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Do you know what the expression ‘Πήγε για μαλλί και βγήκε κουρεμένος’ means? /p'ije ja mal'i


‘Πήγε για μαλλί και βγήκε κουρεμένος’ is a widely used expression in Greece that literally translates to ‘He went for hair/wool and came out with shorn hair’. It is used when someone is aiming for one thing, but he ends up with a negative outcome, completely different from the initial goal.

It is said that the expression has its roots in the 13th and 14th centuries when Greece experienced a dark period. Raids of various pirates plagued parts of the coastline.

At the same time at the island of Milos, large carpet workshops existed that manufactured carpets in various gorgeous designs with a great wool quality. The carpets were so famous that they were sold subsequently to the rich people of the city, Cyprus or Venice.

During that period, a fearsome pirate, Ali Mehmet Khan, was plaguing the Aegean. One night, he and his crew went to Milos to raid and loot. The pirates had also set their eyes on the carpet workshops in order to pillage the carpets and resources. The islanders, however, found out their plans, trapped and captured them without bloodshed. Instead of killing them, they decided to shave the pirates’ heads and beards and then sent them as a gift to the emperor of Byzantium. And so, the expression was born: "They went for hair/wool and came out with shorn hair."

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