There is a phrase which I think means to have teased someone, but which I would like to know the derivation for and history:

Sabía que eso la sacaba de sus casillas [She knew that I teased her?]

  • This must depend on which meaning of teasing you intend. It can be playful or it can be hurtful.
    – mdewey
    Aug 21, 2016 at 11:21

2 Answers 2


"Sacar de casillas" would be better translated to english as "grind her gears" or "drive her up the wall" and in some sense also "drive her crazy".

It is like a person that is usually under control of her temper but the actions of someone else can pull her out of balance and make her mad, then you would say "la saca de casillas"

"Casilla" has several meanings all related to something's place or a small box so if you get pushed out of your "place" (temper-wise) the you end up "fuera de casillas"

  • Casillas en Filipinas significa "baño" Aug 23, 2016 at 3:25

Sacar de las casillas means, as DGaleano says, to grind someone's gears, drive someone mad or make someone lose his temper or patience. To complement this I found a blog post (in Spanish) by a Language professor in Chile that cites an interesting origin for this expression:
According to the book El porqué de los dichos by José María Iribarren, sacar de las casillas originated in the game of tablas reales, which was similar to backgammon. Iribarren cites two entries from the old Diccionario de autoridades (1726-39):

Sacarle a uno de sus casillas. Metáphora tomada del juego del axedrez, que significa instar a alguno con importunidad, para que hable, o diga lo que no tiene gana, o precisarle por varios modos a que se enoje o descomponga.

That is,

a metaphor taken from the game of chess that means to annoyingly insist upon someone to make him speak, say what he does not want to or make him angry or upset through different means.

And then,

TABLAS. Se llama un juego, que se hace entre dos personas sobre un tabléro, que tiene doce casas à cada lado, huecas en forma de semicírculo (...) Juegase con dos dados, y segun los números, que salen, se juegan dos piezas, ò una misma, si halla casa hueca donde entrar; y si la halla ocupada con una pieza sola (que entonces se llama tabla) la puede echar fuera del juego, y ha de volver à entrar por el principio del tabléro.

That is,

TABLAS. A game for two players, played on a board with 12 hollow, semicircular slots [casas] on each side [...] It is played with two dice and, according to the numbers that come up, two pieces are moved, or just one if it can enter a slot; and if the slot is already occupied by a single piece (then called table), that piece will be taken out of the game and will need to enter the board again from the initial position.

Thus although the Diccionario de autoridades said that sacar de las casillas originated in chess, given the nature of the game and that casilla is the diminutive of casa, the metaphor is, according to Iribarren, more likely to have originated in the game of tablas reales.

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