In American English vernacular, idioms are extremely descriptive. Issues which are unlikely to occur happen “when pigs fly.” Secrets and techniques are revealed by “spilling the beans.”
The identical applies to Spanish! However there’s one hitch with idioms—they don’t translate to different languages. Check out this instance:
As a child, life feels easier. All it’s a must to do is put within the batteries at school and not put within the leg too usually.
What sounds absurd in English makes excellent sense in Spanish, and it proves our level that idioms can solely be discovered within the context of the language they belong to. The extra idioms you employ, the extra you’ll sound like a local Spanish speaker. Plus, they make conversations that rather more colourful!
By the point you’ve completed studying this information, you’ll know 25 new idioms in Spanish. To study much more by means of immersive studying—with out the rote memorization—attempt Rosetta Stone’s Spanish language classes and studying instruments. Accessible in Latin American Spanish and Peninsular (Spain) Spanish, you may select the dialect that works finest on your studying objectives!
What’s an idiom?
Merriam-Webster defines an idiom as “an expression within the utilization of a language that’s peculiar to itself, having a that means that can not be derived from the meanings of its components.” In different phrases, idioms should not one thing that you would be able to perceive by merely decoding their phrases individually. Simply take a look at the few examples within the earlier paragraph and also you’ll perceive what we imply. One other instance for you: until you already know that “the age of the turkey” is your “early teenage years,” you’ll in all probability be confused when folks say that to you!
Whereas we can’t clarify each single idiom you could ever encounter, hopefully this record of 25 enjoyable Spanish idioms will get you a step nearer to considering like a Spanish speaker.
25 Spanish idioms and expressions for any dialog
1. Meter la pata
The literal translation of meter la pata is “to place the foot in.” It’s a frequent approach of claiming “making a mistake,” and is also translated to English as “screwing up.”
- Juan metió la pata al llegar tarde a la reunión. = Juan screwed up by arriving late to the assembly.
2. Más vale tarde que nunca
The literal translation of más vale tarde que nunca is “it’s value extra late than by no means.” Just like the English expression “higher late than by no means,” it means it’s higher to do one thing late than not do it in any respect.
- Siempre puedes entregar el informe mañana; más vale tarde que nunca. = You’ll be able to at all times submit the report tomorrow; higher late than by no means.
3. Estar en las nubes
The literal translation of estar en las nubes is “to be within the clouds.” It means to be daydreaming or not paying consideration.
- María está en las nubes: no ha escuchado nada de lo que le dije. = María is within the clouds: she hasn’t heard something I stated.
4. Hacer la vista gorda
The literal translation of hacer la vista gorda is “to make a fats view.” It means to flip a blind eye or ignore one thing.
- El profesor hace la vista gorda cuando llegamos tarde. = The instructor turns a blind eye after we arrive late.
5. Dejar plantado/a a alguien
The literal translation of dejar plantado/a a alguien is “to go away somebody planted.” It means to stand somebody up by not displaying up for a date or appointment.
- Ana me dejó plantado en el cine. ¡Nunca llegó! = Ana stood me up on the films. She by no means confirmed up!
Please observe how the adjective plantado is masculine (ending in an “-o”) as a result of we’re assuming the speaker is a person. It has nothing to do with Ana’s gender. All the time bear in mind to correlate the adjective with the noun it’s modifying.
6. Caer bien/mal
The literal translation of caer bien/mal is “to fall properly/badly.” It means to like/dislike somebody.
- Aunque generalmente me caen mal los abogados, Juan me cae muy bien. = Though I typically don’t like legal professionals, I like Juan rather a lot.
7. Hacer oídos sordos
The literal translation of hacer oídos sordos is “to make deaf ears.” It means to disregard or not hearken to somebody. The English equal can be “to show a blind eye.”
- Ignoré sus críticas e hice oídos sordos a sus palabras. = I ignored their criticisms and turned a blind eye to their phrases.
8. Ser uña y carne
The literal translation of ser uña y carne is “to be nail and flesh.” It means to be very shut, “like two peas in a pod.”
- María y Sofía son uña y carne; siempre están juntas. = María and Sofía are like two peas in a pod; they’re at all times collectively.
9. No hay mal que dure cien años
The literal translation of no hay mal que dure cien años is “there isn’t a dangerous that lasts 100 years.” It signifies that robust occasions will move and folks can overcome adversity.
- Estamos pasando por momentos difíciles, pero recuerda que no hay mal que dure cien años. = We’re going by means of robust occasions, however do not forget that the robust occasions will move.
10. No hay mal que por bien no venga
The literal translation of no hay mal que por bien no venga is “there isn’t a evil that will not be (turn out to be) good.” Its English equal can be “each cloud has a silver lining.” It signifies that one thing optimistic can come out of a damaging state of affairs.
- Perdí mi trabajo, pero no hay mal que por bien no venga: finalmente voy a poder comenzar mi propio negocio. = I misplaced my job, however each cloud has a silver lining: I’ll lastly be capable of begin my very own enterprise.
11. Más vale prevenir que curar
The literal translation of más vale prevenir que curar is “it’s higher to stop than to remedy.” It signifies that taking precautions upfront is wiser than coping with the implications later.
- Asegúrate de hacer una copia de seguridad de tus archivos. Más vale prevenir que remedy. = Make sure that to again up your recordsdata. It’s higher to stop than to remedy.
12. A mal tiempo, buena cara
The literal translation of a mal tiempo, buena cara is “in dangerous occasions, a superb face.” It means to preserve a optimistic angle or look even throughout tough occasions.
- Aunque esté pasando por un mal momento, trato de mantener mi compostura. A mal tiempo, buena cara. = Although I’m going by means of a tricky time, I attempt to placed on a courageous face. In dangerous occasions, a superb face.
13. El que busca, encuentra
The literal translation of el que busca, encuentra is “whoever seeks, finds.” It signifies that for those who search for one thing, you’ll ultimately discover it.
- Si sigues buscando, encontrarás la respuesta. El que busca, encuentra. = For those who maintain looking, you’ll find the reply. Whoever seeks, finds.
14. Dar en el clavo
The literal translation of dar en el clavo is to “hit the nail,” or, nearer to its English counterpart, “to hit the nail on the pinnacle.” It means to be proper or to say one thing precisely.
- No lo creí posible, pero dio en el clavo con la solución. = I didn’t consider it to be potential, however he hit the nail on the pinnacle with the answer.
15. De tal palo, tal astilla
The literal translation of “de tal palo, tal astilla” is “from such a stick, such a splinter.” It signifies that youngsters usually resemble their dad and mom in character or habits. Its English equal can be “the apple doesn’t fall removed from the tree.”
- Mi hijo tiene la misma pasión por la música que yo. De tal palo, tal astilla. = My son has the identical ardour for music as me. The apple doesn’t fall removed from the tree.
16. A caballo regalado no se le miran los dientes
The literal translation of a caballo regalado no se le miran los dientes is “don’t take a look at the enamel of a present horse.” It’s the English equal to the expression “don’t take a look at a present horse within the mouth.” It signifies that if you obtain one thing totally free, you shouldn’t complain about its high quality or situation.
- Aunque no es de la marca que quería, no puedo quejarme. A caballo regalado no se le miran los dientes. = Although it’s not the model I needed, I can’t complain. Don’t take a look at a present horse within the mouth.
17. Echar agua al mar
The literal translation of echar agua al mar is “to throw water into the ocean.” It means to do one thing pointless or futile.
- Seguir discutiendo es como echar agua al mar, no llegaremos a ninguna solución. = Persevering with the argument is pointless, we received’t attain any answer.
18. Salir el tiro por la culata
The literal translation of salir el tiro por la culata is “the shot goes out by means of the again of the barrel.” It signifies that a plan or motion has backfired, leading to a failure or damaging end result.
- Intenté impresionarla con un regalo costoso, pero salió el tiro por la culata, y se ofendió. = I attempted to impress her with an costly present, however it backfired, and he or she bought offended.
19. Hacerse el tonto
The literal translation of hacerse el tonto is “to make oneself the idiot.” The English equal can be “to play dumb,” and it means to faux to be oblivious to one thing round us, so as to keep away from the tasks or penalties related to it.
- Vi a mi amiga María en el parque el otro día, pero me hice el tonto y seguí caminando. Cada vez que hablamos, pierdo al menos dos horas. = I noticed my buddy Maria on the park the opposite day, however I performed dumb and saved on strolling. Each time we communicate, I waste a minimum of two hours.
20. Ser la oveja negra
The literal translation of ser la oveja negra is “to be the black sheep,” and it holds the identical that means because the English expression. It means to be the odd one out or the one that stands out from the remainder of the group resulting from their completely different habits or traits.
- En su familia de médicos, él es la oveja negra de la familia porque decidió estudiar arte. = In his household of medical doctors, he’s the black sheep of the household as a result of he selected to check artwork.
21. El que no llora, no mama
The literal translation of el que no llora no mama is “he who doesn’t cry, doesn’t suckle.” It signifies that for those who don’t ask or specific your wants, you received’t obtain what you need.
- Si no le pides un aumento, no te lo dará. El que no llora, no mama. = For those who don’t ask for a elevate, you received’t get it. He who doesn’t cry, doesn’t suckle.
22. Estar con el corazón en la boca
The literal translation of estar con el corazón en la boca is “to be with the center within the (one’s) mouth.” This expression means to be extraordinarily tense, as in case your coronary heart had crushed its approach out of your chest.
- Después de estar nosotros arriba por dos goles durante casi todo el partido, Mbappé metió dos goles—estuve con el corazón en la boca por el resto del juego. ¡Casi nos ganan! = After we have been up by two objectives for nearly the whole match, Mbappé scored two objectives—I used to be with my coronary heart in my mouth for the remainder of the sport. They virtually beat us!
23. Ponerse las pilas
The literal translation of ponerse las pilas is “to placed on the batteries.” It means to get your act collectively or make an effort.
- Tienes que ponerte las pilas si quieres aprobar el examen. = It’s a must to get your act collectively if you wish to move the examination.
24. Ser pan comido
The literal translation of ser pan comido is “to be eaten bread.” It means to be a bit of cake, or one thing simple.
- Este examen será pan comido; he estudiado mucho. = This examination will probably be a bit of cake; I’ve studied rather a lot.
25. Estar podrido
The literal translation of estar podrido is “to be rotten.” It means to be very drained or fed up with one thing.
- ¡Estoy podrido de escribir mi ensayo! Por suerte, ya casi termino. = I’m sick of writing my essay! Fortunately, I’m virtually executed.
broaden your information of Spanish idioms
As we defined earlier, idioms usually don’t make sense to non-native audio system. It might even be tough to come back throughout them in conventional textbooks or classroom settings. As an alternative, the important thing to studying them is immersion. Under you’ll find an inventory of the way to familiarize your self with idioms and their meanings:
- Watch films, TV reveals, and hearken to music in Spanish: Take note of idiomatic expressions utilized in popular culture. It will possibly aid you acquaint your self with their utilization and context. Plus, you’ll discover ways to pronounce them accurately too.
- Learn books and articles in Spanish: Discover literature and publications in Spanish to come across idiomatic expressions in written type. Search for unfamiliar idioms and their meanings! For sure, the newer the article or ebook, the upper the possibilities of that idiom getting used at present. Begin with this record of 25 must-read books, or try these Spanish language information sources!
- Discover a language associate or “pen pal:” Connecting with a local Spanish speaker who’s enthusiastic about studying your language can present alternatives to trade idioms and broaden your understanding!
- Be a part of a dialog membership or language trade group: Partaking in conversations with native audio system is a good way to study and apply idiomatic expressions. Fb generally is a excellent spot to seek out teams like these!
- Use language studying assets: Make the most of language studying platforms like Rosetta Stone, which affords specialised programs and content material to assist learners grasp Spanish idioms by means of Dynamic Immersion. Bear in mind: idioms don’t convey their literal meanings. To keep away from rote memorization, many learners flip to immersion alternatives for a extra satisfying solution to study phrases!
Be taught Spanish idioms by means of Dynamic Immersion
Mastering idiomatic expressions is an important step in turning into fluent in Spanish! These phrases, deeply rooted in tradition and language, present insights into the best way native audio system suppose and talk. Whereas idioms could seem puzzling at first, embracing them by means of immersion is the important thing to understanding and utilizing them successfully, turning you into a complicated and assured Spanish speaker.
Don’t accept mere translations: let Rosetta Stone aid you prolong your information past rote memorization. Embrace the ability of Dynamic Immersion to find the true essence of Spanish idioms and the Spanish language, talking with the boldness of a local speaker. Begin your language-learning journey at present and unlock the sweetness and depth of Spanish language and tradition.
Written by Diego Rodríguez
Polyglot copywriter, linguist, multi-instrumentalist, and Rosetta Stone consumer himself, Diego has labored as language coach and copywriter for corporations comparable to Coca-Cola, Turner Broadcasting, Rolls Royce, and extra. After a mind tumor practically killed him and left him unable to talk, his drive to relearn his 5 languages concurrently left him a renewed ardour for them, in addition to a deeper understanding of how they work and relate to 1 one other.