Hey Spaneasiers! How is your course going? We hope you are having a wonderful time learning Spanish. As we don’t want you to stop practicing, today we bring you a instructive post.

What are idiomatic expressions (aka idioms)?

They are word sequences whose meaning doesn’t derive from the meaning of its components. This is to say, the expression can have a literal meaning, but it is the figurative one we are interested in. Words don’t have an individual meaning, they work as a whole. So all words together compose a single expression.

Let’s think of an example: echar leña al fuego. We know what each word means. In this context, echar means to throw, leña mean wood and fuego means fire. So this expression literally means to add wood to the fire. For example, small branches of trees are cut and thrown to the fireplace in order to light the fire. However, in other context we may want to use this expression as an idiom. In that case, its figurative meaning would be to exacerbate the conflictive feelings and emotions.

We are sure you have heard this one before, but what about other widely used idiomatic expressions? Let’s take a look!


IDIOM                                            LITERAL TRANSLATION                               EQUIVALENT

Estar como una cabra                   To be like a goat                                         To be crazy as a bat

Dar la vuelta a la tortilla               To turn the omellete around                   To turn the tables

Lavarse las manos                          To wash your hands                                  To pass the bucket

Ponerse morado                             To eat a lot                                                 To eat like a horse

Ser la oveja negra                           To be the black sheep                              To go off the rails

Ponerse como un tomate               To turn into a tomato                         To turn as red as a beetroot

Meter la pata                                   To put the leg on it                                   To put your foot in it

Verlo todo color de rosa           To see everything in pink color             To see all peaches and cream

Estar en la edad del pavo            To be in the turkey’s age                  To go through teenage angst

Temblar como un flan                  To be shaky like a pudding                       To be a cat on hot bricks

Dormir a pierna suelta                 To sleep with a loose leg                           To sleep like a dog

Poner verde a alguien                 To turn someone green                   To call someone every name


Try to use these expressions every now and then. You will not only improve your vocabulary, but you will also sound like a native speaker. Also, follow our pronunciation tips and it will be the cherry on top of the cake!


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