No se pueden pedirle peras al olmo you cannot ask an elm for pears
In short: you cannot ask the impossible.
Si mi abuela tuviera ruedas seria una bicicleta If my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a bicycle
This means if things happened differently, they would be different, so it’s silly to even suggest it.
Pájaro que comió, voló bird that ate, bird that flew
A lovely phrase we don’t really have an English version of – it means a person who eats and then rushes off.
Al pan pan, y al vino vino call bread bread, wine wine
A much more appetising way of saying call a spade a spade, as in to state something exactly as it is.
Mucho ruido y pocas nueces a lot of noise, and very few nuts.
Meaning a lot of fuss, not much actual action. There could be a few English versions of this – much ado about nothing, or maybe all mouth no trousers are two contenders.
Al mal tiempo buena cara To bad weather good face
This means if life gets tough, stay happy – a bit like the English if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Poco a poco little by little
The English equivalent might be ‘one step at a time’.
Más perdido que un pulpo en un garaje More lost than an octopus in a garage.
We saved the best until last – this phrase means to not have a clue.
Explore more Spanish with an online program of flexible Spanish Courses and soon you’ll be using these phrases like a native. And remember to add any Spanish idioms you’ve come across in the comments – we’d love to see them.