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English has an idiom: "Slow and steady wins the race." It is used to describe situations where slow, steady progress towards a goal is better than a rushed attempt to achieve things all at once (and I believe it comes from the fable of The Tortoise and the Hare). Is there an equivalent idiom in Spanish?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

Here goes a bunch:

"Vísteme despacio, que tengo prisa" (quote from Ferdinand VII)

Something like: Dress me slowly, for I am in a hurry.

"Las prisas son malas consejeras"

Something like: Hurries are bad advisers.

"Sin prisa pero sin pausa"

Slowly but steadily

"Quien va piano va lontano"

(this sounds pretty Italian-borrowed to me, but it means Who goes slowly goes/gets far)

"Poco a poco, hila la vieja el copo".

Little by little the old lady spins the woll yarn (related to spinning a yarn; more information in Wikipedia)

Probably the closest one to the idiom you mention is this one (also based on the Aesop fable):

"Conejo rapido no llega lejos. Tortuga llega segura."

The fast rabbit doesn't reach far. The turtle arrives safe. Although I must say that I have never heard this in Spain.

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In Mexico is very common "Lento pero seguro" - "Slowly but surely". – Sergio Romero May 8 '12 at 14:36
That one is Italian, indeed. The original is piano, piano si va lontano. The one @SergioRomero mentions in his comment is also used in Spain, I've heard it quite a few times. – Gorpik Nov 18 '14 at 9:39
Quien va piano va lontano is Italian not Spanish. The majority of the others I have never heard them myself. Lento pero seguro is the best choice at least in Spain. – Luis Antolin Nov 18 '14 at 20:34
The one I heard was, "poco a poco se llega lejos". That's almost like one of the ones you posted. – Walter Mitty Nov 18 '14 at 21:13
I think that "sin prisa pero sin pausa" is in fact said inversely: "sin pausa pero sin prisa", but with exactly the same meaning. – Roberto Nov 20 '14 at 7:11

Lento pero seguro conveys a very similar meaning to Slow and steady wins the race. because it is used to express that slowness is a good thing and gets you to your targets.


- estas tardando mucho, ¿no?
- yo voy lento pero seguro

That is widely accepted and recognized (at least in Spain).

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Another mexican one:

Más vale paso que dure que trote que canse.

Loosely translated to

A pace that lasts is better than a trot that tires.

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In Chile is very common the expression

despacito por las piedras.

It is an evolution of the phrase

Irse despacio por las piedras [go slowly through the stones]

but usually the verb is omitted and the diminutive "despacito" is used instead "despacio".

For example, this dialog:

-Me gusta mucho esa mina. [I like that girl]

-¡Qué bien! Pero despacito por las piedras... [Well, but take it slow]

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I've heard it as

Despacio con calma gana la carrera. (Slow with calmness wins the race)

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