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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

5
votes
4answers
3k views

Translating “Slow down!” (in informal contexts)

English WordReference translates "slow down" as disminuir la velocidad or desacelerar. But those sound pretty precise or technical to me. How would you translate "Slow down!" in other, more informal ...
5
votes
2answers
326 views

Origen de “mano” para denotar primero

Una expresión común en México es ¡pido mano! que quiere decir quiero ser el primero. De hecho, yo llegué a escuchar cutimano e incluso anticutimano para añadir énfasis. ¿De donde vienen estas tres ...
5
votes
1answer
605 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
414 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
2k 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
6k 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
170 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k 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
158 views

¿Por qué “tener cara” es malo? ¿Y por qué “descarado” significa lo mismo, siendo exactamente lo contrario?

Me he dado cuenta de un fenómeno curioso: tanto ser "descarado" como "tener cara", "tener cara dura", "ser un caradura" o "tener mucha cara" tiene mala connotación. ¿Acaso todo lo relacionado con la ...
4
votes
3answers
461 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
659 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
570 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
122 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
453 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
577 views

Meaning of “Eres touch?”

Saw this on Facebook today... what does it mean?
4
votes
2answers
558 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
355 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
1k 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
215 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
3k 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
135 views

Idiomatic translation of “only on days that end in 'y'”

In American English we use the idiom "only on days that end in 'y'" to playfully dismiss accusations of over-indulgence. The typical joke is: [wife]: "You spend too much time fishing!" [husband]: "I ...
3
votes
6answers
574 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
8answers
43k views

What does the word “pinche” mean?

What does the word pinche mean? Pinche loco! Pinche!
3
votes
3answers
2k 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
5answers
6k 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
4answers
28k 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
1answer
820 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
169 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
242 views

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

How do you translate the idiom "sound off" in Spanish?
3
votes
4answers
482 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
5answers
680 views

Translation of “Hoy hace mucho calor” in another way

Hoy hace mucho calor. I see that the translation for it is Today is very hot. But I think that sentence is very complex and difficult to language learners like me. So can we simply write ...
2
votes
3answers
276 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
4k 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
4answers
541 views

Equivalent of the idiom “feel free (to do something)”

For instance, If I wanted to say: Feel free to contact me Could I say the following? Por favor, contáctame cuando quieras Does this capture the essence of the idiom, or do any preferable ...
2
votes
4answers
866 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
209 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
171 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
1k 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
2answers
176 views

El significado de la expresión “fuera de foco”

Tengo aquí una canción, Persiana Americana, que fue cantada por uno de los grupos más importantes de la música latina Soda Stereo. Aquí está la letra de la rola : Yo te prefiero fuera de foco ...
2
votes
2answers
111 views

Como decir “for a while”

Let's say I want to say "On a typical day I read for a while, and then I go to bed." Would the best way to see this be: "En un día típico, yo leo un rato y después me acuesto". More specifically, ...
2
votes
4answers
121 views

Uso del pronombre “se” en “Se viene la Copa América”

Desde hace algunos años se ha vuelto muy frecuente en Chile la expresión "se viene...", con el significado de "ya viene" o "se acerca", sobre todo en publicidad y en el periodismo deportivo. Por ...
2
votes
1answer
2k 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
328 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
878 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
545 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
198 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
172 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
113 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
420 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
557 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 ...