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Spanish sayings

Common Spanish Sayings, Idioms, and Fixed Expressions You Need to Know

People use Spanish sayings, idioms, and fixed expressions in their everyday life. It is something that connects them with the culture and people.

Spain is no different. If you ever visit a Spanish-speaking country, expect to hear them at any time.

Spaniards use so many Spanish expressions in every possible situation, that it will take you some time to get used to them. But don’t throw in the towel just yet!

Now, let us show you the most common Spanish sayings, idioms, and fixed expressions people use in Spain and why are these so popular.

Spanish Sayings, Idioms, and Fixed Expressions – Definitions

Anywhere you go in Spain, you won’t be able to avoid hearing Spanish sayings or expressions. The Spanish language is made of it and the more you master the language, the more you will become aware of different Spanish idioms and sayings.

Now, before we dive into some really interesting Spanish sayings, idioms, and fixed expressions, let’s start with definitions. What is a saying?

According to RAE, the dicho or refrán is a short, concise commonly used expression. In English, we call it a saying or a proverb.

But that’s not all the Spanish language has to offer. Did you hear about modismos? The modismo or expresión idiomática is a fixed expression, exclusive to a language, whose meaning is not deduced from the words that form it. Also known as an idiom in English.

Finally, there are also frases hechas that correspond to a set of words that make up a statement and have a fixed meaning.

We get if all of this sounds confusing but as usual, once you get a gist of it, it’s all very natural.

Spanish Sayings, Idioms, and Fixed Expressions

How to Memorize Spanish Sayings and Expressions

In our experience, all these Spanish sayings, idioms, and fixed expressions are one of the most difficult things to learn when studying a new language.

For example, Spanish idioms do not follow regular grammar rules. Therefore, their meanings cannot be predicted from the meaning of the individual words that form them.

For this reason, if you try to translate an idiom literally, chances are you will say something funny and sometimes inappropriate.

But there is a way you can get familiar with Spanish expressions and sayings. And it’s by using them regularly. In time they will become a part of your daily vocabulary. So, challenge yourself and start using Spanish sayings today!

Message on the Wall

Most Common Spanish Sayings, Idioms, and Fixed Expressions

Some Spanish idioms and expressions are really funny, as you will see. Don’t be surprised when you see their equivalent in English, because many of them have it.

If you know some Spanish or you’re learning it, we are sure some of the following Spanish sayings, idioms, and fixed expressions will sound familiar.

Check out the following list we gathered with some of the most common Spanish idioms, sayings, and expressions you will either like or laugh at.

We also included audio, so you can hear how these Spanish sayings are pronounced.

Al mal tiempo, buena cara
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade
A quien madruga Dios le ayuda
The early bird catches 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 quién 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

Was it too confusing for you? We hope not.

Anyway, once you memorize Spanish sayings, idioms, and fixed expressions and start using them in your spoken language, it means you mastered the language.

Don’t beat yourself up if at first, you can’t memorize more than a few. It’s normal! Time and practice are the only factors that matter and, as we all know, learning a new language or a skill is a process, after all.

In the meantime, know that none of these Spanish expressions have a literate meaning. On the contrary! Their figurative meaning is what makes these Spanish idioms so popular (and funny).

Feel free to use the audio we provided to practice these Spanish expressions during your online Spanish conversation classes or with a friend.

Now, tell us:

  • What Spanish idioms did you like the most?
  • Which one sounds funny to you?
  • Do you know other Spanish expressions that don’t have an English equivalent?

We can’t wait to read your comments below!

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