Sometimes when I'm speaking in English, I find myself stuck, trying to say something that could be easily explained using an Spanish idiomatic phrase. I think that is why so many of us bilingual people love that we can go back and forth with people who understand both languages. You can pick and choose the best of each to communicate. Unfortunately, that creates a hybrid language that is not neither correct nor easily understood. Read on to find out which Spanish phrases we wish could be translated into English!


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1.  Lo que no mata engorda: Literally means: "What doesn't kill you makes you fat." It's a looser version of the five-second rule. It can also be applied when you eat something you're not sure of what it is. I just love it.

2. Aunque la mona se vista de seda, mona se queda: Literally means: "The monkey may be dressed in silk, but it's still a monkey." It's a funny and sometimes demeaning way to say that nobody can really change. I just love to imagine a dressed up girl monkey.

3. Se le subieron los humos a la cabeza: Literally means: "The smoke went to her head." It's said of arrogant people who think they are better than anybody else. I don't know exactly the origin, but maybe it is that the smokes confuses people. What do you think?

4. Andarse por las ramas: Literally means: "Going around the tree branches." When somebody is avoiding being direct and is just beating around the bush, basically.

5. Hierba mala nunca muere: Literally means: "Weeds never die." You can use this expression to refer to yourself when you are about to do something crazy or dangerous, or, more commonly, speaking about someone who is not a good person and just seems to get away with everything. It just makes sense. Is there anything harder to kill than a weed?

6. Meter gato por liebre: Litearly means: "To give out a cat instead of a hare." To cheat somebody pretending to give out something better than reality; also to lie.

7. Camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente: Literally means: "The tide washes away sleeping shrimp." Isn't this one hilarious? It means that things will go wrong when you aren't fully alert. So true!

8. Pedir peras al olmo: Literally means: "Asking an elm tree for pears." You are basically asking for the impossible.

9. Por si las moscas: Literally means: "Just in case there are flies." It's a simple just in case, but I love the image, how you protect things in case there are insects. 

10. Un clavo saca otro clavo: Literally means: "One nail takes out another nail." This very cryptic phrase is used to talk about heartbreak. It means that a new love will make you forget the old one. Not very romantic, but usually true!

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Topics: hispanic heritage month  spanish  bilingual