Is there an equivalent phrase in Spanish for "the straw that broke the camel's back"?

The phrase usually refers to to the final thing that is added to a bunch of things to cause a large reaction and can be applied to nonphysical things like stress.

1 Answer 1


The most similar I can think of in Spanish would be

La gota que colma el vaso

The verb colmar (overfill) means

Llenar una medida, un cajón, un cesto, etc., de modo que lo que se echa en ellos exceda su capacidad y levante más que los bordes.

So the overall expression means "it was just a tiny drop of water, but the glass was already completely full to the brim and overflowed". This is something you'll use to convey "OK, I have been really patient, and this is the last thing I'm going to put up with!"

  • 4
    Just a clarification: overflew would mean that the glass flew over something; you probably wanted to use overflowed.
    – 0xdd
    Oct 25, 2018 at 19:05
  • 2
    In some Latin American countries we do use "colmar" but we also use "rebalsar" or "rebasar" (according to this page: udep.edu.pe/castellanoactual/… also "rebosar" is used) to indicate that not only has the glass be filled to the brim (which idea is conveyed by "colmar") but there is some overflowing because glass capacity has been exceeded. And we use the past tense: Es la gota que rebalsó el vaso.
    – Gustavson
    Oct 26, 2018 at 10:57
  • You laid the groundwork but didn't arrive at the conclusion with colmar -- don't you want to add "Eso fue el colmo"? Oct 28, 2018 at 3:40
  • @aparente001I don't think that is the necessary conclusion of the question. The question is the equivalent in Spanish of the given phrase. There is actually a preexisting question about translating "colmo" into English (which I guess made the question off-topic, since it was asking for a translation into English rather than a explanation of the meaning) How can I say “colmo” properly in English?. "Ser el colmo" could be another possibility, but I believe my suggestion to be the closest one.
    – Diego
    Oct 29, 2018 at 13:15
  • Also, from drae ser algo el colmo: "Haber llegado a tal punto que razonablemente no se puede superar." So, I believe this expression can convey "to be the last straw" but can convey more, also in a positive manner. "Esto es el colmo de la perfección" -> This is the ultimate perfection. (or _the height of_perfection). "El colmo de todo esto es que..." -> "The hell of it is...", which is not really what "last straw" conveys.
    – Diego
    Oct 29, 2018 at 13:23

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