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8 of the best Spanish Idioms

Octopi, garages and grandmothers with wheels - prepare for our Spanish program with some of the best Spanish idioms we’ve come across.

illustrations of Spanish idioms

No se pueden pedirle peras al olmo
you cannot ask an elm for pears

In short: you cannot ask the impossible.

FutureLearn Spanish Program Idioms 4

Si mi abuela tuviera ruedas seria una bicicleta 
If my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a bicycle

This means if things happened differently, they would be different, so it’s silly to even suggest it.

FutureLearn Spanish Program Idioms 1

Pájaro que comió, voló 
bird that ate, bird that flew

A lovely phrase we don’t really have an English version of – it means a person who eats and then rushes off.

FutureLearn Spanish Program Idioms 2

Al pan pan, y al vino vino 
call bread bread, wine wine

A much more appetising way of saying call a spade a spade, as in to state something exactly as it is.

FutureLearn Spanish Program Idioms 3

Mucho ruido y pocas nueces
a lot of noise, and very few nuts.

Meaning a lot of fuss, not much actual action. There could be a few English versions of this – much ado about nothing, or maybe all mouth no trousers are two contenders.

FutureLearn Spanish Program Idioms 5

Al mal tiempo buena cara 
To bad weather good face

This means if life gets tough, stay happy – a bit like the English if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

FutureLearn Spanish Program Idioms 6

Poco a poco 
little by little

 The English equivalent might be ‘one step at a time’.

FutureLearn Spanish Program Idioms 7

Más perdido que un pulpo en un garaje
More lost than an octopus in a garage.

 We saved the best until last – this phrase means to not have a clue.

FutureLearn Spanish Program Idioms 8

Explore more Spanish with an online program of flexible Spanish Courses and soon you’ll be using these phrases like a native. And remember to add any Spanish idioms you’ve come across in the comments – we’d love to see them.

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