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Funny Spanish Idioms


Annabelle
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Here are some of my favorite Spanish idioms:

The son of a cat kills mice (Like father like son)

El hijo de la gato, ratones mata.

I have an aunt who plays the guitar (What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?)

Yo tengo una tia que toca la quitarra.

He has more wool than a lamb. (He has lots of cash)

Tiene más lana que un borrego.

Idioms are some of the hardest things to learn about a language.  Idioms are for the birds!  :wink:

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Those are very good!  Here are a couple of my favorites.

You’ve put on a shirt made out of eleven sticks. (You've bitten off more than you can chew.)

Te metiste en camisa de once varas.

The scalded cat flees cold water. (Once bitten twice shy.)

Gato escaldado del agua fria huye.

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I like "pedir peras al olmo" - it literally means "to ask the elm tree for pears", but is an expresison meaning that you're asking an impossible favour.  :smile:

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  • 2 weeks later...

More than funny Spanish idioms, these are common Spanish sayings that sounds funny if you translate them to English literally, or that being the same idea is not exactly the same.

In example, "Matar a la Gallina de Oro " it¡s a saying that means someone ends with something that provide him/her with wealthiness.

The English saying for this is "To Kill the Goose that lays the Golden Eggs."

However you find many Spanish speakers that translate the saying literally as "To kill the hen of the gold eggs" that sound rare to English ears.

What it's really hard to translate from Spanish to English, and it's really funny, are those slang expressions in both languages.

In fact, slang is translated into Spanish to as "caló," "caliche," "modismo," "calandria," "pachuco," and many other street terms.

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I know a really funny one, my aunt used to say this to my cousins when they were bothering her:

Ve a ver si ya puso la marrana

This phrase in itself doesn't make much sense, people used to say this phrase when they wanted the other person to just go away.  Another interesting idiom is:

''No te metas en camisa de once varas''. 

Can't even think of a way to translate that, lol!  You basically say this phrase to someone you want to give an advice to.  It's something like ''save yourself the hassle''. That's the closest phrase I could think of in english  :shy:

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  • 2 weeks later...

My favorite funny Spanish idioms are:

  • "La carne de burro no es transparent." Literal meaning is "the flesh of the donkey is not transparent.The English equivalent to this one is "you make a better door than a window." LOL  :laugh: I thought that one was hilarious!
  • Another one is "comer frijoles y repetir pollo." This literally means "to eat beans and belch chicken." The English equivalent to this one is "his bark is mightier than his bite."

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Not quite an idiom here, more of a tongue twister, but when I was little I remember watching an educational Spanish show from time to time, and they would teach idioms and tongue twisters. This was my favorite that they displayed:

"Como poco coco, compro poco coco."

"Because I eat little coconut, I buy little coconut."

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  • 1 month later...

In english.    It is raining cats and dogs.  In spanish It is raining lizards and frogs.

In english  A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush.  in spanish they say ´ 100 that are flying´.

in english  You can´t teach an old dog new tricks.  In spanish  Old parrots do not learn to talk

The one that really threw me off was

You are pulling my leg.  In spanish they say ´ you are pulling my hair´.  When you tell someone something and they tell you that you are pulling their hair, it is really hard to understand the meaning.

Funny, slightly off-topic story.  Be very careful about trying to translate english idioms into spanish or any other language.  Not only will the person be confused, but you may really insult someone.  I was in a public place and a little boy was playing nearby and started climbing all over the bench me and my friend were sitting on.  he ended up jumping on us, all in fun.  In his language, I said something like ´aren´t you just a little monkey´ just to be playful.  Well, that expression in that language is the slang way they refer to people who are mentally challenged.  I was slapped by the boys mother and my friend wasn´t all that happy with me either.  :speechless:

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hahaha, come to think of it, there are quite a few that have made me laugh recently.

Un buen vecino es el que no le pone clave al Wi-Fi.

A good neigbor is one that doesn't lock Wi-Fi.

Pocas mujeres admiten su edad. Pocos hombres actuan acorde a su edad.

Few women admit their age. Few men act their age.

Para todo mal, mezcal, para toda bien, tambien.

For everything bad, (drink) mezcal, for everything good, too.

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