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 may not be a good translation. In spanish I could say 'molestar' or 'enojar' to say that I'm annoying or angering someone but thats not really the meaning I'm looking for.

In English 'to wind someone up' is to make them tense/nervous/excited (usually on purpose) or to taunt/tease them

Is there a good way to say this or a similar expression in Spanish?

1 Answer 1


The more general transaltion would be "provocar" There are a lot of more informal ways to say it, but I'm afraid they're very regional. In Spain you can say:

  • Pinchar: When you wind someone up with making fun of them with some offensive or delicate matter for them. You're aiming to make them uncomfortable.
  • Chinchar: When you wind someone up in a childish way. You're aiming to exasperate them.
  • Picar: Also used when you're trying to provoke so into doing something dangerous or ridiculous.
  • Buscar: This one is more used when someone is looking for a brawl. "Si me buscas me vas a encontrar" is a usual way to say someone to stop provoking.

Informal (As Cesar says in comments)

  • Tocar las narices.

Highly informal, even rude.

  • Tocar los huevos/cojones.
  • 2
    +1 "Tocar las narices" is also highly informal but not rude.
    – CesarGon
    Feb 3, 2012 at 14:29
  • 1
    @CesarGon right!! I knew I was foregetting something! Added.
    – Laura
    Feb 3, 2012 at 15:10
  • 1
    Joder la paciencia
    – César
    Feb 6, 2012 at 22:59

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