Learn English – English equivalent for “When the head is present, tail should not wag.”


In Malayalam/Indian, there's a saying "Thala Irikkumbol, Valu-attaruthu!", which literally translates to:

When the head is present, tail should not wag.

It means that one should not act out of turn in the presence of one's superiors.

Mafia bosses A and B discussing stuff; a low-ranking member M chimes in interrupting them; A puts a bullet between M's eyes saying something-cool-here.

I'm not limiting answers to mafia style, though that would be cool.

What are other English idioms equivalent to this?

Best Answer

Something cool here could be:

"When I want your opinion, I'll tell it to you." - Indicating the speaker has power over the one they are talking too, doesn't care what they think, and he/she has spoken out of turn. Sometimes "I'll tell it to you." can be replaced with "I'll beat it out of you.", when the speaker is more violent.

"Know your role, and shut your mouth!" - Not so much an idiom as a wrestler's catch phrase. But it fits, and it is fun to say.