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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.


pagar a plazos
pay for something in installments

para colmo de desgracias
to top it all; to top it off (lit.: for the height of disgrace)

para colmo de males
to make matters worse

para diario

parecer otro/-a
look great; look fantastic

partirse el alma
make someone’s heart bleed (lit.: my soul is separated from me)

pasar a buscar
pick up; collect; get

pasar de la raya
cross the line (lit.: to pass over the line)

pasar el mono a pelo
go cold turky

pasar por alto
pass over; overlook; ignore (lit.: to pass by high)

pasarlo bomba
have a great time (lit.: to pass the bomb)

pedir la luna
ask the impossible (lit.: to ask for the moon)

pegar el ojo
fall asleep; sleep (lit.: to stick the eye)

perder la cabeza
fall madly in love with someone

pez gordo
fat cat; big cheese; big cheese (lit.: fat fish)

poner a salvo
save; rescue (lit.: to put to saving)

poner el dedo en la llaga
hit a raw nerve (lit.: to put the finger in the ulcer)

poner en camino
get underway; be underway (lit.: to put onself on road, on route)

poner en cintura
reign in (lit.: to put a belt on)

poner en marcha
start; begin; put into action

poner en su sitio a alguien
put someone in his/her place (lit.: to place someone in her/his site)

poner la mesa
set the table

poner mala cara
pout; grimace; give a dirty luck

poner toda la carne en el asador
pull out all the stops

ponerse a dieta
go on a diet

ponerse como una hiena
get pissed; be furious; hit the roof

ponerse de acuerdo
agree; come to an agreement

ponerse de novio
have a relationship; be serious with somebody

ponerse de pie
stand up (lit.: to put oneself on foot)

ponerse en contra
be against; protest; stand against

ponerse las pilas
force oneself; push oneself (lit.: put batteries in oneself)

ponerse pedo
get drunk; get sloshed; get pissed; get high

por (el) amor de Dios
for the love of God (n.b.: exclamation similar to the one in English in usage)

por adelantado
early, beforehand (lit.: by earliness)

por casualidad
by coincidence, by any chance (lit.: by coincidence)

por cierto
by the way; incidentally

por debajo de agua
under the table

por el contrario
on the contrary (lit.: by its sight)

por el momento
for now (lit.: by the moment)

por el otro lado
on the other hand

por eso
so; thus; then; next

por estos rumbos
in this neck of the woods; around here

por fin

por fortuna

por la buena
nicely; without being forced

por la flauta
oh dear! (used to express surprise or frustration)

por la mala
only when pushed; only when forced

por la verga grande
in the back of beyond; in the sticks; in the boonies (coarse, vulgar expression)

por lo general
generally; in general

por lo menos
at least; at a minimum (lit.: at/by the least)

por lo pronto
in the meantime; meanwhile. 1. Vea, por lo pronto existe una tercera opcíon.

por lo regular

por lo tanto
thus; therefore (lit.: by its sight)

por lo visto
apparently; it seems (lit.: by its sight)

por los pelos
by the skin of one's teeth

por menos de nada
for nothing; for less than nothing

por otra parte
on the other hand

por pedido de
at the request of

por si acaso
just in case

por si fuera poco
to add insult to injury

por si las moscas
just in case

por siempre
forever (lit.: for always)

por suerte
luckily, fortunately (lit.: by luck)

por supuesto
of course (lit.: by supposed)

por todos los rincones
in every nook and cranny

por un lado
on the one hand

por un pelito
by very little; by a second

por un pelo
by a hair; just. 1. Me escapo por un pelo.

por un pelo de rana
by very little; by a second; by the skin of one's teeth

por una  parte
on the one hand (lit.: for one side)

primero que nada
most of all; first and foremost

junk, trash; junk food

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