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Mala leche

¡Qué Mala Leche Tienes! - Origin and Meaning

Mala Leche


‘Mala leche’ is a Spanish colloquial expression accepted by the Real Academia Española.

People use it to define a person’s character.

Different expressions have developed from this saying, such as ‘tener mala leche’ or ‘estar de mala leche’.

The first one means someone acts in bad faith. However, the second one means that a person is in a bad mood.

  • Este chico tiene muy mala leche, no te juntes con él. → This boy is very mean, don´t hang out with him.
  • Alfredo está de mala leche porque se le rompió el coche. → Alfredo is in a bad mood because his car broke down.


These expressions are based on an old belief, which supports that the personality is affected by the mother’s milk.

In old times, they used to use wet nurses to breastfeed the babies of mothers who could not do such a job due to any reason.

They believed that the wet nurses transmitted their habits and manners to the breastfed baby through the milk.

In this manner, when a grown baby showed any malice, they would blame the ‘the bad milk’ that the baby had nursed.

Consequently, they would also blame the person who had breastfed that baby. Such person had ‘bad milk’.

Final Thoughts

Now, I would like to hear from you. Do you know anybody who has ‘bad milk’? Have you ever ‘estado de mala leche’?

Please leave your answers in the comment section below.

Before you leave, does Spain and its language interest you? Then, you may find our online Spanish classes helpful. With these classes, you will practice your speaking and listening skills with a native speaker from Spain.

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