February 20, 2006

Cyprian problem

Posted in Fun at 10:27 am by Feng

Cyprian problem — a problem that people argue for a long time without any solution (Greek idiom)

I was having lunch with some Greeks. We talked about the problem in Cyprus, which had been a long-standing dispute between Greece and Turkey. Interestingly, Greek people come up with a new phrase from this — if two Greeks argue about something for a very long time, and this leads to nowhere, one would say in frustration, “hey, we are discussing a Cyprian problem.”

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2 Comments »

  1. Feng said,

    The English equivalent is “Chicken-and-egg problem”.

  2. Jeff said,

    Not quite.

    “The chicken or the egg problem” refers to a situation where something cannot happen until a second thing does, and the second thing cannot happen until the first does.

    While people have debated which came first—the chicken or the egg—for a very long time, the phrase itself refers to the causality dilemma (which, apparently, for chickens and eggs, has been solved).


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