10 common Spanish Idioms

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Idioms exist in every language, but they are usually only understood by native speakers or people with a really good command of the language in question. Would you like to take your Spanish to the next level and step up your game? It is piece of cake if you practice! In this blog post, we will show you ten common Spanish idioms that will help you increase your vocabulary and your fluency, killing two birds with one stone. Are you ready? Keep on reading!

Idiom: “a group of words in a fixed order that have a particular meaning that is different from the meanings of each word on its own”.

Idioms related to food

1. Dar la vuelta a la tortilla

  • Literal translation: To flip the omelet
  • Meaning: When a situation turns around radically.

“Se ha dado vuelta la tortilla y ahora es él quien me llama y escribe a diario” / “Now the tables have turned and it’s him the one who calls and texts daily”.

By saying this, you are implying that it used to be you who used to call and write but now it is the opposite way around.

Spanish idioms

2. Ser del año de la pera

  • Literal translation: To be from the year of the pear:
  • Meaning: Something or someone is really old.

“¿Ese vestido es nuevo?” “No! ¡Es del año de la pera!”

3. Ponerse de mala leche

  • Literal translation: to turn into bad milk
  • Meaning: Get into a bad mood.

“Ya no me apetece ir a la fiesta. Su actitud me he puesto de mala leche” / “I don’t want to go to the party anymore. His attitude has put me in a bad mood”.

4. Ponerse como un tomate

  • Literal translation: To turn into a tomato
  • Meaning: To go red/ to blush

Have you ever been in a situation in which the person you like talks to you and you instantly blush? That is exactly what “ponerse como un tomate” means!

“Cuando recibió las flores en la oficina, ¡se puso como un tomate!” / “When she received the flowers at the office, she went so red!


Related to animals

5. Estar como una cabra

  • Literal translation: To be like a goat
  • Meaning: Someone is crazy.

“Mi amiga está como una cabra, ¡quiere tirarse en paracaídas!” / “My friend is totally crazy. She wants to go parachuting!”

ten common Spanish idioms

6. Tener memoria de pez

  • Literal translation: To have the memory of a fish
  • Meaning: To have a bad memory

Do you remember Dori, the blue tang fish from Finding Nemo that couldn’t remember things for more than 10 seconds? She literally had “memoria de pez”, though this idiom is usually used to refer to people with a bad memory.

“¿No me has traído el libro? ¡Pero si te lo recordé hace media hora! Tienes memoria de pez…” / “Didn’t you bring the book? I reminded you to do so half an hour ago! You have such a bad memory…”

7. Estar en la edad del pavo

  • Literal meaning: To be in the turkey’s age
  • Meaning: It means to be a teenager/to be in puberty, which is usually associated to having really emotional reactions.

“Mi hermano está rebelde e insoportable. “Está en plena edad del pavo!” / “My brother is acting out and being unbearable. He is such a teenager!”


Related to parts of the body

8. No pegar ojo

  • Literal meaning: To not strike an eye
  • Meaning: To not be able to sleep. Not sleep a wink

“¡Estoy agotado! Anoche no pegué ojo” / “I’m exhausted! Last night I didn’t sleep a wink”

some Spanish idioms

9. Estar hasta las narices

  • Literal meaning: To be up to the nose
  • Meaning: This expression is used to say that you are really tired of something.

For example: “Estoy hasta las narices de ser la única que trabaja en el proyecto” / “I’m up to here with being the only that works on this Project”.

10 Sin pelos en la lengua

  • Literal meaning: Without hair on your tongue
  • Meaning: To be outspoken/to not mince your words

We all have this one friend who is really direct and doesn’t hesitate when it comes to saying the truth, even if it is a bit harsh, don’t we? That is exactly what this expression means!

“Si le preguntas a ella, seguro que te dirá la verdad. No tiene pelos en la lengua”. / “If you ask her she’ll probably tell you the truth. She doesn’t mince her words”.


Here’s a bit of a bonus with the idioms with the verb “montar“:

Do you know any other Spanish idioms? Share them with us! Follow us on Facebook and leave a comment!

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