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

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5
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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
3k 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
155 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
688 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
3answers
765 views

What does “a la orden” mean?

A friend of mine from Argentina keeps saying to me "a la orden" and I asked her what it meant and she couldn't explain it. What does it mean? My guess it means okay?
4
votes
2answers
723 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
300 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
475 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
1answer
105 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
372 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
1answer
947 views

Is there an equivalent idiom for “Slow and steady wins the race”?

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
337 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
319 views

Meaning of “Eres touch?”

Saw this on Facebook today... what does it mean?
4
votes
2answers
239 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
700 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
180 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
6answers
495 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
6answers
3k views

What does the word pinche mean?

What does the word pinche mean? Pinche loco! Pinche!
3
votes
4answers
3k 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
8k 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
300 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
17k 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
4answers
206 views

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

How do you translate the idiom "sound off" in Spanish?
3
votes
2answers
107 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
303 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
2answers
2k 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
169 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
132 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
752 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
922 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
220 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
344 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
340 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
141 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
50 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
102 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
238 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
356 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
123 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
228 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
872 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
122 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 ...
1
vote
6answers
200 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
5answers
34 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
220 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
121 views

Translation of “to play favorites”

What is the best Spanish translation of the English idiom "to play favorites" (as in favoring individuals in a group instead of treating everyone equally)?
1
vote
1answer
108 views

Duda sobre “escuálido” en el pronunciamiento de un Ministro

Viendo este pronunciamiento del Ministro de Educación de Venezuela http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKW8nloZAqQ en el 00:18 el dice estas palabras no es que vamos a sacar la gente de la pobreza, ...
1
vote
4answers
4k views

“¿Qué haciendo?” and “¿qué estás haciendo?”

What is the difference between "¿qué haciendo?" and "¿qué estás haciendo?" Do they mean 'How are you doing?' ¿Qué haciendo, loco? ¿Qué estás haciendo, loquillo?
1
vote
2answers
779 views

Translating “Me la paso pensándote”

In Wisin y Yandel's "Estoy Enamorado," the chorus contains the following line: Me la paso pensándote, nunca voy a soltarte What does "Me la paso pensándote" mean? Is "me" a reflexive or indirect ...
1
vote
3answers
733 views

To express nothing much (versus not much) can I say “nada mucho”?

I learned "no mucho" for not much, but when I went to Spain, I heard "nada mucho" in conversational Spanish. Specifically in Granada, where many would say "graNADA mucho" to "What's up" questions. I ...