Our selection of 5 very common Spanish sayings that make no sense in English unless you understand the meaning -In which case you will realize that we have more in common that you might think-
5 common Spanish sayings that make no sense in English
- 1. “Culo ve, culo quiere” / “Ass seen, ass wanted”
- 2. “De perdidos, al río” / “From lost, to the river”
- 3. “Mal de muchos, consuelo de tontos” / “Despair of many, consolation for dummies”
- 4. “A perro flaco todo son pulgas” / “To a skinny dog, all fleas”
- 5. A lo hecho, pecho” / “To the done, chest”
1. “Culo ve, culo quiere” / “Ass seen, ass wanted”
This Spanish saying is used to condemn jealous people. The meaning of it is that, despite what someone might own, once they see someone else with something new, or better, they will immediately want that new thing.
This Spanish expression is mostly used with children playing, because once a kid sees a toy another kid is playing with, they will only want to play with the toy they don’t currently have.
2. “De perdidos, al río” / “From lost, to the river”
This saying refers specifically to dangerous situations. When you have initiated something, you must follow through regardless of the consequences.
It is believed the expression was originally used in battles. If the army was almost defeated and cornered against the river, the only thing left for the soldiers to do was jump into the river no matter how dangerous it was, as the alternative was almost certainly death.
However, the most common use these days is far from the battlefield as it is mostly used in drinking situations. Someone might have drunk way more than they should, but when asked if they are up for another round they may choose to really go for it saying: “¡De perdidos al río!”.
3. “Mal de muchos, consuelo de tontos” / “Despair of many, consolation for dummies”
The meaning of this one is that just because the misfortune affecting you might have occurred to many others, you will not feel any better about it.
However, it is believed that originally this saying was “Mal de muchos, consuelo es,” meaning: “Despair of many, consolation is.”
We can only assume that we are more difficult to comfort these days, and definitely much more judgy!
4. “A perro flaco todo son pulgas” / “To a skinny dog, all fleas”
Misfortunes seem to accumulate in those less fortunate. The “skinny dog” represents people in a vulnerable or defeated position and the fleas are the problems.
As in, the dog was already hungry, and therefore skinny, and now it has to deal with the fleas too.
5. A lo hecho, pecho” / “To the done, chest”
This disconcerting yet very popular Spanish phrase says that once you have done something, you must accept the consequences, especially if it didn’t go as expected.
It is used to express both pride if the result was good, and acceptance if an action brought about unexpected, bad consequences, or caused any harm.
The second part of it, “pecho” comes from a longer expression, “sacar pecho,” which literally means to stick your chest out, as in, being proud of oneself in a similar way to “chin up”.
These are only a few of the many very common Spanish sayings people use on a daily bases in Spain. Stay tuned for more!
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