The title of this post is the literal translation of “Más se perdió en la guerra”, which is a very interesting phrase that can be used in a variety of occasions and has no true exact translation in English. It is used to minimize the severity of a problem or mishap and was born in 1898, after the war between the U.S. and Spain, and its original form was “Más se perdió en la guerra y vinieron cantando” (We lost more in the war and they came back singing).
In that year war broke out between the U.S. and Spain. The Americans destroyed the entire Spanish fleet in the Caribbean and in Manila, and the conflict ended with the defeat of Spain, who had to give the winner the territories of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Legend has it that the few Spanish survivors returned home singing, since they had been saved. That is the core of the expression: “We lost more in the war and they came back singing”.
Today, the phrase has been cut to the simplified “Más se perdió en la guerra…” (We lost more in the war…) and is used to mitigate a problem. For example, if someone is working for a long time on on a project on their computer, without saving from time to time, and suddenly the power goes out, losing everything they had worked on appears to be a disaster. Someone looking to comfort them would be able to say “We lost more in the war.”
In English, unfortunately there is no literal translation of the term. Instead, we would say “Things could be worse” or “Worse things happen at sea” or “It’s not the end of the world.”
A Frenchman might say “c’est pas la fin du monde” or “Ça pourrait être pire” (literally, It’s not the end of the world or Things could be worse, respectively)
In Italian it would be “non è fine del mondo.” (literally, It’s not the end of the world)
And every language has its own way of expressing it, as with nearly every expression. So, once again, this all comes back to the idea of not translating literally, but to express the same thing in the “language” of another.
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