An Alphabet of Spanish Idioms (N – Z)

Welcome to part 2 of our alphabet of idioms! (If you’re joining halfway through, make sure you don’t miss our Spanish idioms A – M!) When learning Spanish, it’s important to know how the locals actually speak. Hispanophones love to use quirky and traditional idioms to express themselves – they’re one of the best parts […]

Welcome to part 2 of our alphabet of idioms! (If you’re joining halfway through, make sure you don’t miss our Spanish idioms A – M!)

When learning Spanish, it’s important to know how the locals actually speak. Hispanophones love to use quirky and traditional idioms to express themselves – they’re one of the best parts of the Spanish language!

AIL Malaga – Spanish Language School have selected 26 of our favourites to form an alphabet – you’ll never be short of words once you know these! ???? For each idiom, you’ll see the expression, its literal translation, what it actually means, and an idiomatic English equivalent.

Let’s take a look at the second half of the alphabet… N – Z!

 

N – Q

No tener pelos en la lengua
To not have hair on the tongue
Meaning: To tell it like it is
Equivalent: To be a straight shooter

Otro gallo te cantaría
Another cockerel would crow for you
Meaning: Things would be different
Equivalent: It would have been a different story

Ponerse de mala leche
To get in bad milk
Meaning: To get into a bad mood
Equivalent: To get bent out of shape

Quedarse de piedra
To turn to stone
Meaning: To be stunned
Equivalent: To be gobsmacked

 

Revolver el gallinero
To stir the chicken
Meaning: To do something that makes trouble
Equivalent: To put the cat among the pigeons.

Ser pan comido
To be eaten bread
Meaning: To be very easy to do
Equivalent: To be a piece of cake

Tomar el pelo
To take the hair
Meaning: To trick someone in a good-natured way
Equivalent: To pull someone’s leg

Untar la mano de alguien
To grease someone’s hand
Meaning: To bribe someone
Equivalent: To grease someone’s palm

 

Vivir en el quinto pino

To live in the fifth pine tree
Meaning: To live in a remote place
Equivalent: To live in the middle of nowhere

(None for W – let’s have a Ser idiom instead!)
Ser más chulo que un ocho

To be cooler than an eight
Meaning: To be very cool
Equivalent: To be a cool cat

X – Hablar del sexo de los ángeles
To talk about the angels genders
Meaning: To talk about something pointless
Equivalent: To indulge in pointless discussion

¡Y vuelta el burro al trigo!
And the donkey keeps coming back to the wheat!
Meaning: Someone keeps coming back to the same topic
Equivalent: Same old story/Here we go again

Z – No se ganó Zamora en una hora
Zamora was not won in an hour
Meaning: Important things take time
Equivalent: Rome wasn’t built in a day

 

We hope you’ll find the idioms useful – you’ll be sure to impress your Spanish friends! Want to know more colloquial phrases? Don’t miss the first part of our idiom alphabet, and you can also check out our top 5 Spanish proverbs about friendship! ????

Continue your Spanish learning adventure in Malaga: a fun and friendly class environment, small groups, personalised attention are integral to every course in AIL Malaga – Spanish Language School’s large range of Spanish courses!

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