LEARNING another language is never easy, but as expats, we should at least give it a try.
But whether you’re beginner or near fluency, there are some phrases that will always leave you scratching your head.
Here are 13 phrases that will have you sounding like a true native, even if you’re not quite sure of what they mean.
Por si las moscas
Literal translation: For if the flies
English equivalent: Just in case
Example: No parece tan frio, pero tomare un abrigo, por si las moscas.
Translation: It doesn’t seem that cold, but I will take a coat, just in case.
Poner las Pilas
Literal translation: Put batteries in
English equivalent: Get ready / Wake up or be alert
Example: Si quieres hacerlo bien en tu examen, poner las pilas
Translation: If you want to do well in your exam, put in your batteries
Montar cachos / Poner los cuernos
Literal translation: To put horns on someone
English equivalent: To cheat or be unfaithful
Example: Estoy preocupado de que me ponga los cuernos
Translation: I am worried that he will cheat on me
No tener dos dedos de frente
Literal: Not having two fingers of forehead
Used as: They are not smart or are stupid
Example: El fallo su prueba de manejo porque no tiene dos dedos de frente
Translation: He failed his driving test because he’s not smart
Sacar de quicio
Literal translation: Take out of the doorjamb or frame.
English equivalent: Exasperates
Example: Me saca de quicio cuando mis hijos me ignoran
Translation: It exasperates me when my children ignore me
Sacar la piedra
Literal translation: Take the rock out (of someone)
English equivalent: Frustrate / Upset or cause anger
Example: Su actitud me sacó la piedra
Translation: Her attitude really angered me
Tomar el pelo
Literal translation: Grab or drink the hair
English equivalent: To kid or fool someone, similar to pull someone’s leg
Example: Mi esposo estaba tomando el pelo cuando dijo que olvido que era mi cumpleaños
Translation: My husband was pulling my leg when he said he forgot it was my birthday
Echar el muerto
Literal translation: Throw the deceased
English equivalent: To place the blame or put the responsibility on someone else.
Example: Yo no destroce el plato, no me eches ese muerto a mi.
Translation: I didn’t smash the plate, don’t blame me.
Literal translation: What wave?
English equivalent: What’s up?
Poner la mano/las manos en el fuego
Literal translation: Put your hands in the fire
English equivalent: Be 100% sure of something or have total trust in someone
Example: Pongo las manos en el fuego que él no me traiciono
Translation: I’m 100% sure he didn’t betray me
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