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Spanish phrases and sayings

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Reuben

To find more, do a search on the internet for "refranes and dichos translated".
 
A Dios rogando y con el mazo dando. Praying to God and hitting with the hammer. Covering all the bases. Doing everything necessary to ensure success. Or, as Baltasar Gracián quotes St. Ingnatius of Loyola, one should "Use human means as though divine ones didn't exist, and divine means as though human ones didn't exist."
 
A juventud ociosa, vejez trabajosa
. To leisurely youth, laborious old age. If you are lazy now, you will have to work harder later.
 
A quien madruga, Dios le ayuda. Who rises early, God helps. God helps those who get started early.
 
Acabándose el dinero, se termina la amistad. The money running out, the friendship ends. Describes those who are your "friends" only as long as you have money.
 
Camarón que se duerme, se lo lleva la corriente. Shrimp that sleeps, the current carries it away. If you don't stay alert to and act on opportunities, you will miss them.
 
Como el apóstol 13, come y desaparece. Like the apostle 13, eats and leaves. Describes guests who come only for the food, or people who stay only for the part of the event that benefits them.
 
Con virtud y bondad se adquiere autoridad. With virtue and goodness authority is acquired. People will be more likely to do what you say if they perceive you as being virtuous and kind.
 
De dinero y bondad, siempre la mitad. Of money and goodness, always half. In matters of money and goodness, the truth is always half of what is claimed. There are similar sayings regarding claims of quality.
 
De tal palo, tal astilla. From such a stick, such a splinter. The way a child behaves is a reflection of the way his or her parents behave.
 
Del dicho al hecho, hay mucho trecho. From the word to the deed, there is a great distance. It is one thing to say something will be done, and quite a different thing to get it done.
 
Despacio voy, porque de prisa estoy. Slowly I go because I am in a hurry. Proceeding methodically often gets faster results than rushing.
 
Donde hay gana, hay maña. Where there is the desire there is the ability. If you really want to do something, you can find a way to do it.
 
El que nace pa' tamal, del cielo le caen las hojas. He who is born for tamal, from the sky the leaves fall on him. My best guess at this one: For what you are born to do, your path will fall into place in front of you.
 
El diablo sabe más por viejo que por diablo. The Devil knows more because he is old than because he is the Devil. Wisdom and knowledge increase with increasing age. (i.e., The Devil owes his knowledge more to his age than to any supernatural powers.)
 
El mal escribano le echa la culpa a la pluma. The poor writer places the blame on the pen. People naturally blame their problems on something or someone else, rather than accept any responsibility themselves.
 
El que da primero, da dos veces. He who strikes first strikes twice. Whoever is first has an advantage over all who come after.
 
El que mucho habla, mucho yerra. Who much speaks, much errs. The more you talk, the more you will make mistakes.
 
El que por su gusto corre, nunca se cansa. Who for his pleasure runs, never tires. When you do something for pleasure, it is not tiring.
 
El que quiere baile, que pague músico. Who wants dance, should pay musician. The one who wants something done should be the one who takes the responsibility for making it happen.
 
El que quita la ocasión, evita el ladrón. Who takes away the opportunity, avoids the robber. If you take precautions, you will avoid problems.
 
En boca del mentiroso, lo cierto se hace dudoso
. In the mouth of a liar, what is certain becomes doubtful. Once someone has been caught lying, it is hard to believe anything else that person says.
 
Gato escaldado del agua fría huye. A scalded cat from cold water runs. People often draw overly broad lessons from their experiences. (i.e., The cat should have learned only to avoid hot water.)
 
Hazme las cuentas claras, y el chocolate espeso. 
Make for me the accounts clear and the chocolate thick. Whatever else might be confusing, the books had better be straightforward. A similar saying is "Las cuentas claras hacen buenos amigos." (Clear accounting makes good friends.)
 
Honra y dinero se ganan despacio y se pierden ligero. Reputation and money are earned slowly and lost quickly. Reputation and money are hard earn and easy to lose.
 
La mejor palabra es la que no se dice. The best word is the one that is not said. Sometimes, refraining from speaking is better than anything you could say.
 
La palabra es plata, el silencio oro. The word is silver, silence gold. Silence is more valuable than words.
 
Lo que bien se aprende, nunca se pierde. What well is learned never is lost. If you learn something well, you will never forget it.
 
Más vale poco y bueno que mucho y malo. It is worth more little and good than much and bad. More is not always better. It is better to have less and happiness than more and misery.
 
Mejor solo que mal acompañado. Better alone than poorly accompanied. It is better to be alone than to be with the wrong person.
 
Nadie es profeta en su propia tierra. No one is a prophet in his own land. People place a higher value on exotic things and exotic people than on familiar ones. To quote Baltasar Gracián again: "Everything foreign is held in esteem, whether it came from afar, or because people see it only after it is well formed and has reached perfection. Some people were scorned in their own little corner but achieved worldly eminence. They are honored by their own people because they look at them from a distance and by foreigners because they came from afar."
 
No es más rico el que más tiene, sino el que menos necesita. He is not richer who the most has, but who the least needs.Someone who is satisfied with a small amount is richer than someone who is always craving more.
 
No hay atajo sin trabajo. There is no shortcut without work. It takes work to avoid doing work.
 
No hay curva mala pasándola despacio. There is no bad curve, passing it slowly. You can avoid mishaps by proceeding with caution.
 
No tengas como vano el consejo del anciano. Do not consider useless the advice of an old person. Do not ignore the advice of someone who speaks from experience.
 
Perro que no camina, no encuentra hueso. Dog who doesn't walk, doesn't find a bone. If you want something, you need to make efforts to get it.
 
Poco a poco se anda lejos. Little by little one goes far. Frequent, small steps can accomplish the same result as (or better results than) a one-time Herculean effort.
 
Por el árbol se conoce el fruto. By the tree the fruit is known. Children are very much like their parents.
 
Querer es poder. To want to is to be able to. If you really want to do something, you will be able to do it.
 
Quien con el lobo se junta a aullar aprende. 
Who with the wolf associates, to howl learns. A person can be judged by the company he or she keeps (i.e., by the people he or she hangs out with).
 
Si quieres el perro, acepta las pulgas. If you want the dog, accept the fleas. If you wanted something, don't complain about it once you get it.
 
Una buena acción es la mejor oración. A good deed is the best prayer. One's faith is best expressed by one's actions.
 

From http://www.spanishpronto.com/spanishpronto/spanishsayings.html

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Reuben

1. “¿Qué pedo?”
Literal translation: “What fart?”
What it actually means: “What’s up?”
 
2. “Culero.”

Literal translation: “Ass salesman.”
What it actually means: “Asshole.”
 
3. “¡Me vale madres!”

Literal translation: “I don’t care mothers!”
What it actually means: “I don’t give a fuck!”
 
4. ¿Qué onda?

Literally means: “What wave?”
What it actually means: “What’s up?”
 
5. “¡No mames!”

Literally means: “Don’t suck!”
What it actually means: “No fucking way!”
 
6. “¡Aguas!”

What it literally means in English: “Waters!”
What it actually means: “Be careful!”
 
7. “Estoy crudo.”

Literal translation: “I’m raw.”
What it actually means: “I’m hungover.”
 
8. “Te crees muy muy.”

Literal translation: “You think you’re very, very.”
What it actually means: “You think you’re a badass?”
 
9. “A la verga.”

Literal translation: “That penis over there.”
What it actually means: “Ahh shit.”
 
10. “Esta cañón.”

Literal translation: “It’s cannon.”
What it actually means: “It’s rough.”
 
11. “Eso que ni qué.”

Literal translation: “That that not what.”
What it actually means: “No doubt about it.”
 
12. “¿Dónde es la peda?”

Literal translation: “Where’s the fart?”
What it actually means: “Where’s the party?”
 
13. “Vales Verga.”

Literal translation: “You’re worth penis.”
What it actually means: “You’re worthless.”
 
14. “¿Tienes feria?”

Literal translation: “Do you have county fair?”
What it actually means: “Do you have money?”
 
15. “Ando bien pedo.”

Literal translation: “I am very fart.”
What it actually means: “I am very drunk.”
 
16. “¡Qué rollo con el hoyo!”

Literal translation: “What’s rolling with that hole?”
What it actually means: “What’s going on?”
 
17. “No tiene dos dedos de frente.”

Literally means: “He doesn’t have two fingers of forehead.”
What it actually means: “He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed.”
 
18. ¿Qué estás haciendo güey?

Literal translation: “What’s going on castrated bull?”
What it really means: “What's going on bro?”
 
19. “Esas son mamadas.”

Literal translation: “That’s blowjobs.”
What it actually means: “That’s crazy.”
 
20. “¡Es un pendejo!”

Literal translation: “You’re a pubic hair.”
What it actually means: “You’re an idiot.”
 
21. “¡No manches!”

Literal translation: “Don’t stain!”
What it actually means: “Unbelievable!”
 
22. “Estoy grifo.”

Literal translation: “I am faucet.”
What it actually means: “I am high.”
 
23. “¡A huevo!”

Literal translation: “To egg!”
What it actually means: “Hell yeah!”
 
24. “¡Dale cabron!”

Literal translation: “C’mon big goat!”
What it actually means: “C’mon you bastard!”
 
25. “No hay pedo.”

Literal translation: “There’s no fart.”
What it actually means: “There’s no problem.”

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BearBare

Driving phrases would be useful for those of us using Uber or taxis. “turn right,” “u-turn,” etc

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Reuben
6 minutes ago, BearBare said:

Driving phrases would be useful for those of us using Uber or taxis. “turn right,” “u-turn,” etc

Dar vuelta a la derecha
Turn right. Sometimes you'll hear "aqui a la derecha".
Dar vuelta a la izquierda.
Turn left.
 
Hasta la primera calle.
Up to the first street
 
Por aqui.
This way.
 
Por ahi.
That way.
 
Alli esta.
There it is.
 
Todo derecho.
Straight ahead (a little tricky because there's only a single letter of difference between this word for "straight" and the word for "right"--derecha.)
 
hasta el semaforo.
up to the traffic signal. As in English, you'll also hear speakers say "the light" -- la luz -- when referring to traffic signals.

A la esquina.
At the corner.
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Sawgunner68

no es mi pedo- not my problem

vete a la verga-fuck off

no mames güey- don’t bullshit me, don’t be ridiculous.

more to follow

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Jascoi

y pensé que el inglés era difícil ...

 

(and i thought english was difficult...)

Edited by Jascoi
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Jefffffrey

Anyone else cringe when you hear someone from TJ use the verb 'ocupar' instead of 'nececitar' or 'tener que'.  It makes them sound like Mexican Hillbillies.  Ocupo hablar contigo.  Ocupo comprar cosas por la escuela de mi hijo.  

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reytj
37 minutes ago, Jefffffrey said:

Anyone else cringe when you hear someone from TJ use the verb 'ocupar' instead of 'nececitar' or 'tener que'.  It makes them sound like Mexican Hillbillies.  Ocupo hablar contigo.  Ocupo comprar cosas por la escuela de mi hijo.  

According to the following source the use of ocupar in this sense is not limited to TJ but is common from Guadalajara to the north.

http://www.m-x.com.mx/2012-07-17/departamento-de-lexico-ocupar-no-es-usar-ni-necesitar/

 

 

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zombie

To sound like a badass Tijuanense reply  to a bar or street girl with "simon"  pronounce  see moan.  It kind of means uh-huh, or  copy that. 

 

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tomjackin
On 4/28/2018 at 10:09 AM, Jefffffrey said:

Anyone else cringe when you hear someone from TJ use the verb 'ocupar' instead of 'nececitar' or 'tener que'.  It makes them sound like Mexican Hillbillies.  Ocupo hablar contigo.  Ocupo comprar cosas por la escuela de mi hijo.  

That would not any sense whatsoever...to occupy?

nececitar or tener que are different as well. Yo necesito - I need to, Tengo que...I have to.

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sampson
38 minutes ago, zombie said:

To sound like a badass Tijuanense reply  to a bar or street girl with "simon"  pronounce  see moan.  It kind of means uh-huh, or  copy that. 

 

It mean "Yes" and I do use it from time to time....if you say simon simon...it is like "I know" or like Okay already as if you have heard it enough.

Edited by mrsports

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zombie

If I want to sound  like a vet then I work on my pronunciation.

Instead of Chicago club, its  Chee kago  Kloob.

Instead of  Adelitas ,    Ahdaylee tahz.

Edited by zombie
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Bubby
14 minutes ago, zombie said:

If I want to sound  like a vet then I work on my pronunciation.

Instead of Chicago club, its  Chee kago  Kloob.

Instead of  Adelitas ,    Ahdaylee tahz.

And if it's Halloween, that scary little boy doll with a knife is named Chooky.

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Bubby
39 minutes ago, mrsports said:

It mean "Yes" and I do use it from time to time....if you say simon simon...it is like "I know" or like Okay already as if you have heard it enough.

Sounds like you use it with the wifey. :)

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PhordPhan
22 hours ago, tomjackin said:

That would not any sense whatsoever...to occupy?

nececitar or tener que are different as well. Yo necesito - I need to, Tengo que...I have to.

They all use it. I think the etymology is closer to "preoccupied" in English. Something like preocupar, being worried about something. That's my personal theory and may or may not have any basis in reality. :D

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Dinki-di
On 4/29/2018 at 5:34 PM, zombie said:

To sound like a badass Tijuanense reply  to a bar or street girl with "simon"  pronounce  see moan.  It kind of means uh-huh, or  copy that. 

 

Sip, simon wey  ;)

On 4/29/2018 at 6:09 PM, mrsports said:

It mean "Yes" and I do use it from time to time....if you say simon simon...it is like "I know" or like Okay already as if you have heard it enough.

Sounds like you use it with the wifey. 

Ya, ya, ya... tranquis

 

 

Edited by Dinki-di
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JoseTejas

"*** si puso la marrana"

WARNING: This is a rude phrase. Use it with caution and at your own risk :)

This is one of my favorite phrases to use lately. It is a phrase with origins from ranchos/farming communities within the country. Not very commonly used. If you are gringo and use it appropriately, you will spin heads as the Mexicans will have no idea where you learned it. 

The way it was described to me, it's something rather rude to say to someone when they are being nosy or eavesdropping. 

"La marrana" is a word for pig. The statement literally translated means "if the pig put", but "put what?" It's significance is "if the pig laid an egg". Pigs don't lay eggs, so the person you send to see if the pig laid an egg will be looking for something that doesn't exist, and sticking their nose someplace where it doesn't belong. 

Examples:

Vete a ver si puso la marrana
"Go and see if the pig laid an egg"

Haber/Mira... si puso la marrana
"Look...  if the pig laid an egg"

Equivalents in english would be something like,
"Scram"
"Get out of here"
"Don't stick your nose in someone else's business"
"Take a hike"
 

Or if you are referring to yourself saying it

Voy a ver si puso la marrana
"I'm going to see if the pig laid an egg"
I'm gonna eavesdrop in on the gossip / Stick my nose in someone else's business

 

 

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asshole
On 4/18/2018 at 2:06 PM, Reuben said:


 
2. “Culero.”

Literal translation: “Ass salesman.”
What it actually means: “Asshole.”
 

Soy culero. Es la verdad,

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Trike

70702684_2406863966234521_2882690265624084480_n.thumb.jpg.fe273d1ac6b92e107ae8b340b07352a3.jpg

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Carlafan

Garth: No Mames! Wayne: Mames!

Remember that in Tj, there's a lot of southerners. A lot of our honey pies are from the Confederacy. Yeah, their grammar is way off; I have trouble at times understanding Carla or Estrella cause of their grammar. But that's what makes 'em sweet as peaches or tea. 

I had a coworker who always said "simon" just to be funny. I told her " I'm more of a Nigel, Liam, or Trevor than a Simon". 

I asked for some Ben Guey at the farmacia for my sore muscles. They laughed.

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hunter16

Just a quick tip for speaking/reading Spanish fluidly that I found useful. When pronouncing words, the syllables are all separated by the vowels and the sound of the actual vowel doesn't change like in English.

a "ah"

e "eh"

i "e"

o "oh"

u "ou"

I don't speak Spanish fluently but this is what I picked up from taking classes. Please correct me if I am wrong. You'll sound less like a gringo using this.

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Trike
12 hours ago, hunter16 said:

 You'll sound less like a gringo using this.

but..........I like sounding El Gringo........this way..........most have zero idea wtf I am..........pinoy.......frijolero.......jap.........or what ever.........

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Bubby
1 hour ago, Trike said:

but..........I like sounding El Gringo........this way..........most have zero idea wtf I am..........pinoy.......frijolero.......jap.........or what ever.........

Especially if someone's dealing with the monkeys, or sapos, or whatever PC word you want.

"No hablooo eespaniola"...

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Trike
3 minutes ago, Bubby said:

Especially if someone's dealing with the monkeys, or sapos, or whatever PC word you want.

"No hablooo eespaniola"...

Eso......eso.......eso.............

you're a thrillseeker.........you wrote.....monkey......for the chota..........butts will be hurt ing...........tonite.........lol.......

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Izaya

What's a sapo? :bald_head:

I know it literally means frog, but I don't understand the slang? 

A parrot or cotorra talks a lot, but a frog just sits on his pad and doesn't do shit. :dunno:

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