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Spanish sayings

Spanish Sayings, Idioms and Fixed Expressions - From Spain

People use Spanish sayings, idioms, and fixed expressions in their everyday life. For this reason, if you ever visit a Spanish speaking country expect to hear them at any time.

Here, I am going to show you the most common ones people use in Spain.

Spanish Sayings, Idioms and Fixed Expressions – Definitions

First, I will start with some definitions.

According to R. A. E  “dicho o refrán” is: “Dicho agudo y sentencioso de uso común”. In English, they call it saying or proverb.

On the other hand, “modismo o expresión idiomática” is: “Expresión fija, privativa de una lengua, cuyo significado no se deduce de las palabras que la forman”. Also known as idiom in English.

In addition, “frase hecha” would correspond to fixed expressions.

Some tips

In my experience, all these sentences are one of the most difficult things to learn when studying a new language.

For example, idioms do not follow regular grammar rules. In addition, their meanings cannot be predicted from the meaning of its individual words.

For this reason, if you try to translate an idiom literally, you could say something funny and sometimes inappropriate sentences.

One way you can get familiar with these sentences is by using them regularly. By doing so, they will become part of your daily vocabulary. So, challenge yourself and start using them!

Most Common Spanish sayings, Idioms and Fixed Expressions

The following list will help you to get familiar with some of the most common Spanish sayings, idioms, and fixed expressions.

Al mal tiempo, buena cara
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade
A quien madruga Dios le ayuda
The early bird gets the worm
A toda pastilla
Full throttle
Full speed
Costar un ojo de la cara
To cost an arm and a leg
To cost a pretty penny
Darle gas
To put pedal to the metal
To step on the gas
To step on it
Dar por sentado
To take for granted
Dime con quien andas, y te diré quien eres
A man is known by the company he keeps
Echar un cable
Echar una mano
To give a hand
To lend a hand
El mundo es un pañuelo
It is a small world
El saber no ocupa lugar

You can never know too much
El tiempo lo cura todo
Time heals all wounds
Estar al tanto
To be up to date
Estar de mala leche
To be in a bad mood
Estar de muerte
To be out of this world
Estar en el quinto pino
To be in the boonies/boondocks
To be out in the sticks
Estar en la edad del pavo
To be at puberty, adolescence or an awkward age
Ir pisando huevos
To drag your feet
Liarla parda
To make a complete mess
Más vale malo conocido que bueno por conocer
Better the devil you know than the devil you don't
Más vale prevenir que curar
Better safe than sorry
Meterse en un lío
Meterse en líos
To get into trouble
No hay dos sin tres
Misfortunes always come in threes
Pasar factura
Take its toll on
To catch up with
Ser pan comido
To be a piece of cake
Ser un membrillo
To be gullible
To be silly/stupid
Ser un plasta
To be a pain in the neck
Tener mala leche
To act in bad faith
Ya pueden decir misa
To preach to the choir

Final Thoughts

Hope you enjoyed the post.

I recommend you to practice with the audios here and try to use the vocabulary in your conversations.

If you want, I can help you practice with these expressions by using them while having a conversation during our online Spanish conversation classes.

Now, I would like to hear from you.

  • Which expression you like the most?
  • Do you know any other expressions?

Leave your answers below, in the comment section.

17 Tips to Becoming Conversationally Fluent in Spanish


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