Set words, statements or phrases with meanings other than the literal sum of their parts.

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5
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1answer
503 views

Origin of the phrase “la quinta …” to denote an undesirable or faraway place

The Colombian phrase la quinta porra denotes an undesirable or faraway place. For example, ¡Váyase a la quinta porra! conveys the same meaning as Go to hell! The earliest use I could find ...
5
votes
2answers
376 views

What is the meaning of “melaza” in the song “Caras Lindas”?

This is the song. The word is translated by online lyrics, RAE and wordreference.com as molasses. But it doesn't make sense to me in the context. Somos la melaza que ríe Somos la melaza que ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

What is “ya va” in Venezuelan Spanish?

I heard the expression "llava" / "ya va" (?) being used in Venezuelan Spanish. It seems to have the meaning of "wait a moment", but my Mexican friend don't understand it. Does anyone who know what ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Definición de “pistear”

Hoy alguien usó la palabra pistear conmigo, en el contexto de una fiesta, o bebiendo. No puedo encontrar una definición relevante. DRAE tiene dos definiciones regionales: tr. El Salv. Pagar ...
5
votes
1answer
159 views

Usage of “donde la espalda cambia de nombre”

In this answer to this previous question of mine, the answerer used the phrase Antonio se hirió donde la espalda cambia de nombre. as an example of a milder version of Antonio se hirió en ...
5
votes
4answers
844 views

Why does “madre” have so many different meanings?

In Mexican spanish at least, I can think the following (I may be forgetting some): Andar hasta la madre ~ Being really drunk Estar hasta la madre ~ Being really far | Being sick/tired of ...
4
votes
2answers
896 views

Translation of “to talk behind someone's back”

What is the typical Spanish translation of the English idiom "to talk behind someone's back" (as in saying something bad about another person to others instead of to them directly)?
4
votes
3answers
359 views

Comer y beber como animales

En todos los idiomas se producen comparaciones con animales para expresar que una persona come o bebe mucho. En inglés, conozco las expresiones to drink like a fish y to eat like a horse. En España ...
4
votes
5answers
538 views

How can I translate the expression “sour grapes” to Spanish?

From the Oxford dictionary: sour grapes used to refer to an attitude in which someone adopts a negative attitude to something because they cannot have it themselves: government officials ...
4
votes
5answers
190 views

Best ways to say “on short notice”?

I'm looking for idiomatic expressions (particularly from Mexico and other parts of Latin America) to say things like "Sorry for telling you about this at/on such short notice." ... that is, how do ...
4
votes
1answer
111 views

¿Es ñube una forma antigua de nube?

Al sur de la Ciudad de Mexico he escuchado las palabras ñube y ñudo en lugar de nube y nudo. Debido a otros modismos escuchados de la misma persona, tiendo a pensar que las palabras citadas son ...
4
votes
2answers
373 views

Understanding “desde ya”

I have heard the phrase "desde ya" used to mean "in advance." Literally, it means "since already." How is it understood to mean "in advance," or is it simply an idiom with a nonsense literal meaning? ...
4
votes
1answer
398 views

Meaning of “Eres touch?”

Saw this on Facebook today... what does it mean?
4
votes
2answers
459 views

Cómo decir “college dropout”?

Aparentemente no hay una traducción exacta del frase inglés "college dropout" ... la mejor que podria encontrar es "estudiante que abandona la universidad antes de graduarse", cual me parece ...
4
votes
2answers
264 views

Translation of “Under Pressure” — Queen song title

Today I heard Under Pressure by Queen on the radio. After the song, the DJ announced the song as Alta Presión. That sounds more to me like "High Pressure" than "Under Pressure." I would have ...
4
votes
5answers
812 views

Translation of “guilt trip”

How can I translate the concept of a "guilt trip" into Spanish? The Free Dictionary provides this definition: guilt trip n. Informal A usually prolonged feeling of guilt or culpability. ...
4
votes
2answers
193 views

Is there an idiomatic equivalent in Spanish for “to have other fish to fry”

Is there an idiomatic equivalent in Spanish for “to have other fish to fry”? have other fish to fry: "To have more important things to do" In the two romance languages I am familiar with, this ...
3
votes
7answers
2k views

¿Cómo se dice “Shit happens” en castellano?

A : Lo siento. Cometo muchos errores cuando aprendo castellano. B: Shit happens Como se dice "Shit happens" en castellano?
3
votes
6answers
524 views

Como se dice “ what's the use” en castellano?

que es el uso, si tu compras una guitarra y tu no vas a tocarla? What's the use of buying a guitar if you're not going to play it ? Es la expresión " que es el uso" correcta?
3
votes
7answers
12k views

What does the word “pinche” mean?

What does the word pinche mean? Pinche loco! Pinche!
3
votes
3answers
1k views

What does “nano” mean in Spain?

What does "nano" mean in Spain? Is it an offense to call somebody "nano"? Somebody in Spain called me "nano" and I don't know what it means. Hola, nano, que tal todo?
3
votes
4answers
4k views

Meaning of “andar de vago(a)”

I have heard this phrase, and several similar around the word "vago", but I don't really understand what it means. The word "vago" seems to translate directly to "vague"... But what does this sort of ...
3
votes
2answers
11k views

¿Cómo se dice, “How's it going”?

En inglés, se puede utilizar la expresión, "How's it going?" como una manera de preguntar cómo está alguien. La frase es informal y tiene un significado similar al "¿Cómo estás?" Sin embargo, cuando ...
3
votes
1answer
516 views

¿Cuál es el origen del modismo “es equis” para decir que algo no es malo ni bueno, sino “más o menos”?

Una amiga de Monterrey, México a veces dice "Ah, es equis" para decir que no le apasiona cierta cosa. Ejemplo: A: ¿Te gustan los tacos que se venden en la esquina? B: Meeh... son equis. ...
3
votes
2answers
20k views

Translation of “ni modo”

The phrase ni modo is used in many varieties of Spanish to mean many different things. What are its possible meanings? Which meaning is most common (i.e. which meaning would you assume if ni modo was ...
3
votes
2answers
120 views

Is there an expression for “turn of phrase” in Spanish?

Something with a little more of the poetic flavor of "turn of phrase" than, say, "forma de hablar" (manner of speaking / figure of speech) or "expresión", that is. To clarify, I'm thinking of this ...
3
votes
4answers
216 views

How do you translate the idiom “sound off” in Spanish?

How do you translate the idiom "sound off" in Spanish?
3
votes
4answers
371 views

What does “alma sucia” mean?

What does it mean? I've checked the literal meaning with Google: dirty soul I was looking for something more elegant, that shows its tone. Is it an idiom?
2
votes
3answers
219 views

How to translate different English meanings of “work”

I've been struggling lately in translating the English concept of work. I am familiar with trabajar but I was told only to use that to describe a physical action. Like so: The man is working. -- ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

Translation of “What goes around comes around”

What is the best Spanish translation of the English idiom, What goes around comes around?
2
votes
1answer
186 views

'Le faltan tamaños'

Estaba escuchando un podcast de la BBC acerca del auge en la economia industrial en Mexico y en una parte estaban haciendo entrevistas con dueños de los tianguis en el mercado Tepito. Para los que no ...
2
votes
4answers
145 views

On the fly / sobre la marcha

Still with software science translations.. Now I'm coming to you with this expression that have always bothered me: "on the fly" How the hood would you translate that elegantly to spanish? It feels ...
2
votes
3answers
832 views

Translation of “I rest my case”

In English, the phrase "I rest my case" can be used in a conversation by one person whose point has just been proven by the other person. In a legal sense, it would mean that a lawyer has concluded ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

“A mi lado” o “Al lado mío”

Yo sé que lo más correcto es decir "a mi lado", pero en la región de donde vengo, es habitual decir "al lado mío". Ahora vivo en el extranjero y mucha gente se extraña de la expresión y me dicen que ...
2
votes
3answers
266 views

Analogous-sounding spanish words from english to avoid using? [closed]

There was once an incident as a kid where I was acting foolish somehow at the dinner table talking with my brother, who maybe didn't care that much anyways as to what I was doing. My grandfather, ...
2
votes
4answers
512 views

¿Qué significa “nariz de bola”?

Hoy en chat, una amiga me saludó con: Hola hola nariz de bola! La pregunté que quería decir, y solo me dijo que es un saludo agredable. Pero todavía quiero saber que significa. ¿Es una frase ...
2
votes
4answers
412 views

Stir the pot, in American Spanish

What is the correct way to express this idiomatic expression? -- Stir the pot -- My goal is to say something like "she stirs the pot even more by inviting this person to her house." I would imagine ...
2
votes
1answer
159 views

Translation of “contra viento y marea”

What is the most idiomatic English translation of the Spanish phrase contra viento y marea?
2
votes
1answer
97 views

“Decir mucho o muy poco de algo”

La expresión "Eso dice mucho de él" o "Eso dice muy poco de él", son diferentes en forma, pero ¿se utilizan para el mismo significado? ¿Son expresiones sinónimas o tienen matices distintos? Si los ...
2
votes
2answers
106 views

How to translate “speak one's piece”?

The title says it all, how do you say "speak one's piece"[1] in Spanish? [1] Speak your piece means "state your opinion or view".
2
votes
1answer
298 views

Definition of “burris”

What is the meaning of burris? RAE and Google are no help. It seems to be a very slang term, and from context it relates to humor or sarcasm. It may be a Mexican term.
2
votes
1answer
418 views

Translation of the idiom: “To wind (somebody) up”

My question is similar to that of jrdioko's "to wind up (doing something)" However the expression I'm looking for is: "To wind (somebody) up" I know this is an idiomatic expression so there may or ...
2
votes
2answers
132 views

Translation of “in a pickle” and related phrases

In English there are several idioms or phrases that describe being in the midst of a very difficult situation: in a pickle in a quandary in a predicament in between a rock and a hard place How ...
2
votes
2answers
44 views

“Con matices” meaning and usage

So I'm reading this article on El País and I bumped into a phrase which sounds a little weird (even though I can guess the meaning). A ver, con matices. The closest thing that comes to mind is ...
2
votes
2answers
275 views

¿Qué quiere decir “engatillado”?

Sé lo que dice el RAE sobre la palabra. Sobre los animales y sobre la chapa. Pero cuando alguien me dice: Chepe estabas engatillado! Eso ¿qué quiere decir? La expresión viene de Colombia.
2
votes
1answer
1k views

¿De dónde viene la expresión “en capilla ardiente”?

Soy de Guatemala y he escuchado muchas veces la expresión "en capilla ardiente" principalmente cuando una persona está a punto de contraer nupcias se le dice "estas en capilla ardiente". Me parece ...
2
votes
1answer
152 views

Translating “paying one's (final) respects”

In English, if someone visits a grave or goes to a funeral of someone who has died, we can say he is going "to pay his respects" or "to pay his last respects." While it's hard to explain what this ...
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vote
6answers
229 views

“Fine line between” in Spanish?

How do I say in Spanish "there's a fine line between" something and something else? As in "the difference is not clear-cut" or "it's not black & white". It feels that something like "no hay ...
1
vote
1answer
242 views

Spanish for “Of course”

As I remember from my basic Spanish class, my teacher used to use the phrase Claro que si for the English phrase Of course. But, most of the translators like Google translate and all show the ...
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vote
3answers
170 views

Origen y uso de “buen provecho” en Puerto Rico - Local Use and Meaning

At a restaurant, it is customary for the waiter or waitress to say buen provecho to wish us good eating. I considered it roughly the same as bon apetit in French or English. However, I started ...