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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.


dar a algn para el pelo
be the living daylights out of someone; wipe the floor with someone

dar a entender
let someone know

dar a la luz
give birth (lit.: to give to the light)

dar la bienvenida
welcome (lit.: to give the welcome)

dar la lata
be a nuisance; annoy (lit.: to give the tin)

dar lástima
make someone sad (to) (lit.: to give pain/sadness)

dar luz verde
give a green light to; permit; allow; clear

dar muerte a
kill someone

dar nacimiento a
give rise to

dar palo
hate; dislike; be unfortunate

dar permiso
permit; allow; give permission

dar risa
make one laugh; make one smile

dar un paseo a caballo
go horseback riding; ride a horse

dar un patatús a alguien
make someone have a fit (lit.: to give someone a fit)

dar un salto
jump; give a start; start (lit.: to give a jump)

dar un vergajo
screw; fuck; have sex with; shag

dar una de cal y otra de arena
use a carrot-and-stick policy

dar una fiesta
give a party

dar una vuelta
go for a ride

dar vida a
portray; play (i.e.: an actor playing a role)

darle a alguien mala espina
make someone feel uneasy (lit.: to give bad thorns to someone)

darse cuenta de
be aware; realize (lit.: to give oneself account of). 1. ¿Te has dado cuenta de que en el supermercado tenemos hasta nueve tipos diferentes de papel higiénico para elegir?

darse por vencido
give up; give in (lit.: to give oneself as defeated)

darse prisa
hurry; rush; do (something) fast (lit.: to give one urgency)

de abrigo
a handful; someone to watch out for (lit.: coat, overcoat)

de ahí en adelante
from now on; from here onward (lit.: from here in forward)

de ahora en adelante
from now on; henceforth; from this moment forward (lit.: from now in advance)

de armas tomar
formidable; tough; redoubtable (lit.: for taking up arms)

de buena gana
willingly; with ease; with pleasure (lit.: of good desire)

de buenas a primeras
suddenly; without warning

de cal y canto
strong; firm

de costumbre
as usual; normally

de cuando en cuando
from time to time; sometimes; once in a while (lit.:  of when in when)

de diario

de golpe
suddenly; abruptly; at once; all at once (lit.: of a blow or strike)

de hecho
in fact, in reality (lit.: of fact). 1. De hecho, qiuero ir contigo.

de inmediato
right now, immediately (lit.: from immediately)

de medio pelo

de miedo
fantastic(ally); wonderful(ly); brilliant(ly) (used in Spain)

de moda
in fashion; in style

de modo que
so; so that

de mucho cuidado
big; terrible; real (used adverbially)

de nada
not at all; you’re welcome; don’t mention it (n.b.: often said in response to “gracías”)

de nuevo
again; once again; anew (lit.: of new)

de oro
great; good; very good; wonderful. 1. Ella tiene una voz de oro.

de par en par
wide open (lit.: from rafter to rafter)

de pelo en pecho
manly; masculine

de perlas
just what someone needs; just right; go/fit perfectly (lit.: of pearls)

de perros
foul; horrible; dirty

de pocas luces
dim; dull; stupid

de pronto
suddenly; at once; all at once (lit.: of soon)

de repente
abruptly, suddenly (lit.: of soon)

de tal palo, tal astilla
like father, like son (lit.: of such a broom, such a splinter)

de todas maneras
in any case; anyway

de todos modos
anyway; at any rate (lit.: to the monkfish)

de un modo u otro
one way or another

de un momento a otro
at any moment

de una vez

de veras
really, truly (lit.: of fact, truth)

de vez en cuando
sometimes; now and then (lit.: from once in when)

decir amén a todo
say yes to everything; agree to everything (lit.: to say amen to everything)

decir en broma
kid; joke; tease (lit.: to say (as a) joke)

dejar a alg en las astas del toro
leave someone high and dry; leave someone in the lurch (lit.: to leave someone on the horns of the bull)

dejar de lado
set aside; put aside (lit.: to leave from (the) side)

dejar en paz
leave alone; leave be; let it be (lit.: to leave in peace)

desde hacía rato
for some time

desde luego
of course; certainly (lit.: after then/later)

día a día
day after day.  1. La economía real, la que cada uno de nosotros maneja día a día es otra cosa.

di que sí
go for it (lit.: say yes)

dormir el vino
sleep off a hangover

dormir juntos
sleep together (n.b.: in the sexual sense)

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