40 Frequently used Spanish Idioms to Master
Spanish idioms are super important to learn if you want to sound like a native. Along with Spanish Slang and even lists of the most common Spanish vocabulary, they are perhaps the most important things to focus on. Spanish has a rich collection of idioms, or as a native Spanish speaker might say, modismo, lenguaje or locucion, that are used by native speakers to express all manner of concepts and ideas. These however can be challenging for non-native Spanish speakers, as even with an awareness of the literal meanings of the words, only a native speaker will know the true meaning. To speak like a true native Spanish speaker, you will need to master these modismos among others. Below are a selection of 40 Spanish idioms, grouped into 4 broad categories
Spanish Idioms about everyday life:
- Estar como un tren – To look like a train, meaning to look attractive.
- Venir con musicas – to come with music, meaning to tell lies, fabrications, tall tales.
Cuando nieva en Sevilla – When it snows Seville, meaning probably never.
- No poder ver a alguien ni en pintura – Not to be able to see someone, even in a painting, meaning to not be able to stand someone under any circumstance.
Estar frito – To be fried, meaning to be spent, exhausted.
- Destornillarse de risa – To be unscrewed with laughter, to laugh uproariously.
- Buscar el principe azul – To look for the blue prince, meaning to look for prince charming.
- Perder los estribos – To lose one’s stirrups, meaning to lose one’s temper.
- Decirle a alguien cuatro verdades – To tell four truths, meaning to give someone a piece of one’s mind.
- Fumarse una clase – To smoke a class, meaning to skip a class.
Spanish Idioms with animals:
- Caerse de su burro – Literally to fall from one’s donkey, but is used to mean admitting one’s mistake.
- Tener vista de lince -means to have the eyesight of a lynx. Equivalent to the English expression to be or to have an eagle-eyed.
- Ser un gallina – To be a hen, meaning to be a coward.
- Tener mas vidas que un gato – To have more lives than a cat.
- Ser una rata – To be a backstabber, snake in the grass, a betrayer.
- Hay cuatro gatos – There are four cats, meaning there is hardly anyone.
- Estar como una cabra – To be like a goat, meaning to be mad or crazy
- Pagar el pato – To pay for the duck, meaning to have to pay for someone else’s mistake. To be unfairly held responsible
- Ser mas astuto que un zorro – To be smarter cleverer than a fox.
- Cuando las ranas crien pelo – When frogs grow hair, equivalent to the English expression when pigs fly,
Spanish Idioms about food and eating:
- Ser un bombon – To be a bonbon, meaning to be good-looking, easy on the eyes.
- Tomarle el pelo a uno – To pull someone’s hair, equivalent to pulling someone’s leg
- Poner toda la carne en el asador – To put all the meat on the grill/spit, meaning to put all one’s eggs in one basket, all one’s chips on one number
- Llamar al pan pan y al vino vino – To call bread and wine what they are, equivalent to the english expression to call a spade a spade.
- Ir al grano – To to go the seed, meaning to get to the point.
- Comer la papa – To eat a potato, used to mean to eat lunch
- Buscarle pelos al huevo – TO look for hairs on eggs, meaning to nitpick and find issues with everything
- Estar hasta en la sopa – To be in the soup, used to mean there is no escaping someone
- Andar pisando huevos – To walk on eggs, meaning to tread on thin ice
- No importar un pepino – Not to matter a cucumber, meaning to be irrelevant, to not have a care.
Spanish Idioms with the body and the human form:
- No tener pies ni cabeza – To not have head or feet, meaning something senseless, equivalent to without rhyme or reason.
- Costar un ojo de la cara – To cost an eye from your face, meaning to cost much, similar to the expression to cost an arm and a leg.
- Caersele a uno las alas del corazón – To lose the wings of one’s heart, meaning to become discouraged, to lose heart.
- Hincharsele las narices a alguien – To make someone’s nostrils flare, meaning to really upset or enrage someone.
- Sin pelos en la lengua – without any hair on your tongue, meaning to speak plainly and honestly.
- Con la soga al cuello – With the rope around your neck, meaning to be in trouble, under pressure, similar to the expression to be up to one’s neck in a situation.
- Hablar con el corazón en la mano – To speak with one’s heart in hand, meaning to speak sincerely.
- Tener el corazón hecho pedazos – To have one’s heart in pieces, to be heartbroken.
- Dormir a pierna suelta – To sleep with a loose leg, meaning to sleep deeply.
- Andar con pies de plomo – TO walk with lead feet, meaning to step carefully, to take extra care, and be cautious.
We hope this collection of idioms proves useful to you and if you wish to find more resources to learn French with, please visit our website at Strommeninc.com
OTHER GREAT WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR SPANISH VOCABULARY:
- Watch Netflix in Original language with original language captions
- Check out a great book like this: 2000 most frequently used Spanish words
- Browse our list of the best Spanish text-books
- Do some quick daily exercises on DuoLingo or any other free language learning app
- Take some private or group (fun) classes with us at Strømmen
- Take a look at free Spanish vocab and grammar materials on the blog for things like Spanish Slang, Tongue twisters, idioms, and things like how to order tacos.
- test your vocab knowledge with a fun quiz