8 of the best Spanish Idioms

No se pueden pedirle peras al olmo
you cannot ask an elm for pears

In short: you cannot ask the impossible.

FutureLearn Spanish Program Idioms 4

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.

FutureLearn Spanish Program Idioms 1

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.

FutureLearn Spanish Program Idioms 2

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.

FutureLearn Spanish Program Idioms 3

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.

FutureLearn Spanish Program Idioms 5

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.

FutureLearn Spanish Program Idioms 6

Poco a poco 
little by little

 The English equivalent might be ‘one step at a time’.

FutureLearn Spanish Program Idioms 7

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.

FutureLearn Spanish Program Idioms 8

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.

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