WordReference translates 'tirar los tejos' as 'Hit on [somebody]' ['flirt with, try to seduce'].

The 'Diccionario de la lengua española' defines 'tirar los tejos' as:

  1. loc. verb. coloq. Insinuarle a alguien el interés que se tiene puesto en él, o manifestarle indirectamente lo que de él se espera.

which seems to mean 'indirectly show interest or expectations', but it lacks any sexual connotation.

Therefore, what does 'Tirar los tejos' really mean? Does it necessarily have a sexual connotation?


Means begin interested in someone and trying to pick up his/her attention, for anything. If I'm 'tirando los tejos' to someone, It can be understood as I'm interested for that person, mainly for my own & egoist interest.


According to wiktionary it means to show interest on a person and is only used in Spain.

The origin seems to be a game called tejo where you have to throw a piece of roof tile towards a stick to try to hit it down. The boy will throw the object in the direction of the female spectators to go and pick it up and use that excuse to go and talk to the ladies.

This expression is not used in hispanoamerica (Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala, México, Puerto Rico, Venezuela) where we use tirar/echar los perros instead.

  • And in this question there are other regional variations. – Rodrigo Oct 23 '16 at 14:51
  • 3
    It HAS sexual connotations, always. – Nox Oct 23 '16 at 16:31
  • NOT ALWAYS SEXUAL - See lagacetadesalamanca.es/opinion/2015/06/15/tirar-tejos/… "... eran de esperar estos pactos o acuerdos ... en ocasiones la política consiste en tirar los tejos, muchos tejos, en saber insinuar al otro el interés que se tiene puesto...Valen también fórmulas quizá menos emotivas y retrecheras, pero igualmente eficaces, del estilo de "Anda, Manolo, absteneos, ..." – user13560 Oct 23 '16 at 17:07
  • That's a bad parallelism. IMO. In a political contexto I would rather speak about to persuade. – user11977 Oct 23 '16 at 17:49
  • @user13566 It IS ALWAYS sexual, other thing is that someone take the phrase to make a metaphor, simile or other rethoric figure to exaggerate, dramatize or simply emphasise an agreement. As far as I know we are not speaking about rethoric figures, but the actua lmeaning of the phrase that have always sexual connotations. If we are speaking about more rethorical meanings, it can be used in hundreds of contexts, like almost all phrases, we'd never end. – Nox Oct 23 '16 at 19:14

It means to flirt with somebody. At least in Spain it has sexual connotations.

We also say:

Tirar la caña

(parallelism with fishing)

  • And tirar los trastos, and tirar ficha(s). – Yay Oct 24 '16 at 9:37

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