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Spanish Idioms





Spanish idioms are essential to understanding and communicating with native speakers. Because Spanish is spoken in so many different countries, extra care is required when learning idioms. Make sure to pay attention to who is saying what under what circumstances before you attempt to use anything but the most common expression. Browse below to take a look at just how many different ways you can express yourself in Spanish.

A B C D E F G H I J L M N O P Q R S T U V Y Z


cada hijo de vecino
every Tom, Dick, and Harry; everyone

cada muerte de obispo
once in a blue moon; very rarely (lit.: each time a bishop dies)

caer en la cuenta
realize

caer mal
dislike; not like. 1. Me cae mal este tipo.

caerle bien a alguien
look good; feel good; seem pleasant (lit.: to fall well to someone)

caérsele a alg la baba con/por algo
drool over someone or something; dote on someone; be crazy about someone or something (lit.: to left fall slobber over someone or something)

caérsele los anillos a algn
be beneath one; be beneath one’s dignity (lit.: to have one’s rings fall off)

cambiar de idea
change one’s mind (lit.: to change idea)

cambiar de tema
change a/the subject

camino de
along the way, on the way (lit.: road/path of)

canta a pelo
sing unaccompanied

carne de gallina
gooseflesh

cerrar algo a cal y canto
shut something tight, firmly, securely

chiflar el moño a algn
be nuts; be crazy

cielos
heavens; oh my gosh (lit.: heavens; n.b.: used when surprised, often in place of something vulgar)

cien por cien
100%; with certainty; precisely (lit.: one-hundred by one-hundred)

claro que sí
of course; yes; indeed

cocerse en un propia salsa
stew in one's (own) juice

coger el toro por los cuernos
grab the bull by the horns (n.b.: coger is used only in Spain)

comer a deshora
eat at odd times

como agua para chocolate
furious; enraged (lit.: like water for chocolate)

como de costumbre
as usual (lit.: as of custom)

como Dios manda
the way it's supposed to be

como perro en barrio ajeno
out of place; in the wrong neighborhood (lit.: like a dog in a distant neighborhood; i.e.: people who try to enter other parts of society may be attacked or ostracized)

como quitarle un pelo al gato
a victimless crime (lit.: like removing a hair from a cat; i.e.: the quantity in question is so small that it has no significant effect and goes unnoticed)

como si no fuera poco
as if it were not enough

como siempre
as usual; as always

como un oro
like new (lit.: like a gold [coin])

como un perro
like a dog; like scum; in the gutter (lit.: like a dog)

como una balsa de aceite
smoothly; swimmingly; peacefully (lit.: like a pool of oil)

como una rosa
fresh as a daisy; soft as silk (lit.: like a rose)

con anticipación
in advance; ahead of time

con apuros
with difficulty

con pelos y señales
in minute detail; precisely

con permiso
with (your) permission

con seguridad
surely; certainly; absolutely

con toda la barba
real; the real deal; honest to goodness; true (lit.: with all the beard)

con todo respeto
with all due respect. 1. Con todo respeto, no me parece tan importante.

consultarlo con la almohada
sleep on it (lit.: consult about something with the pillow)

contar con
count on

correr la bola
spread the word; put out the word

cortar el bacalao
call the shots (lit.: to cut the codfish; n.b.: Spain usage)

cortar las alas a alg.
clip someone’s wings; nip something in the bud (lit.: cut the wings of someone or something)

cortar un pelo en el aire
be smart

corto de luces
dim; dull; stupid

cuando pueda
when you can; when you have a moment

cuanto antes
as soon as possible (lit.: as much before)

cuatro gatos
a handful of people; half a dozen people; a small group of people (lit.: four cats)


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