Recently I was describing the actions of my (Ecuadorian) wife to a friend:

[She] pulled out all the stops trying to cheer me up.

What would be an appropriate translation of the idiomatic "pull out all the stops" to Spanish?

To clarify, "pull out all the stops" means to not withhold anything when trying to accomplish something, i.e. to apply every available resource to a task in hopes of successfully accomplishing it.

From Wiktionary (link above):

To reserve or hold back nothing.

In Spanish, the "stops" are las paradas del órgano de viento.

  • 2
    Could you attempt to translate first? Also, it could be good to include here what the expression means (not just link to the wiki article).
    – Diego
    Apr 24, 2018 at 2:19

2 Answers 2


One expression that comes into my mind is the following:

quemar el último cartucho

  1. loc. verb. Emplear el último recurso en casos apurados.

It literally means that you used all the available ammunition trying to achieve something. So the example you proposed could be translated like this:

Quemó hasta el último cartucho tratando de animarme.

I see in examples in the CORDE and CREA corpora that the expression is most used when talking about real fights, wars, battles, but also figuratively. So you can consider that your wife in the example did fight a battle against your mood and use the expression.


When someone puts all the effort to accomplishing something we use the frase:

Poner/tirar toda la carne en el asador

It literally means "to put all the beef on the grill" but colloquially means that the person put everything he had to achieve something

In this case we could say "Ella estaba tratando de animarme y puso toda la carne en el asador para lograrlo"

A reference to this is this question on this same site.

For me quemar el ultimo cartucho means hacer el ultimo esfuerzo / to make the last effort meaning that you tried and tried and tried to your last effort while "poner toda la carne en el asador" means that from the beginning you put it all in, to get to the objective, so I think it is a better translation to "pulled out all the stops"

  • 2
    I agree, your translation may be more suitable in this case. Nonetheless, note that I use a modified version of the expression: quemó hasta el último cartucho, so it implies that not only the last round was used, but all the rounds.
    – Charlie
    Apr 24, 2018 at 13:49
  • 1
    Yes @Charlie I agree that in some cases both expressions can be used and they mean almost the same but I just wanted to point out that "for me" and as for the use we give it here "quemar hasta el ultimo cartucho" implies some persistence, (keep on going to the end) while "poner toda la carne en el asador" implies a one push with all you got. A subtle difference, but meaningful none the less.
    – DGaleano
    Apr 24, 2018 at 14:06
  • Wow, thank you, @DGaleano for your answer - nice to know this. Too bad I can't accept two answers here on SE but both yours and Charlie's are great responses.
    – pr1268
    Apr 25, 2018 at 12:26

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