The idiom the straw that broke the camel's back
is from an Arab proverb
about how a camel
wearing shoes is loaded beyond its capacity to move. This is a reference to any process by which cataclysmic failure (a broken back) is achieved by a seemingly inconsequential addition (a single straw). This also gives rise to the phrase "the last/final straw", used when something is deemed to be the last in a line of unacceptable occurrences. A variation of this idiom is "the straw that broke the donkey
One of the earliest published usages of this phrase was in Charles Dickens's Dombey and Son where he says "As the last straw breaks the laden camel's back", meaning that there is a limit to everyone's endurance, or everyone has his breaking point. Dickens was writing in the nineteenth century and he may have received his inspiration from an earlier proverb, recorded by Thomas Fuller in his Gnomologia as 'Tis the last feather that breaks the horse's back.'
- Arabic Original : القشه التى قسمت ظهر البعير
- Danish equivalent: Dråben, der fik bægeret til at flyde over, meaning the drop that made the glass overflow.
- French equivalent: la goutte d'eau qui fait déborder le vase, meaning the drop of water that makes the glass overflow.
- German equivalent: Der Tropfen, der das Fass zum Überlaufen bringt, meaning the drop that makes the barrel overflow.
- Dutch equivalent: De druppel die de emmer doet overlopen, meaning the drop that makes the bucket overflow.
- Spanish equivalent: La gota que colmó el vaso, meaning the drop that spills over the glass.
- Italian equivalent: La goccia che fa traboccare il vaso, meaning the drop of water that makes the jar overflow.
- Romanian equivalent: Picătura care a umplut paharul, meaning the drop that filled the glass.
- Swedish equivalent: Droppen som fick bägaren att rinna över, meaning the drop that made the bucket overflow.
- Turkish equivalent: Bardağı taşıran son damla, meaning the drop of water that makes the glass overflow.
- Hebrew equivalent: הקש ששבר את גב הגמל, meaning the straw that broke the camel's back.