The rich Russian language surprises not only foreigners who enthusiastically begin to decipher our popular expressions. Sometimes we ourselves do not fully understand the meaning of well-known phrases. All native Russian speakers know the expression "to bend into a ram's horn". But many do not understand what this phrase actually means. To understand the nuances of the meaning of a phraseological unit, it is worth recalling several features of the behavior of the owner of ram's horns.
Sheep is not only valuable wool
This is a herbivore domestic animal, a male sheep, belongs to small livestock. An adult grows no more than a meter in height and one and a half in length. An adult ram weighs about 180 kg. This animal wears heavy, powerful, spiraling horns, which take up 10-15% of its total weight. An adult he althy male is able to reach speeds of up to 24 km / h and jump one and a half meters high.
Used on the farmwool and lamb meat. During the mating season, fierce battles take place between males. The rams collide with their foreheads. This spectacle is not for the faint of heart, because the force of a head-on collision is very high. Fortunately, nature has endowed sheep with a strong skull. The above photo of a ram's horn perfectly illustrates the fact that this "headgear" is very durable and can inflict significant damage to the opponent.
Harmless and shy sheep
Sheep are considered stupid, shy and stubborn animals. Another well-known phrase - "to look like a ram at a new gate", quite accurately describes the nature of these animals. The fact is that sheep have a highly developed herd instinct, they can hardly endure a change of place and practically do not change their habits. Therefore, the passage through the new gate is really a problem for them. These are very lack of initiative, prone to submission, resigned animals.
Meaning of the expression "to bend into a ram's horn"
Phraseological dictionary of the Russian language offers the following definition:
By cruel oppression to achieve obedience, complete subordination of someone, deal with someone recalcitrant.
Forcing, suppressing, completely subordinating to one's will, forcing to be obedient and meek. This means that a person, less often - a group of persons united by common interests (X), through oppression and manifestation of excessive severity, achieves complete obedience, submission, humility of another person, less often -another group of people (Y). Usually said with disapproval.
As you can see, the meaning of this expression is consonant with the main features of the sheep's behavior. In addition, the very shape of the ram's horns, twisted and strong, without the possibility of "untwisting" them, imposes an additional semantic meaning.
Symbolic of horns
The horns of a ram or its head are quite often chosen as a tattoo sketch, its image is used in architectural bas-reliefs and illustrations. Warriors of ancient peoples decorated their helmets with them. Also, the skull of the animal was often attached to the gates or facades of houses. What do the ram's horns symbolize?
Ancient peoples believed in many gods, whose appearance often had a frightening look. Many of them had animal heads and a human body. For example, the Egyptian gods. If the deity was horned, then it patronized both people and animals. They are considered a symbol of fertility and strength, honor and dignity. The most famous Egyptian god with ram horns is Amun. This is the god of the sun, one of the most powerful in ancient Egypt. He could appear in the form of a black ram, and the twisted horns on his head were considered the emblem of the abiding power of the sun.
In Judaism, such elements symbolize victory or defeat. If raised horns appear in the plot, then we are talking about a triumphant victory. And if they are mentioned broken - about the defeat. In the Christian tradition, the two horns are the Old and New Testaments, with which you can defeatsin.
A more modern interpretation of the symbol has been known to us since the time of Shakespeare. The presence of imaginary horns in a man is interpreted as a symbol of treason on the part of his wife, deceit and vice. Perhaps this is due to the fact that in the religious traditions of Christianity and Catholicism, the devil is represented as a horned creature. Surely many have seen such images. And often he is depicted with ram's horns.