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In English if you "thumb your nose at someone" you are ignoring their authority..

Is there an expression in Spanish that conveys that same sort of disrespect?

For example:

Many pedestrians thumb their noses at traffic rules and instead cross the street without waiting for the green light.

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Uhm, I answered with the original context in mind which suggested a quite different thing from that given in the example. In English, can you really speak in terms of disrespect or authority for something trivial - like traffic lights? – vemv Nov 15 '11 at 23:03
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Several expressions can be used:

  • Les volteo la cara.
  • Le importo un comino.
  • Le importa un bledo.
  • Le vale madre.
  • Se lo pasa por el arco del triunfo.

Examples:

A muchos peatones les importan un bledo las normas de trafico y cruzan la calle sin esperar a que se ponga en verde.

A muchos peatones les valen madre las normas de trafico y cruzan la calle sin esperar a que se ponga en verde.

A muchos peatones le voltean la cara las normas de trafico y cruzan la calle sin esperar a que se ponga en verde.

Muchos peatones se pasan por el arco del triunfo las normas de trafico y cruzan la calle sin esperar a que se ponga en verde.

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None of these expressions will be accepted in both Spain and Latin America. – vemv Nov 15 '11 at 23:26
2  
terranoticias.terra.es/nacional/articulo/… this an articule from a spanish page where it says "A España le importa un comino" please do not confuse the people by stating is not used just because you don't like it, if this is not the reason show a proof of it. – isJustMe Nov 15 '11 at 23:28
    
Enumerating a random, localised, short sequence of expressions can't be a quality answer. Thanks for the downvote. – vemv Nov 15 '11 at 23:34
    
just Google them and tell me if they are not used by Spanish speakers. – isJustMe Nov 15 '11 at 23:36

In this case, I would translate it as:

Muchos peatones pasan de las normas de tráfico y cruzan la calle sin esperar a que se ponga en verde.

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1  
mmm....¿dónde se usa esto? Nunca lo había visto. – DGaleano Jun 20 at 14:40
    
@DGaleano en España lo usamos. – fedorqui Jun 20 at 14:43

For ignoring someone's authority without disrespecting him actively:

  • Jaime se hizo el tonto ante la llamada de atención de su profesor.

For doing it with some sort of response or gesture, I'd say:

  • Jaime se limitó a mofarse ante el profesor.
  • Respondió con una burla.

These phrases are universal Spanish, but won't match as well with your example as more idiomatic, colloquial expressions, which acceptance will depend on the region.

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Hay muchas personas que tiran el león a las reglas del tráfico.

The idiom "tira el leon" means throwing the lion, meaning showing brazen disregard in the most extreme disrespectful sense of the word. Somewhat like throwing caution to the wind but in the spirit of flipping off another driver who honks at you for cutting in front of them in traffic, and doing it with total disdain.

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Nunca había oído esta expresión. ¿Dónde la usan? – DGaleano Jun 20 at 14:42

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