"What you look for in a bag was once found in a sack"
June 26, 2013 1:45 AM   Subscribe

Is there a Swedish speaker in the house? In the Swedish film Call Girl, one of the characters utters a phrase that is translated in the subtitles as: "What you look for in a bag was once found in a sack." To me it's a total non-sequitur... Any idea what it means? Here's the clip on YouTube. Thanks!
posted by Silky Slim to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: "Allt har varit i säck innan det varit i påse."

It means something like "it was already said or thought by someone else."

Lit: Everything was in a sack before it was in a bag. (Weird, but it's an idiom, and idioms are weird).
posted by lollusc at 1:55 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Okay, thanks...
Just wondering, what's the inner logic there? Is a sack supposed to be bigger than a bag? or the same thing?
posted by Silky Slim at 2:00 AM on June 26, 2013

Response by poster: Do you suppose I could translate it as "there is nothing new under the sun"?
posted by Silky Slim at 2:05 AM on June 26, 2013

As lollusc says. No, the 'logic' is that you didn't do it your self. You took something from one place and put it in another.

Thinking of it, it might have a connection to millers (as in flour) but I'm not sure.

The expression is quite old. Ca 1800:s.
posted by Rabarberofficer at 2:05 AM on June 26, 2013

I guess like the sack would be the packaging used for the journey from the supplier to the retailer - and the bag for the secondary journey from the retailer back to the consumer's house.
posted by rongorongo at 2:49 AM on June 26, 2013

Best answer: Non-Swedish speaker here, but if you're looking for an analogous English idiom, "old wine in new bottles" seems close to lollusc's explanation of the Swedish one.
posted by third rail at 2:52 AM on June 26, 2013 [5 favorites]

Everything old is new again.
posted by plinth at 8:26 AM on June 26, 2013

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