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

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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.
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
1answer
216 views

Translation of “contra viento y marea”

What is the most idiomatic English translation of the Spanish phrase contra viento y marea?
3
votes
4answers
30k 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 ...
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)?
1
vote
2answers
157 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)?
0
votes
3answers
726 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 ...
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 ...
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
1answer
263 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
695 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
9k views

Why isn't “good morning” “buenas mañanas”?

"Good afternoon" is "buenas tardes", and "Good night/evening" is "buenas noches". Then why isn't "good morning" "buenas mañanas" instead of "buenos días"?
11
votes
4answers
7k views

What's the meaning of the expression “nada que ver”?

What's the meaning of the expression "nada que ver"? In which countries is used? Here are some examples: Lo que dices no tiene nada que ver con lo que estamos discutiendo. Conversation between ...
5
votes
1answer
634 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
16k views

Are there any differences between “de nada” and “por nada”?

Most of the time in all the Spanish speaking countries I've been in I've heard de nada as the reply to gracias or the equivalent of English you're welcome etc. But after a while I became conscious ...
4
votes
2answers
376 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
669 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
3k views

“Desde luego” meaning and etymology

Español Esta pregunta me recuerda a una frase similar, "desde luego", que no es eso literalmente, sino que significa "por supuesto" (según el DRAE): luego. [...] desde ~. loc. adv. ...
4
votes
2answers
479 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? ...
7
votes
3answers
620 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
173 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
935 views

Usage of “oso” to express embarrassment

I have heard the idiom ¡Que oso! ...used to express embarrassment by a former acquaintance from Colombia but have never met another Spanish speaker who uses this expression. My questions: ...
6
votes
1answer
992 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

How to translate “make it count”

This evening a friend saw a poster in English that said something like: If you have only one chance at opportunity, make it count. She asked me what it meant. She knew enough English to make out ...
6
votes
2answers
35k views

Forma correcta de “nisiquiera”

Al escribir siempre he tenido la duda de cuál es la manera apropiada del término o frase. ¿Es "ni si quiera", "ni siquiera" o todo junto "nisiquiera"?. When writing I've always worred about which ...
6
votes
2answers
559 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
208 views

How to translate “open source” and “free software” and keep the distinction?

In English, when describing software you say "open source" to refer to software that's source code has been made available under a license. "Free software" refers to 'truly free' software that can be ...
9
votes
4answers
7k views

How to translate the idiomatic expressions “I wish!” and “You wish!”

What's the best way to say "I wish!" as in... A: I hear you're a good dancer. B: Ha! I wish! Or... A: Will you help me move this piano? B: Ha! You wish! What is the best way to ...
7
votes
4answers
238 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

How to translate the idiom: “missing the point”?

What would be the correct way to translate into Spanish the idiom: "to miss the point"? I'm often tempted to write "perder el punto", but it doesn't sound quite right. For example: "To bring ...