I have a simple question. I thought the above phrase meant "to clear your head", eg. "tengo que irme para despejarme (para sacudirme las moscas)". However, I think I am mistaken. Perhaps I am thinking of the English expression "to shake off the cobwebs".

It seems it may mean "to get rid of someone who annoys you". I cannot find a satisfactory definition. I cannot find it in a dictionary and I do not understand the DLE definition, e.g. "Apartar de sí los embarazos o estorbos."

Could someone please clarify its meaning and give examples how to use it?

1 Answer 1


The definition from the DLE is:

sacudirse alguien las moscas

  1. loc. verb. coloq. Apartar de sí los embarazos o estorbos.

Here "alguien" is the subject of the "sacudirse", not the object, i.e. it means that someone gets rid of obstacles or hindrances from herself ("de sí"), not to get rid of someone. Example:

se fue de compras con unas amigas para sacudirse las moscas

To see this is the way to read the dictionary, let us look at another more familiar entry:

tener alguien la sartén por el mango

  1. loc. verb. coloq. Ser dueño de la situación, poder decidir o mandar.

It is "someone has the upper hand" not "to have someone" or it is grammatically incorrect. Example:

Yo no puedo hacer nada , porque es él quien tiene la sartén por el mango.

"alguien" does not appear to be the subject because the dictionary uses the original form of the verb without the conjugation, so "alguien sacudirse" and "alguien tener" does not look familiar.

  • Helpful. I understand now about "alguien''. Also, I have learned a new phrase. I still am confused about the full meaning of ".....las moscas". Could you give examples how to use it if someone is annoying you and you want to get rid of them? Also, in your 1st example," se fue de compras..." ,does this mean to clear your head or what exactly does it mean in this context? Does the phrase just mean to get rid of someone annoying like a horse swishing away flies with his tail ? Thanks
    – Bluelion7
    Commented Nov 9, 2020 at 14:37
  • 1
    The other dictionary in my answer defines the phrase more simply and more clearly as "Quitar de la mente las preocupaciones", or as you said "clear your head". "Las moscas" is used figuratively for the annoying things that occupy you mind and you want to get rid of them from your mind. It does not referring to someone directly and physically.
    – puravidaso
    Commented Nov 9, 2020 at 15:29

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