Spanish/Idioms

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Idioms[edit]

English Spanish Literal
The straw that broke the camel's back La gota que derramó el vaso The drop that caused the glass to spill over
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree De tal palo tal astilla A splinter is like the wood it came from
A chip off the old block De tal palo tal astilla A chip is like the stick it came from
Making a mountain out of a molehill Hacer una montaña de un grano de arena Make a mountain out of a grain of sand
Clothes don't make the man El habito no hace al monje The habit doesn't make the monk
To cost an arm and a leg Costar un ojo de la cara To cost one eye of your face
Call a spade a spade Llamar al pan pan y al vino vino Call bread bread and wine wine
Something smells fishy Huele a gato encerrado It smells like a caged cat
To be on the fence Nadar entre dos aguas Swim between two bodies of water
To be in a jam Estar metido en un lio To be in a jam
In a nutshell En pocas palabras In a few words
It's raining cats and dogs Llueve a cántaros It is raining pitchers
To be in the driver's seat Llevar las riendas Holding the reins
Out of the horse's mouth De muy buena fuente From a very good source
Day in, day out De sol a sol From sun to sun
To butter up Estar de barbero To be a bootlicker
Stick to one's guns No dar el brazo a torcer Not allow to have your arm twisted
To be hard pressed Estar en un aprieto To be in a predicament
If I only knew! Quien lo supiera! Who would know?
To hit the road Largarse Leave or get lost
Learn the ropes Aprender el negocio To learn the business
Besides the point No viene al caso It doesn't come (touch) the case
As if there were no tomorrow Como si se fuera a acabar el mundo As if the world was coming to an end
Alive and Kicking Vivo y Coleando Alive and wagging
Cool as a cucumber Fresco como una lechuga Fresh as a lettuce
Fighting like cats and dogs Llevarse como perro y gato Fighting constantly
My point is A lo que me refiero What I'm referring to
Better late than never Mas vale tarde que nunca Now is better than never
Stop the car Para el coche Stop the car/cart
To each his own Cada loco con su tema Every lunatic has his own subject (theme)
You make me crazy Me vuelves loco(a) You make me crazy
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush Más vale un pájaro en mano que cien volando One bird in hand is worth more than a hundred flying
A wild goose chase Buscando la cuadratura de un circulo Searching the square of a circle
To know it like the back of one's hand Conocerlo como la palma de la mano I know it like the palm of my hand
It is the early bird that gets the worm A quien madruga, Dios le ayuda God helps he who wakes up early
Deliver the goods Cumplir con lo prometido Fulfill a promise
Brain is better than brawn Más vale maña que fuerza Skill is worth more than power
It goes without saying Es cosa sabida It's a known thing
To spill the beans Soltar la sopa Spill the soup
Rome was not built in a day No se ganó Zamora en una hora Zamora was not won in an hour
Out of sight, out of mind Ojos que no ven, corazón que no siente Eyes that do not see, heart that does not feel
To throw in the towel Darse por vencido To consider oneself defeated
The royal treatment Trato a cuerpo de rey Fit for the body of a king
One man's meat is another man's poison Lo que a uno cura, a otro mata That that cures one, kills another
To go down the drain Irse por un tubo Gone in a pipe
Fat chance! Ni lo sueñes Don't even dream about it
It is beyond me No entiendo ni jota I don't understand even the (letter) j
You can't please everyone Nunca llueve a gusto de todos It never rains to everyone's liking
Think before you speak Antes de hablar, pensar Before speaking, think
Hold your horses! Calma, no hay prisa! Calm down, there is no rush
To be daydreaming Andar en la luna To walk on the moon
The best things in life are free Lo que no cuesta dinero siempre es bueno That which does not cost money is always good
It doesn't ring a bell No me suena It doesn't resonate
It's not a laughing matter No es cosa de juego This is not a matter of play
We all make mistakes El que tiene boca se equivoca He who has a mouth makes mistakes
To be mad as a hatter Estar loco de remate To be crazy at the top
You reap what you sow Se cosecha lo que se siembra What one sows, one harvests
To be caught red-handed Con las manos en la masa With the hands in the dough
They that live by the sword shall die by the sword Quien a hierro mata, a hierro muere He who kills by iron, dies by iron
You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear Aunque la mona se vista de seda, mona se queda Even if the monkey dresses in silk, she' is still be a monkey
Give the lowdown Poner al corriente Bring up to speed
At the drop of a hat Al instante Instantly
You never know what you have until it's gone Nadie sabe lo que vale el agua hasta que falta Nobody knows how valuable water is until it's missing
A friend in need is a friend indeed En el peligro se conoce el amigo In danger the friend is known
To be in seventh heaven Estar en la gloria To be in the glory
If you keep your mouth shut, you won't put your foot in it En bocas cerradas no entran moscas In closed mouths flies don't enter
If you buy cheaply, you pay dearly Lo barato sale caro What's cheap ends up expensive
Cross the t's and dot the i's Sin faltar una coma Without missing one comma
For the hell of it Por puro gusto For pure pleasure (whim)
Necessity is the mother of invention La necesidad agudiza el ingenio Necessity sharpens ingenuity
Water under the bridge Es agua pasada It's water that passed
To look the other way Hacerse la vista gorda To make oneself a fat sight
Let sleeping dogs lie Al perro que duerme, no lo despiertes Don't wake the dog that sleeps
You can't teach an old dog new tricks El loro viejo no aprende a hablar The old parrot doesn't learn to talk
Look before you leap Antes que te cases, mira lo que haces Before you marry, look what you do
Uncharted waters Abrir brecha To open (break) a gap
It serves him right Se lo merece She (or he or it) deserves it
To be on cloud nine Andar en las nubes Walk in the clouds
You're pulling my leg A otro perro con ese hueso To another dog with that bone
Flesh and blood De carne y hueso Of flesh and bone
Is the coast clear? ¿Hay moros en la costa? Are there Moors (Arabs) on the coast?
To ruffle someone's feathers Fastidiar a alguien To annoy someone
Don't pull my leg No me tomes el pelo Don't pull my hair
Pedal to the metal A la carrera At a race pace
To walk on air Rebozar de felicidad To be enveloped by happiness
Birds of a feather flock together Dime con quien andas y te diré quien eres Tell me with whom you walk and I'll tell you who you are
Go to pieces Desmoronarse To crumble apart
Hit it off Hacer migas Make breadcrumbs
To have sticky fingers Tener inclinación a robar To be inclined to steal
To let off steam Desahogarse To vent
It is nothing to brag about No es nada de otro mundo It nothing of another world
All is quiet on the Potomac La paz reina en Varsovia Peace reigns in Warsaw
Talking a mile a minute Hablar a mil por hora To speak a thousand (words) an hour
To sleep on it Consultar la almohada To consult the pillow
Not beat around the bush Ir al grano To go to the grain
To be fit as a fiddle Estar más sano que una pera To be healthier than a pear