10 Aug, 2022 @ 11:00
1 min read

QUE? Ten Spanish phrases that make no sense in English

confused Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash
Confused Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

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

Image result for fly swatting gif


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

Image result for putting in batteries gif

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

Image result for reindeer gif

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


Image result for small forehead gif

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

Image result for kicking door gif

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


Image result for the rock gif

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

Image result for hair pulling gif

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

Image result for its your fault gif

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.

Que onda?

Related image

Literal translation: What wave?
English equivalent: What’s up?

Poner la mano/las manos en el fuego

Image result for hand fire gif

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







Staff Reporter

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