If you want to learn Spanish it might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the meaning of these commonly used phrases, for if the flies.
Anyone who grew up around Spanish speakers might be used to hearing these idioms, but when you stop and think about it their literal translations don't make any sense. For those trying to learn Spanish it might complicate the process if they take any of these literally.
So for the sake of all those future Spanish speakers out there we've put together a list of some of these commonly used, nonsensical phrases. Since the Spanish language varies so much from region to region these could change somewhat or be unfamiliar to some, depending on their country of origin.
Check out some nonsensical Spanish phrases below and let us know which ones you'd add in the comments!
Por si las moscas
Literal: For if the flies
Used as: Just in case.
Example: El día está nublado, me voy a llevar el paraguas por si las moscas.
Translation: It's a cloudy day, I'm taking an umbrella just in case.
Poner las pilas
Literal: Put batteries in
Used: Get ready / Wake up / Be alert
Example: Si quieres que te asciendan te tienes que poner las pilas.
Translation: If you want that promotion you have to put in your batteries.
Montar cachos / Poner los cuernos
Literal: To mount/put horns on someone
Used as: To cheat or be unfaithful.
Ex: Terminé con mi ex-novio porque me puso los cuernos.
Translation: I broke up with my ex boyfriend because he cheated on me.
No tener dos dedos de frente
Literal: Not having two fingers of forehead
Used as: He/She is not smart.
Ex: No pasó el examen porque no tiene dos dedos de frente.
Translation: He failed the test because he’s not smart.
Sacar de quicio
Literal: Take out of the doorjamb or frame.
Used as: Exasperate.
Example: Me saca de quicio cuando mis alumnos no me prestan atención.
Translation: It exasperates me when my students don't pay attention.
Sacar la piedra
Literal: Take the rock out (of someone)
Used as: Frustrate / Upset / Anger
Example: Su tono de voz me sacó la piedra
Translation: Her tone of voice really angered me.
Tomar el pelo
Literal: Grab or drink the hair
Used as: To kid or fool someone. Equivalent to pulling someone's leg.
Example: Mi hija me estaba tomando el pelo cuando me dijo que se hizo un tatuaje.
Translation: My daughter was pulling my leg when she told me she’d gotten a tattoo.
Echar el muerto
Literal: throw the deceased
Used as: To put the blame or the responsibility on someone else.
Example: Yo no rompí la lámpara, no me eches ese muerto a mi.
Translation: I didn’t break the lamp, don’t put that on me.
Literal: What wave?
Used as: What’s up?
Poner la mano/las manos en el fuego
Literal: Put your hands in the fire
Figurative: Be 100% sure of something or have complete faith in someone.
Example: Pongo las manos en el fuego que él no contó mi secreto.
Translation: I’m 100% sure he didn’t divulge my secret.
Le zumba el mango
Literal: He flings the mango
Used as: Commonly used as an expression of shock or incredulity.
Example: Le zumba el mango que llegó desde hace un mes y no me ha llamado
Translation: I can't believe he's been here for a month and he hasn't called.
Tirar/Echar la casa por la ventana
Literal: Throw the house out the window
Used as: To spare no expense or go all out.
Example: Decidieron tirar la casa por la ventana para la boda de su hija.
Translation: They decided to spare no expense for their daughter's wedding.
Volverse un ocho
Literal: Become an eight
Figurative: To complicate or confuse oneself or a situation.
Ex: Se volvió un ocho tratando de explicar la materia para el examen.
Translation: He confused himself trying to explain what was going on the exam.
Let us know what other phrases like these you'd add to the list in the comments below!
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