Funny Spanish expressions and proverbs

If you are not that familiar with my mothertongue, we are really funny and different from the rest of Europe. Fun fact, Spain is the only European country with African cities. It is also one of the countries with more types of cultures with the same roots. But you know what I like the most? Expressions. The Spanish imagination is so powerful and you won’t believe how we see the world.


These expressions and proverbs have equivalents in English but we change a few things or maybe we absolutely turn the whole phrase:

  • Talking to the Devil: In Spain we don’t say the Devil, we Talk about the king of Rome (Hablando del rey de Roma).
  • A word is enough to the wise: Well, maybe the Spanish needs more. To good clever-man, few words are needed (A buen entendedor, pocas palabras bastan).
  • Barking dogs never bite: Our dogs do! But less of course. Barking dog, less biter (Perro ladrador, poco mordedor).
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: True meaning of life but Spaniards play cards: Don’t gamble all to one card (No te la juegues a una carta).
  • It’s raining cats and dogs: WHAT?! Animal rain? No! We have pots on the sky. It rains pots (Llover a cántaros).
  • One man’s meat is another man’s poison: We don’t even know what that means. Spanish have more to say: Talking about taste, nothing is written or Talking about taste, colours (Para gustos no hay nada escrito or Para gustos, colores).
  • Birds of a feather flock together: You have to know that we are religious. So we say God grow them together and they meet (Dios los cría juntos y ellos se juntan).
  • Monkey see, monkey do: Religious, but… we like to enjoy dirty things. We say Butt I see, butt I want (Culo veo, culo quiero).

The pure Spanish

Did you like the comparison? I might be wrong but none of this exists in any other language. They are for sure really creative:

  • Being a bad-luck bird: Exactly that! We talk too much and maybe we attract the bad luck, so always speak positive (Ser pájaro de mal agüero).
  • Thin dog all-cover by fleas: The bad luck always strikes to the weak one. Remember, stay brave and positive or the bad thoughts will come for you! (A perro flaco, todos son pulgas).
  • Having almond milk in veins: Actually there’s more than almond milk to those lazy and slow people in the blood. Can you imagine a human with almond milk in the blood? Or air? Or just lack of blood? (Tener horchata/aire en las venas or No tener sangre).
  • Bread is bread and wine is wine: Let’s be clear, things are the way they are. Don’t change your perspective of reality or the name of the things (Al pan pan y al vino vino).
  • Every owl to their olive tree: Isn’t it funny?! This only means to take people to their houses or the places where they belong. Guys, the party is over (Cada mochuelo a su olivo).
  • Sew and sing: English is famous with their piece of cake or their cup of tea. Who haven’t heard of the easy-pease? Well, we have also one thing less tasty (Coser y cantar).
  • When you become father, you’ll eat eggs: Listen to your parents. You don’t know but they are right in some way (Cuando seas padre, comerás huevos).
  • To put wood in the bonfire: You know those people who like to see the world burn? These people like to make worse a bad situation (Echar leña al fuego). They also Put lemon juice in wounds or Touch the wounds (Echar lemón a las heridas or Meter el dedo en la herida).
  • To talk with the elbows: Mouth is overrated. The most talkative people speak with their elbows (Hablar por los codos).
  • Going blind: Well, not exactly blind, but we drink and we turn really crazy. This is getting drunk (Ir ciego). We also have Going like a trunk or Going piripi or Going fart (Ir trompa or Ir piripi or Ir pedo).
  • To take the cat to the water: Something imposible, like taking the cat to the water. Congratulations! (Llevarse el gato al agua).
  • Bad weed never dies: Yes, bad people will always come more and more until something must change. These guys… (Mala hierva nunca muere).
  • To kill the worm: English has a repetitive song in the head, but our worm is called “starving”. Eat snacks and kill the worm (Matar el gusanillo).
  • To wet myself: It’s nothing dirty -this time-, but being the brave one to bet something important or get implicated in something (Mojarse).
  • I can’t translate this one: German speakers! This is for you! Do you use So lala? Then we have Ni fu ni fa. Literally, Neither fu or fa. We don’t go good (fu) and we don’t go bad (fa).
  • Don’t give your arm to bend: We like our arms the way they are. This means to let the things we as they are and being strict like a mountain. Parents don’t let their children go crazy and Spanish parents dont give their arms to bend (No dar el brazo a torcer).
  • We were a few so the grandma gave birth: People like to join everywhere. This means to take part in a really full event or group (Éramos pocos y parió la abuela).
  • To put dots over the i: Sit on the chair and let me be clear with you. This party-pooper means to let the things clear (Poner los puntos sobre las íes).
  • To take the chesnuts out of the fire: You see we are crazy, so someone must be the adult and save the people. This means that you save someone from his problems (Sacar las castañas del fuego).

Wow that was a lot. There are a really lot of more. You can search for more or you can ask if you liked this post! I hope you had fun with all these hilarious expressions. Remember this Al mal tiempo, buena cara or else: put your best face to the worst weather.

José M. Gómez