July 22, 2024


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30 Best Spanish Idioms You Didn’t Know!

30 Best Spanish Idioms You Didn’t Know!

All languages have idioms and when you are a native speaker, they are not especially difficult to catch.

However, everything gets more complicated when they come from a foreign language you are trying to learn.

This post is aimed to provide you with some of the most peculiar Spanish idioms.

Spanish idioms

I am sure you won’t probably know the meaning of most of them but at the end of this article, your Spanish knowledge will be definitely deeper!

1. El hábito no hace al monje

Some Spanish idiomatic expressions have a religious background because centuries ago Christians had a huge influence on locals’ ways of thinking and living.

The literal translation of El hábito no hace al monje is ‘The habit does not make the monk’.

Nevertheless, the equivalent saying in English is ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’.

A curious thing to know about this last saying is that Spanish use the exact same expression: No juzgues un libro por su portada.

2. Tirar la casa por la ventana

Some idioms in Spanish are very common in daily conversations, especially those referring to how money is spent.

One of the most popular ones is Tirar la casa por la ventana, which can be translated as ‘To throw the house through the window’.

As it does not make any sense in your language, let me tell you that ‘To spare no expense’ or ‘to pull out all the stops’ are equivalent in meaning.

3. No vendas la piel del oso antes de cazarlo

Some popular English idioms in Spanish will allow you to let somebody know that it is unwise to show off before achieving their goals.

It is precisely what No vendas la piel del oso antes de cazarlo means.

As you may have noticed, the significance of ‘Don’t sell the bear’s hide before you hunt it ’can be easily related to the actual English idiom with the same meaning, which is ‘Don’t count your chickens before they hatch’.

4. Hace su agosto

There are several Spanish Idioms that may be considered Spanish travel quotes you will hear from locals all around the world.

Migration from Spain to other countries because of the lack of career opportunities is a hard reality that young people have to face in this country. 

As a result, when someone is going abroad to make more money, people may say he or she hace su agosto.

Literally, it means ‘to make his or her August’ but a similar English idiom is ‘to make a killing’.

5. A otro perro con ese hueso

Cool Spanish quotes will allow you to use some Spanish slang words to express what you think.

A otro perro con ese hueso can be translated as ‘Go to another dog with that bone’.

It means that someone should tell what he or she is saying to someone who will believe him or her because you don’t.

6. No tener pelos en la lengua

Translating some idioms English to Spanish may be difficult.

If you want to say ‘let’s not mince words here’ in Spanish, you will need to learn the expression No tener pelos en la lengua.

As you can see, it is a very different way to say that things should be told as they are, because the translation of these Spanish slang 30 Funny Spanish Slang Words words is ‘To not have hair in your tongue’.

7. Estar como una cabra

An idiom you won’t find in romantic Spanish phrases is Estar como una cabra.

The reason that explains it is that the meaning of this expression is ‘to be crazy’, which is not a cute thing to say to your lover.

8. No pidas peras al olmo

Some of the best Spanish quotes for mum are funny Spanish quotes such as No pidas peras al olmo.

Literally, it can be translated as ‘Don’t ask the elm for pears’ but the equivalent English idiom is ‘You are barking up the wrong tree’.

The meaning of these kids of Spanish idioms is to don’t expect the impossible, which is something mums usually do.

9. Ser un chorizo

Spanish quotes about life may be really useful to know in order to understand common conversations.

Chorizo is one of the funny Spanish names of our language because it is a kind of cold meat but also it is used to refer to someone who steals.

That’s why if you hear that someone is a chorizo, you should bear in mind the second sense of the word to understand the conversation.

 10. Montar un pollo

When thinking about Spanish Idioms that may also appear in Spanish quotes about life, it comes to my mind Montar un pollo.

It is quite common among young people and it means ‘to make a scene’. 

11. Importar un pimiento

Best Spanish wines are usually enjoyed with your best friends.

In this context, you may have some important conversations about what’s important to you.

However, there is also room for keeping the vibe light and the best Spanish quote for that is Me importa un pimiento.

Whose translation is ‘I don’t care’.

12. Tener mala leche

What is Spain known for is the kindness of its locals.

Nevertheless, sometimes you will find people who are not in a good mood.

In order to describe these kinds of people, you can resort to several Spanish idioms but one of the easiest ones to learn is Tener mala leche.

Its meaning is ‘To have a bad temper’.

13. Estar aplatanado

Some Spanish love quotes may also have different meanings depending on the context.

Estar aplatanado is a Spanish sentence that can mean that you are groggy because you are in love.

However, it can also mean ‘To be lazy or tired’.

14. Ser la leche

Positive quotes in Spanish to let people know how great is to spend some time with them are quite common.

In fact, one of the most popular ones is ser la leche.

The literal translation of the saying is ‘you are the milk’ but its significance is ‘you are awesome’.

Do not hesitate about saying this to your best friend when sharing great moments in some of the most beautiful places in Spain.

15. Tener un cacao mental

Spanish idioms like Tener un cacao mental are common Spanish phrases that may be used to tell someone that he or she is very confused.

As with most idiomatic Spanish expressions, it is a colloquial saying that can just be told to someone you have a strong relationship with. 

16. Buscar tres pies al gato

If you know someone that enjoys overthinking everything that happens to him or her, you may definitely need Spanish quotes about friendship like this.

Buscar tres pies al gato means ‘to complicate things ’and it may apply to those who usually try to find hidden intentions behind every action or event.

17. Tomar el pelo

Tomar el pelo is an expression that means ‘to cheat’ that’s why you won’t find it in any romantic Spanish love quotes. 

The curious thing about this saying is that it literally means ‘to take your hair away’. 

18. Creerse el ombligo del mundo

If you need Instagram captions in Spanish to dedicate to narcissistic people. 

You may like to know that Creerse el ombligo del mundo is one of the best Spanish idioms to make someone aware of the fact that everybody knows they want to be the center of attention. 

19. Ser su mano derecha

There are several Spanish quotes about friendship that may help you let someone know how much you appreciate them. 

One of my favorite motivational quotes in Spanish is Ser su mano derecha, which means ‘To be very useful or trustworthy’. 

20. Echarle el ojo

Some Spanish idioms may be appropriate to lots of different situations. 

One of these English-to-Spanish idioms to say ‘to look at someone or something with interest’ is Echarle el ojo

It applies to someone you like or the starring look you can do at something. 

21. Borra con el codo lo que escribe con la mano

There are several funny Spanish quotes to mean that someone is not acting efficiently, but one of my favorite ones is Borra con el codo lo que escribe con la mano

Its translation into English is ‘He erases with the elbow what he writes with his hand’. 

But the equivalent English saying is ‘his right hand doesn’t know what his left hand is doing’.

22. Mal de muchos, consuelo de tontos

When you are going through some difficult moments in your life and someone tries to cheer you up by saying that someone else faced the same situation, you may think that this information is not useful at all. 

The perfect Spanish idiom to mean that is Mal de muchos, consuelo de tontos, which literally means ‘Somehing wrong to a lot of people, the comfort of fools’.

23. La cabra tira al monte

Literally translating idioms English to Spanish is sometimes difficult but in some cases, you may find different expressions with the same meaning in both languages.

The Spanish slang words La cabra tira al monte is equivalent to ‘The leopard doesn’t change its spots’ or ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’.

24. Hacer el mono

Funny Spanish insults like Hacer el mono are aimed to let somebody know that he or she is behaving in a silly way.

Although its literal translation is ‘to make the monkey’, this Spanish idiom means ‘to behave dumbly’.

25. No pegar ni con cola

Spanish Idioms that may be used to describe weird couples or strange combinations are quite common.

One of the most popular ones is No pegar ni con cola, whose literal translation is that something can’t get stuck even using glue but it means that something or somebody is incompatible.

26. A palo seco

One of the Spanish idiomatic expressions that should be included in our list of Spanish travel quotes to know when visiting the country is A palo seco.

This is used when something unpleasant is said sincerely and straightly.

However, it can also be used when something is eaten or drunk without anything to accompany it.

27. Ser un pedazo de pan

There are also several cute idioms in Spanish that you should remember!

One of the easiest ones is Ser un pedazo de pan, which literally means ‘to be a piece of bread’ but it is used to imply that someone is very kind.

28. Cortar el bacalao

English idioms in Spanish to say that someone rules the roast are quite common.

If you need to mean this in Spanish, you can just say Él o ella corta el bacalao.

The translation is ‘He or she cuts the cod’ which seems to be a non-sense, but that is precisely what happens with idioms, what you are saying and what you mean do not match!

29. Acostarse con las gallinas

If you are looking for the native way to say ‘to go to bed early’ you just need to learn by heart Acostarse con las gallinas.

It literally means to go to bed with chickens, what you may be don’t know is that these animals start to sleep as soon as the sun sets.

30. Poner toda la carne en el asador

Spanish idioms like poner toda la carne en el asador have equivalent expressions in English.

In this case, you may use this Spanish expression when you mean ‘To put all your eggs in one basket’.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this list of the 30 best Spanish idioms and we are sure they will be really helpful to let you express yourself as a native Spanish speaker.

If you are not brave enough to use them, at least you will understand them when locals say them!