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

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6
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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 ...
7
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
132 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Meaning of “que ni que”

What is the meaning of "que ni que?" I heard it in Mexico while conversing with a friend, when I made the comment: Solo hay una manera de saberlo, no? And the response was: Eso que ni que! ...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

Meaning of “Me cae gordo”

I know the meaning of the phrase "Me cae bien": I like him/her (in a strictly platonic sense), or He leaves a good impression But recently I have heard the phrase Me cae gordo (in Mexico). It's ...
4
votes
1answer
710 views

Meaning of “Eres touch?”

Saw this on Facebook today... what does it mean?
2
votes
1answer
556 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.
7
votes
2answers
670 views

¿Es redundante la expresión “suele ser frecuente”?

Español He oído a menudo la expresión “suele ser frecuente”. ¿Es redundante? ¿Suena bien a pesar de la redundancia? ¿O bien suena mal y sería mejor decir solo “es frecuente”? Por ejemplo: Suele ...
2
votes
4answers
210 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
4answers
706 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
589 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?
6
votes
2answers
619 views

¿Qué significa “la tercera edad”?

Una amiga me dijo: Estoy a cargo de mamá que es una señora de la tercera edad. ¿Qué significa "la tercera edad"?
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Origen de la expresión “tener más moral que el Alcoyano”

Cuando alguien no se da por vencido y sigue insistiendo a veces en España se dice tienes más moral que el Alcoyano. Alcoyano es el gentilicio de Alcoy (provincia de Alicante), pero ¿cúal es el origen ...
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 ...
4
votes
5answers
2k 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. ...
7
votes
2answers
216 views

¿En qué países se utiliza la expresión “colgar el sambenito”?

Como resultado de una pregunta anterior relacionada con el concepto de culpabilidad (guilt trip), surgió la expresión (frecuente en España) "colgar el sambenito", que significa "culpar a alguien ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

¿Qué significa “de pe a pa”?

¿Cúal es el significado de la siguiente expresión "de pe a pa"? Por ejemplo: Tienes que aprenderte esto de pe a pa.
17
votes
5answers
1k views

Is there a Spanish equivalent to “-ish”?

In English, we often add "-ish" to the end of a word to make it less exact. Here are some examples: I'll be there at 5:00ish. The shirt was a reddish color. The woman appeared to be 50ish. ...
0
votes
3answers
799 views

Interpretation of quotes or famous sayings [closed]

I know you can't translate everything directly, sometimes it doesn't make sense, specially when it comes from quotes. What would be the best intepretation of the following quotes?: What goes ...
9
votes
2answers
307 views

What would be a good translation of “to go well with”?

How could one translate the expression "to go well with" in Spanish? For example: Tequila shots go well with strawberry ice cream.
4
votes
2answers
255 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
8k views

What is the preferred way of saying “I have to go”?

English As far as I can tell there are two ways to say, "I have to go." Tengo que ir. Tengo ir. Is the second way even right? And if so, which one is the preferred way to say, "I have ...
4
votes
3answers
552 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
535 views

Traduccion para “as far as I can tell” / Translation for “as far as I can tell”

Español Como hispanoparlante nativo y, yo considero, con un alto nivel en el manejo del Inglés, varias veces tengo dificultad para traducir expresiones de uso común y me acaba de pasar cuando quise ...
6
votes
4answers
195 views

Ironic constructions in Spanish

English As part of my masters in linguistics, I am taking a course on the subject of irony. We were given examples of sentences that are most likely ironic, as the English sentence "he is not ...
5
votes
4answers
4k 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
462 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
453 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
6k views

Translating “looking forward to”

In English, we often used the phrase looking forward to when we are excited about something in the future: I'm looking forward to seeing you next week! I'm really looking forward to finals ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the meaning of the phrase “¿Cómo ves?”?

I often hear (or read in online chats) people say ¿Cómo ves?, typically after the end of an explanation of something. What does this really mean? It's phrased as a question, but rarely does it seem ...
6
votes
2answers
903 views

Translation: “so” to begin a sentence

So in English I often start sentences with the word 'so'. Often I do this when beginning an explanation, but there are heaps of other uses too, like when telling a story or when expecting an answer ...
9
votes
1answer
240 views

Plug vs Socket: Interchangeable?

Many dictionaries that I have looked at online seem to use enchufe as a word that is interchangeable for the English words plug and socket, which are two related, but distinct objects. Some ...
2
votes
1answer
269 views

Translation of “contra viento y marea”

What is the most idiomatic English translation of the Spanish phrase contra viento y marea?
5
votes
3answers
724 views

Translations of 'anyway'

I spoke with a friend that I haven't spoken to in a long time. He started with a question about a test he is having. After I answered the question, I wanted to ask him: "How have you been anyway?" ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What's the meaning of “Y yo voy y me lo creo”?

What's the meaning of "Y yo voy y me lo creo"? I encountered it in a Spanish novel. With 146,000 Google.es hits, it seems to be a set expression. Context helps, but doesn't remove all doubts.
6
votes
2answers
3k views

What does the “lo” in “pasarlo bien” refer to?

The phrase pasarlo bien means something like "to have a good time" in sentences like, "Lo pasamos muy bien anoche." What does the "lo" in this phrase refer to? Does it replace an actual noun, or is it ...
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
1answer
698 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
259 views

Is there a translation for “He thumbed his nose at them”?

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? Edit: adding example. Many ...
1
vote
2answers
1k 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
2answers
177 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)?
4
votes
2answers
2k 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)?
2
votes
1answer
378 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
678 views

Idiomatic translation of “Dame tu luz”?

In the song Pequeño Amor by the Chiquitas, there is the following chorus: Pequeño amor, por siempre tú pequeño amor, dame tu luz The song is a duet, and the above is sung by members of the ...
5
votes
1answer
721 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
744 views

Origin and use of “echar de menos”

I've always found peculiar that the phrase echar de menos is synonymous of the verb extrañar. For example: Te echaré de menos. is equivalent to: Te extrañaré. Based on TV, its use is most ...
4
votes
2answers
556 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? ...
5
votes
1answer
180 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
620 views

How should we translate “everything but the kitchen sink” or “the whole enchilada”?

There is an idiom that is popular (and old) in English that states "everything but the kitchen sink". This is a phrase that means "everything that could be conceived". Som examples: "I realized ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

How to interpret “dar a” or “dar a conocer”?

I only know "dar" in its literal sense of "to give". And I know "conocer" in its literal sense of "to know" or "to get to know". But in reading Cien años de soledad I came to this passage: ... y ...