I have learned that in many parts of Mexico this is a commonly used expression meaning to go to sleep:

Me voy a echar un coyotito.

¿Por qué no echas un coyotito?

Is this expression recognized outside of Mexico (or everywhere in Mexico)? Also, I am curious to learn its origin. Literally it translates into to throw a little coyote which doesn't seem to have anything to do with sleeping whatever way I look at it. What's the backstory here?

  • 2
    Definitely is not used in Spain (I don't think we have coyotes there). Are coyotes nocturnal? If so they would probably sleep during the day, and earn a reputation as "good sleepers" for those who are sleeping while the coyote is active (like owls have a reputation for being always watching or awake at night). Thus, some speakers would force "echar un coyotito" (it would actually make more sense if it was "echarse como un coyotito) for "echar una siesta".
    – Diego
    Oct 3, 2015 at 18:40
  • Sounds plausible, I'd say. But even so, echar means to throw and that doesn't make sense, does it? I mean, why would you throw a nocturnal critter in order to get a nap? hehehe
    – TheLearner
    Oct 3, 2015 at 20:48
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    Oh, maybe I didn't understand what you question was about. From the DRAE, echar entry #25 "Junto con algunos nombres, tiene la significación de los verbos que se forman de ellos o la de otros equivalentes. Echar maldiciones, maldecir; echar suertes, sortear; echar un cigarro, fumarlo; echar un sueño, dormir; echar la siesta, sestear." "Echar" can mean more that just "to throw". So, it is not only the movement of tossing or throwing something away, but to give leverage to something, start something, etc.
    – Diego
    Oct 4, 2015 at 1:25
  • 1
    Throw can be translated as "lanzar" or "echar". The first is similar to the english, the second is a bit different.
    – amchacon
    Oct 6, 2015 at 10:04

3 Answers 3


You question is if this expression is recognized outside Mexico and I can say that in Colombia it is not used. From what TheLearner said it is not used in Spain either so I guess you should use more generic forms like:

me voy a echar una siesta

voy a hacer una siesta/siestecita

me voy a dormir

By the way, "echar" in this context means "to do" and not "to throw". I can imagine this one is not easy to understand for non native speakers and it is difficult also for me to explain it, but "echar" is sometimes used kind of like a reflexive, like to express something you do upon yourself or by yourself. i.e. Me voy a **echar** una comidita meaning I'm going to get myself something small to eat.


"Echarse un coyotito" means "To take a nap" just like the coyotes do during day time, but this must happen in an unconspicuos place, if you get caught you don't say "me estaba echando una siesta" you say "me estaba echando un coyotito".


I just now heard this expression used in the telenovela "La Rosa de Guadalupe", which, by the very name, very much suggests that the telenovela was made in Mexico. In the telenovela an office worker whispered to a co-worker "Me voy a echar un coyotito" and proceeded to lay his head down on his desk behind a partition OUT OF SIGHT of his bosses. So answer # 2, explaining that 'echarse un coyotito' is a Mexicanismo meaning, essentially, "to take a FURTIVE nap", is a very fitting explanation of the expression.

  • That does not really answer the question about the origins of the expression or if it is used outside Mexico.
    – mdewey
    Jan 14, 2021 at 11:22

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