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A golpe de silbato.

literally means

blow a whistle.

However, it is used to describe fast actions and/or decisions.

Could someone explain more about it and when/how to use it correctly?

Thank you in advance.

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I would say the literal translation would be closer to "[at the]/[to the] blow [of the]/[of a] whistle". – Fabián H. jr. Mar 24 '13 at 20:42
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The "golpe de silbato" is short and energic beep of a whistle. In many situations, this means that an order must be executed by many, immediately and without question (Attack the enemy trench, start the race, giving a new stroke of the paddle, etc.). Possibly it is used the word "golpe" (coup) because a "golpe de silbato" has the same function as the "golpe de tambor" (drum beat) or even the "golpe de látigo" (whiplash) in galleys or similar situations.

Therefore, it is logic that a "a golpe de silbato" has become an expression to describe impulsive, abusive or authoritarian orders with an immediate impact. In a positive sense could be used to show that something must be made fast and without excuses.

El golpe de silbato es un pitido corto y enérgico. En muchas situaciones, esto significa que una orden debe ejecutarse por muchos, inmediatamente y sin rechistar (Atacar la trinchera del enemigo, comenzar la carrera, dar un nuevo golpe de remo, etc.). Posiblemente se emplee la palabra "golpe" porque tiene la misma función que el golpe del tambor o incluso el golpe de látigo en galeras y situaciones similares.
Por tanto, se ha convertido en una expresión para describir órdenes impulsivas, abusivas o autoritarias con repercusiones inmediatas. En un sentido positivo puede indicar la necesidad de hacer algo inmediatamente y sin excusas.

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Wonderful! Many thanks :) – Omar Mar 16 '13 at 21:47

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