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more spanish idioms5.  


Spanish idioms Literal translation English equivalent Picture representation
Arrimar el ascua a su sardina to put the coals close to your own sardine to look after number one  
tener la sarten por el mango to hold the frying pan by the handle to call the shots, to be in charge  
como un tomate as red as a tomato as red as a beetroot  
ir de Guatemala a Guatepeor to go from Guatebad to Guateworse to jump out of the frying pan into the fire  
que da gloria that gives glory wonderfully, marvellously  
Esperar algo como agua de mayo to hope for something like rain in may to eagerly await something  
Pagar el pato to pay for the duc to carry the can  
Poner una pica en Flandes To put a pike in Flanders To manage to do something, pull something off  
Ponerse rojo To put on red To get sunburned sunburn.jpg
Poner a alguien como un trapo To leave somebody like a rag To tear someone to shreds tear-someone-to-shreds.jpg
Sacar fuerzas de flaqueza To drag strength out of weakness To make a supreme effort  
A la vejez, viruelas! To old age, smallpox Fancy that happening at his age.
Ir sobre ruedas To go on wheels To go smoothly
Estar como unas castañuelas To be like a pair of castanets. To be as happy as Larry.
Riendo se va aprendiendo Laughing you go along learning Humour helps learning monkey-laughing
Comer a dos carrillos To eat with two cheeks To stuff your face
Son como chanchos They are like pigs They are as thick as thieves
Son lobos de una camada They are wolves of one litter They are birds of a feather wolfpups.jpg
Empezar la casa por el tejado To begin the house with the roof To put the cart before the horse cart before the cart
Tonto de capirote Idiot chief Dope of dopes. Really stupid dope of dopes
Tiene un humor de perros He`s in a dog mood He`s in a foul mood in a dog mood
Correr como un galgo To run like a greyhound To run like a gazelle greyhounds
Acostarse con las gallinas To go to bed with the chickens To go to bed early sleeping cat
En boca cerrada no entran moscas In a closed mouth flies don`t enter. Loose talk can get you into trouble. en boca cerrada no entran moscas
El hijo de papá Daddy`s child Rich kid. Kid who has everything provided for them. rich kids
Mas loco que una cabra Crazier than a she-goat Mad as a hatter mad as a hatter
Meterse en el sobre To put oneself in the envelope To hit the sack. To go to bed to hit the sack
Chiste rojo Red joke Dirty joke dirty joke
Comer a dos carrillos To eat with two cheeks To serve two masters. To work for two people. to eat with two cheels
El vivo retrato de alguien The living portrait of someone The spitting image of someone twin bears
No dar el brazo a torcer To not give one`s arm to twist To be stubborn no dar el brazo a torcer
Cortado por la misma tijera Cut by the same scissors Very similar, chip off the old block chip off the old block
Tener alma a acero To have a soul of steel To have a heart of stone, to be without feelings heart of stone
Ser plato de segunda mesa To be a plate of a second table To feel like a second class citizen second class citizen
Quemarse las pestañas To burn one`s eyelashes To burn the midnight oil. To cram to cram for exams
Hijo de la gata, ratones mata son of the cat kills rats Like father, like son like father like son
No van por ahi los tiros The shots aren`t going that way barking up the wrong tree barking up the wrong tree
Fumarse una clase To smoke oneself a class To skip a class fumarse una clase
Irsele a alguien la lengua To make a slip of the tongue Speak without thinking slip of the tongue
Pon los pies sobre la tierra Put your feet on the ground Come down to earth feet on the ground
La sopa boba Crazy soup Life on Easy Street easy street
El dia de arreglo de cuentas The day of settling accounts Day of reckoning judgement day
Llevar en palmas To carry with palm trees To treat like a king, pamper
Con las manos en la masa With the hands in the dough Red-handed caught red-handed
Ponerse las botas To put one`s boots on To make a killing boots
Huir del fuego y caer en las brasas To flee from the fire and fall into the coals From the frying pan into the fire from the frying pan into the fire
La despidada de soltero Sending off of the single man Stag party stag party
Darle a uno una buena lejia To give someone a good dose of bleach To give someone a good scolding bleach
Hacer mil maromas para To do a thousand acrobatic tricks in order to To go to a lot of trouble to, to spare no effort to acrobatics
Bajale de crema a tus tacos Decrease the cream in your tacos Don`t exaggerate tacos
Estar al loro To be at the parrot To pay attention, be attentive, be up to date parrot
Criado(a) a lo bruto raised in a brutish way Brought up in a barn brought up in a barn
Ser plato de segunda mesa To be second-table dish To play second fiddle violinist
Jugar con dos barajas To play with two decks To cheat, act with duplicity two decks of cards
Cantar de plano To sing clearly To spill the beans spilled the beans
Echar agua al mar To throw water into the sea To be pointless water
Con los brazos cruzados With arms crossed Twiddling one`s thumbs twiddling thumbs
Marcando ocupado Dialling the busy signal Not understanding anything out of it
Encendersele el bombillo To have the lightbulb turned on To get a brilliant idea light bulb idea
Más feo que el pecado Uglier than the sin As ugly as sin ugly as sin
Hacer su santa voluntad To do one`s holy will To do as one pleases saint of the day
Por los buenas o por las malas For the good or the bad One way or another good bad and ugly
No saber ni papa de Not to know even a potato about To know nothing about Mr Potato
Caer chuzos de punta To rain sharp spears To rain cats and dogs
Caer chuzos de punta
Tragarle a uno la tierra To be swallowed by the earth To disappear into nowhere earth
No cerrar la puerta To not close the door to not cut down on choices/options, or, not to burn one`s bridges burning bridge
Quedar a la altura de su zapatilla To remain at the height of one`s slipper To be a failure slippers
Contigo ni a China me voy I`m not even going to China with you You`re impossible travel to China
Andar de Herodes a Pilato To walk from Herod to Pilate To go from bad to worse pontius pilate
Ser un espantapájaro To be a scarecrow Ugly as sin scarecrow
Tener mal templada la guitarra To have one's guitar badly tuned. To be in a bad mood bad mood
Ser del montón To be of the heap No great shakes, nothing to write home about no great shakes
Llover sobre mojado To rain over the wetness It never rains but it pours. it never rains but it pours
Ser mas del campo que las amapolas To be more from the country than the poppies To be a hick poppies in flanders fields
Estar entre la espada y la pared To be between the sword and the wall To be caught between a rock and a hard place rock and a hard place
Como pez en el agua Like a fish in the sea To be in one`s element like a fish in the sea
Un viento de mil demonios A wind of a thousand demons A howling gale viento de mil demonios
Estar de veinticinco alfileres To be of twenty-five pins To be dressed to kill dressed to kill
Tener angel To have an angel to have charm, to be charming rafael's angels
Darle perro a uno To give someone a dog To stand someone up, to break a date give someone a dog
Largar a otro el mochuelo To pass the owl on to someone else To pass the buck pass the buck
Dar en un hueso To hit a bone To hit a snag to hit a snag
Flipar en colores To flip colours To be totally amazed flipar en colores
Parecerse como dos gotas de agua To look like two drops of water To look like two peas in a pod two peas in a pod
Tener un tornillo flojo To have a loose screw To be crazy to be crazy
El mundo es un pañuelo The world is a handkerchief It`s a small world it`s a small world
Toda va viento en popa Everything goes wind at the stern All is going well all is going well
Dejar a uno en la estacada To leave someone in the stockade To leave someone in the lurch leave you in the lurch
No es cosa del otro mundo It`s not anything from another world It`s nothing to write home about nothing to write home about
Decirle a alguien cuatro verdades To tell someone four truths To give someone a piece of one`s mind to give someone a piece of your mind
Coger a alguien con las manos en la masa To catch someone with his or her hands in the dough To catch someone red-handed to catch someone red-handed
Costar un ogo de la cara To cost an eye of the face To cost an arm and a leg to cost an arm and a leg
Aquello fue llegar y besar el santo That was arriving and kissing the saint It was like taking candy from a baby taking candy from a baby
Andar pisando huevos To walk stepping on eggs To tread on thin ice to tread on thin ice
Venir con músicas To come with music To tell tall tales tall things
Reir con risa de conejo To laugh with the laughter of a rabbit To force a laugh to force a laugh
Empezar la casa por el tejado To start building the house at the roof To put the cart before the horse to put the cart before the horse
Ir al grano To go to the seed Get to the point to get to the point
Faltarle a uno un tornillo to have a screw missing To be nuts to be nuts
Cortar el bacalao To cut the codfish To rule the roost rule the roost
No hay mal que por bien no venga There is not badly that by well come not Every cloud has a silver lining every cloud has a silver lining
Tirar las frutas frescas con las pochas Throwing the fresh fruits with the green beans To throw the baby out with the bathwater don`t throw baby out with bathwater
Nadie esta contento con su suerte Nobody is content with his luck the grass is always greener on the other side the grass is always greener on the other side
A lo hecho pecho To it fact chest It`s no use crying over spilt milk no use crying over spilt milk
Mas vale prevenir que curar More valuable to prevent than cure Better safe than sorry better safe than sorry
No hay que vender la piel del oso (antes de cazarlo) Don't sell the the bear skin before hunting it Don`t count your chickens (before they are hatched) don't count your chickens
Una puntada a tiempo ahorra ciento A stitch in times saves hundred A stitch in time saves nine a stitch in time saves nine
Estar hasta en la sopa To be even in the soup There's no getting away from him
Estar hasta en la sopa
No hay tiempo como el presente   There's no time like the present there's no time like the present
Caerse de su burro To fall from your donkey To admit your mistake
Caerse de su burro
Hay cuatro gatos There are four cats There's hardly anyone
Hay cuatro gatos
Estar como boca de lobo To be like a wolf's mouth To be pitch dark
Estar como boca de lobo
Darle perro a alguien To give someone a dog To stand someone up (on a date)
Darle perro a alguien
Cuando las ranas críen pelo When frogs grow hair When pigs might fly
Cuando las ranas críen pelo
No oír ni el vuelo de una mosca To not even hear a fly flying You could hear a pin drop No oír ni el vuelo de una mosca

Mas vale pajaro en mano que ciento volando

A bird in the hand is more valuable than a hundred flying A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush a bird in the hand
A quien madruga Dios lo ayuda To whom rises early God helps him

It`s the early bird that catches the worm.

Early bed early to rise (makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise)

early bird catches worm
mas vale mana que fuerza more value brain than strength brain is better than brawn brain better than brawn
No se gano Zamora en una hora

You don`t win Zamora in an hour

(Zamora is a Spanish town where there was a battle)

Rome wasn`t built in a day Rome not built in a day
Ojos que no ven, corazon que no siente Eyes that don`t see, heart that doesn`t feel out of sight, out of mind out of sight out of mind

Nunca llueve a gusto de todos


Lo que a uno cura a otro mata

It never rains to the liking of all


what to one priest another kills

One man`s meat is another man`s poison ones man meat is another mans poison
Antes de hablar pensar Before speaking think Think before you speak think before you speak
Lo que no cuesta dinero,siempre es bueno That which costs nothing, always is good The best things in life are free best things in life are free
El que tiene boca se equivoca The one that has mouth is mistaken We all make mistakes we all make mistakes
Lo que siembres cosecharas quien siembra vientos recoge tempestades What sowings harvested who sows winds collects storms As you sow, so shall you reap as you sow so shall you reap
Quien a hierro mata, a hierro muere Who to iron kills, to iron dies They that live by the sword die by the sword live by sword die by sword
Aunque la mona se vista de seda mona se queda Although the monkey itself monkey silk view remains You can`t make a silk purse out of a sow`s ear silk purse out of sows ear
Nadie sabe lo que vale el agua hasta que falta Nobody knows what is worth the water until he lacks You never know what you`ve got till it`s gone never know what you had
En el peligro se conoce el amigo In the danger the friend is known A friend in need is a friend indeed friend in need is a friend indeed
En boca cerrada no entran moscas Flies don`t enter a closed mouth If you keep your mouth shut, you won`t put your foot in it keep your mouth shut
lo barato sale caro cheap it leaves expensive If you buy cheaply, you pay dearly lo barato sale caro
Al perro que duerme, no lo despiertes

To the dog that sleeps it do not awake


Let sleeping dogs lie let sleeping dogs lie
la nesesidad hace maestros the necessity makes teachers necessity is the mother of invention necessity is the mother of invention
Loro viejo no aprende a hablar Old parrot does not learn to speak You can`t teach an old dog new tricks you can`t teach an old dog new tricks
El que rie ultimo,rie mejor He who laughs last, laughs best He who laughs last laughs longest he who laughs last laughs longest
El sapo a la sapa tienela por guapa The male toad to the female toad is considered good-looking Beauty is in the eye of the beholder beauty in eye of beholder
Hablando del rey de Roma - (y el que se asoma) Talking of the king of Rome - (and he appears) talk of the devil - (and the devil appears) talk of the devil
Mas vale tarde que nunca More value late than never better late than never better late than never
Si quieres ser bien servido, sirvete a ti mismo If you want to be well served, serve you to you same If you want a thing done well, do it yourself if you want a thing done well, do it yourself
El tiempo es oro Time is gold Time is money time is money
Reír con risa de conejo To laugh like a rabbit To force a laugh
Reír con risa de conejo

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