I'm watching the first episode of La Reina del Sur, for the sake of developing listening comprehension.

In one scene, a man tells his woman:

Eso nos tocó vivir.

What does this mean? I don't trust Google translate for this one.

Tocar seems to be one of those words that is used in a plethora of ways.

  • Because of the context means something like all the conditions you have for living, can be in an ugly house, constant conflicts, problems, etc.
    – Phi
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 19:47

3 Answers 3


Indeed, the verb tocar has (according to the Diccionario de la Lengua Española) 28 different meanings. The one you are seeking is this:

  1. intr. Dicho de una cosa: Caer en suerte.

A typical sentence as an example of this meaning is this:

¡Me ha tocado la lotería! (I've won the lottery!)

Now think about life: nobody chooses his/her birth day or birth place. The day and place you are born come to you as a kind of lottery, and you can do nothing to change that. So the time in which you live is the result of that lottery. And the same happens with the situations you live in your life: you happen to be in some place, in some time, and you end up living something that you may not have chosen to live, but you have to.

So the sentence can be translated as something like:

We were chosen to live that.
That we had to live.

It's kind of a conformist view of the past events in your life.

  • For more extremely common verbs related to luck and fate, check out also salir with the meaning of "to turn out (a certain way)" and sacar with the meaning of "to get (as your lot, as a prize)". This is probably a figurative reference to the act of taking out a number or token in a lottery.
    – pablodf76
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 16:46

In addition to Definition 24, I also find 23 somewhat helpful:

intr. Dicho de una parte o porción de algo que se reparte entre varios o les es común: Caber o pertenecer.

If you are playing a card game or a board game, and someone loses track and doesn't realize it's his turn, you could say:

José, te toca.

Which means, José, it's your turn, or, the turn order has gotten to you.

If you are cutting up a cherry pie into equal portions, and one child complains that he didn't get enough, you could say:

A cada quien le toca la octava parte.

Which means, everybody gets one-eighth, or, one-eighth goes to each person.

Your sentence is similar. I would think of it like this:

We lived through that.

For example, if my son is studying the Vietnam War era, I might sadly tell him, "I lived through that." Meaning, that war was my turn to live through. Whereas my mother lived through World War II.


I would translate it as:

That's our lot

(That is what what luck/fate/God has given us in life)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.