Sunday, September 18, 2011

A otro perro con ese hueso.

Give that bone to some other dog.

This is something that Spaniards might say when they do not believe an explanation that someone has given them. We might say 'Come off it', 'Don't give me that' or 'tell that to the marines'.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Monto un circo y me crecen los enanos. 

The literal translation of this Spanish proverb sounds stupid. It is ‘Mount a circus and I grow dwarf’.

It simply means, ‘to get a lot of bad luck’. An English proverb with similar connotations is ‘it never rains but it pours’ or even ‘misfortunes usually come in large numbers’.

Another Spanish proverb

A muertos y a idos no hay más amigos.

To the dead and gone no more friends.

It suggests that death or absence of a person can cool the friendship, to the point of forgetting their bond. 'Long absent, soon forgotten' would appear to be an equivalent English proverb.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Another phrase - mear fuera del tiesto.

Mear fuera del tiesto.

Piss off the pot.

In most Spanish regions, a 'tiesto' is a vessel of clay used to raise plants. In Castille the word is also a urinal. So 'fuera del tiesto' literally means pissing but missing (the toilet). However the Spanish use the phrase to mean 'miss the point completely' - in other words 'get hold of the wrong end of the stick' or 'bark up the wrong tree'.

Another Spanish phrase - Vamos al grano

Vamos al grano.
Come to the point.

Let's get down to the nitty gritty and cut to the chase - 'vamos al grano' means 'come to the point' - so let's get down to brass tacks and stop beating about the bush!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A falta de pan, buenas son tortas.         

If theres no bread, cakes will do. 

Whenever we are hungry or suffer misfortune, we should be content with whatever is offered and settle for the next best thing - 'beggars can't be choosers'.

Alternative versions of the proverb:
 A falta de pan, galletas.     If there's no bread, have biscuits.
A falta de pan,las tortas son buenas.      For lack of bread, the cakes are good.

Another Spanish proverb

Mucho ruido y pocas nueces.

Spanish/English dictionaries translate this as ‘much ado about nothing’. 
The word-by-word translation is ‘much noise and few nuts’. 
Anyway, the proverb means making a great deal of fuss over nothing of importance.
Hacer la visita del médico. 
Make the doctor's visit.

 This expression has nothing to do with visiting a doctor. It is usually used by mothers and grandmothers when paying a visit to someone for the minimum time possible to do what is needed – like turning up at a friend’s house to deliver something, a quick “hello” and then leaving immediately. The nearest English expression would be ‘Make a flying visit’!.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

No hables de la soga en casa del ahorcado.

No hables de la soga en casa del ahorcado.
Don't speak of the noose in the hanged man's house. 
This proverb advises us not to talk about people’s problems in their own home. More generally, it suggests that we beware of speaking about touchy subjects at inappropriate times or in inappropriate places.

Another Spanish phrase...

Desnudar a un santo para vestir a otro.
Undressing one saint to dress another.
English equivalent phrase ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’.

Another proverb from the Spanish speaking world

Camarón que se duerme, se lo lleva la corriente.

The shrimp that falls asleep gets carried away by the current.

This proverb reminds us that if we are not alert we will lose an opportunity. An English equivalent could be 'you snooze, you lose'. So, if you want to get ahead, don't rest on your laurels because time and tide wait for no man.

Friday, September 2, 2011

El mundo es como un pepino...

El mundo es como un pepino: hoy lo tienes en la mano, mañana en el culo.
The world is like a pepper; today you have it in your hand, tomorrow up your backside.
This is a Mexican saying. A number of Mexican sayings are not exactly PC - probably why I like them!
English equivalent: Life has its ups and downs.

A todos les llega su momento de gloria.

A todos les llega su momento de gloria.
To everyone will come their moment of glory.
English equivalent: ‘every dog has its day’.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A cada puerco le llega su San Martín.

A cada puerco le llega su San Martín.
Every pig gets his Saint Martin.
In Spain, the time for killing pigs is on or about the festival of St. Martin - about the middle of November. 
English equivalent:  'everyone gets his comeuppance in the end'.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Spanish Proverb: A Dios rogando y con el mazo dando.

Translation: To God begging and with the mallet giving.

The interpretation of this Spanish proverb according to the Real Academia de la Lengua is: 'pray to God but also do your part'.

Some Spanish proverb web sites suggest that an equivalent English proverb would be ‘God helps those who help themselves’.

Try telling that to the shopkeepers whose premises were looted in the London riots of 2011!

Spanish Expressions

This blog will consist of a series of postings of popular Spanish sayings including proverbs (refranes) and idiomatic phrases (modismos).
Please feel free to add your comments.