy that the daughter dated took over his dad's pharmacy in Ohio as opposed to the girl who went to NYC to write a book. So that could make sense.

    And now... I am going to do a bit of work of my own:hamwheelsmilf:
  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Ambition, motivation, sometimes to hurry one up. Where I grew up the latter was the most frequent meaning. As in Light a fire under your a** and let's go!

    Where I grew up this saying is used a LOT.
  11. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    In the southern US, if someone spoke of lighting a fire under someone's ass that would mean to do something drastic to shock them out of complacency, to do something to get them up and moving when they don't want to. It wouldn't have anything to do with ambition. To Americans used to seeing outrageous things on television, the phrase "fire burning under his ass" would probably sound like a lead-in to a Preparation-H commercial!

    You might refer to someone with a lot of ambition or motivation as "having a fire in them", but when you move the location of that fire to under their ass, that means to do something to shock them in to action.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    As opposed to someone having a "hot ass" which means they are extremely promiscuous. LOL
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Western Canadian version... would probably translate to "get-up-and-go"... not the same as ambition, more related to "hustle". Goals may not be very high (related to ambition), but whatever they do, they are "on it", it gets done, they move on... perhaps the opposite of "laxidasical".
  14. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    A good example would be Janet and her "beloved" brother-in-law, Buck!

    "If Janet didn't light a fire under his ass, Buck
    would be living in her house forever"