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25 Most Common Spanish Idioms

Haven't learned many Spanish idioms? Está bien, "it's better late than never." Some of these idioms will sound weird at first, but don't "throw in the towell," trust me, "it's a piece of cake".

These idioms and more will be in this article.

The goal is to send you away knowing the most common Spanish idioms. I chose these idioms carefully, only picking the ones that are used and understood in every Spanish speaking country.

So, are you ready to add some flavor and elegance to your Spanish?

¡Vamos! (Let's go)

Más vale tarde que nunca: Better late than never

man enjoying one friend of his with a guitar

Example sentence:

"Me hubiera gustado terminarlo antes de hoy, pero más vale tarde que nunca, ¿no?"

(I would have liked to have finished it before today, but better late than never, right?"

Estar entre la espada y la pared: To be between a rock and a hard place (in a difficult situation)

woman sitting with her back up against a wall

Example sentence:

"Al tomar esa decisión me puso entre la espada y la pared"

(Making that decision put me between a rock and a hard place)

No hay mal que por bien no venga: Every cloud has a silver lining

two old people sitting together laughing

Literal Meaning: There is no bad that good does come for

Example sentence:

"No te preocupes por este retroceso, no hay mal que por bien no venga"

(Don't worry to much about this setback, every cloud has a silver lining)

Matar dos pájaros de un tiro: To kill two birds with one stone

two trophies next to one basketball

Literal Meaning: To kill two birds with one shot

Example sentence:

"No quería salir esta noche, pero si lo hago podré matar dos pájaros de un tiro"

(I didn't want to go out tonight, but if I do it I'll be able to kill two birds with one stone)

Tomar el pelo: To pull someone's leg (to tease or joke)

3 buddies joking with eachother

Literal Meaning: To take the hair

Example sentence:

"No te creo, ¿me estás tomando el pelo?"

(I don't believe you, are you pulling my leg?)

Más vale prevenir que lamentar: Better safe than sorry

man putting gloves on his hands

Literal Meaning: Better to prevent than regret

Example sentence:

"Deberíamos usar guantes, más vale prevenir que lamentar"

(We should use gloves, better safe than sorry)

Dar en el clavo: To hit the nail on the head (to be correct)

a hammer putting a nail in a piece of wood

Literal Meaning: To give in the key

Example sentence:

"Guau, bien hecho, ¡lo diste en el clavo!"

(Wow, well done, you hit the nail on the head!)

Cada loco con su tema: To each his own

a group of interacial friends enjoying football

Literal Meaning: Every crazy with his subject

Example sentence:

"Esos futbolistas trabajan tan duro, bueno, cada loco con su tema"

(Those soccer players work so hard, well, to each his own)

Ser pan comido: To be a piece of cake (easy)

a picture of delicious fresh bread

Literal Meaning: To be eaten bread

Example sentence:

"Las matemáticas son muy faciles para mí, desde que empecé esta clase ha sido pan comido"

(Math is really easy for me, since I started this class it's been a piece of cake)

Estar como pez en el agua: To be in one's element

A picture of a bunch of fish swimming together

Literal Meaning: To be like a fish in the water

Example sentence:

"Él está cómodo aquí - está como pez en el agua"

(He is comfortable here - he's in his element)

Camarón que se duerme, se lo lleva la corriente: You snooze, you lose

a picture of a cute cat sleeping on a couch

Literal Meaning: Shrimp that sleeps, gets taken by the current

Example sentence:

"Debías despertar a las 5, pero bueno, camarón que se duerme, se lo lleva la corriente"

(You should have woken up at 5, but well, you snooze, you lose)

A caballo regalado no se le mira el diente: Don't look a gift horse in the mouth

photo of a woman hugging a horse

Example sentence:

"Lo importante es que pensó en ti, a caballo regalado no se le mira el diente"

(The important thing is that she thought of you, don't look a gifted horse in the mouth)

Ser un cero a la izquierda: To be a nobody (not important)

two sad people looking off into the distance

Literal Meaning: To be a zero on the left

Example sentence:

"Ese wey es un cero a la izquerda, no me importa lo que dice"

(That dude is a loser, I don't care what he says)

Echar agua al mar. - To throw water into the sea (meaningless effort).

a picture of the ocean from above

Example sentence:

"Déjalo así, estás echando agua al mar"

(Let it go, you're throwing water into the sea)

Estar en las mismas. - To be in the same boat.

picture of two woman in the same row boat

Literal Meaning: To be in the same(s)

Example sentence:

"Yo te entiendo, hoy en día estamos en las mismas"

(I understand you, these days were in the same boat)

Costar un ojo de la cara. - To cost an arm and a leg.

picture of a watch salesman showing off an expensive watch

Literal Meaning: To cost an eye from the face

Example sentence:

"No puedo comprar un nuevo caro, eso me costaría un ojo de la cara"

(I can't buy a new car, that would cost me an arm and a leg)

Tirar la toalla. - To throw in the towel.

a woman with her hands up as if to say "I give up"

Example sentence:

"Ya he visto bastante, voy a tirar la toalla, me rindo"

(I have seen enough, I'm throwing in the towel, I give up)

En boca cerrada no entran moscas. - Silence is golden.

a man standing with his eyes and mouth shut, meditating

Literal Meaning: In closed mouth, no flies enter

Example sentence:

"Si no hubieras hablado tanto no tendrías este problems, en boca cerrado no entran moscas"

(If you wouldn't have talked so much you wouldn't have this problem, silence is golden)

Ser la oveja negra. - To be the black sheep.

picture of a bunch of sheep

Buscar una aguja en un pajar. - To look for a needle in a haystack

Example sentence:

"Él siempre ha sido la oveja negra de la familia"

(He has always been the black sheep of the family)

Ser un ave nocturna. - To be a night owl

picture of an owl

Example sentence:

"No voy a dormir hasta las 3, soy un ave nocturna, ya tú sabes eso"

(I am not going to sleep until 3, I'm a night owl, you know that)

Encontrar tu media naranja. - To find your other half

picture of a orange cut into two pieces

Literal Meaning: To find your half orange

Example sentence:

"Ella solo quiere encontrar su media naranja, pero hasta ahora nada ha funcionado"

(She just wants to find her other half, but up until now nothing has worked out)

Más vale pájaro en mano que cien volando. - A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

many birds flying in the sky

Literal Meaning: Worth more (a) bird in hand, than 100 flying

Example sentence:

"Disfruta tu esposa, más vale pájaro en mano que cien volando"

(Enjoy your wife, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush)

Ahogarse en un vaso de agua - To make a bigger problem out of something than is necessary.

a young man freaking out over nothing

Literal Meaning: To drown oneself in a glass of water

Example sentence:

"Cálmate, te estás ahogando en un vaso de agua"

(Calm down, you're drowning yourself in a glass of water)

Ver todo color de rosa - To be overly positive.

a mother and daughter smiling

Literal Meaning: To see everything rose color

Example sentence:

"Esa chica siempre ha visto todo color de rosa"

(That girl has always been overly positive)

La curiosidad mató al gato. - Curiosity killed the cat.

a picture of a curious looking cat

Example sentence:

"Ella no debía haber revisado su cel, la curiosidad mató al gato"

(She shouldn't have had checked his phone, the curiosity killed the cat)


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