Spanish proverbs ...

A collection of Spanish proverbs, sayings, maxims and idioms.

Con pan y vino se anda el camino.
With bread and wine is walked the road.

Camino (road) has the meaning of 'life'. Everything is better with food and drink.

De noche todos los gatos son pardos.
At night all cats are brown.

The translation normally given is that at night it is easy to conceal defects (in things) as everything appears the same. It could also be applied to people - which appears to be the usual meaning given in some other languages.

El que no llora no mama.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Perhaps a better translation would be 'don't ask, don't get'. I've never heard anyone use 'the squeaky wheel gets the grease'.

Para gustos hay colores.
For tastes, there are colours.

One man's meat is another mans posion or horses for courses. We all like different things. Some people like opera and others like rubgy.

Pedirle peras al olmo.
To ask for pears from an elm tree.

This has two meanings : to ask for something impossible, and a similar meaning to the english expression ‘to get blood out of a stone’.

The first meaning is clear as an olmo ‘elm’ can’t produce peras ‘pears’. It also can be given the translation of ‘to get blood out of a stone’.

Viven en las nubes.
They live in the clouds..

Their heads are in the clouds. They are away with the fairies, impractical, day dreamers and so on.

Los ojos son el espejo del alma.
The eyes are the mirror of the soul.

Look into someones eye and you will know them.

Pasar la noche en blanco.
To sleep badly.

Literal meaning: 'to pass the night in white'.

Patas arriba.
To be in a mess.

Literal meaning: patas arriba 'paws upwards'.

Examples: Mi vida está patas arriba 'my life is a mess' La casa esta patas arriba 'the house is a mess'.

Importar un pimiento.
To not matter at all.

Literal meaning: importar un pimiento 'to matter/bother a pepper'.

Example: Me importa un pimiento quien gana las elecciones 'It doesn't matter to me who wins the elections'.

Estar de mala leche.
To be in a bad mood.

Literal meaning: 'to be with bad milk'.

Example: Estoy de mala leche 'I'm in a bad mood'.

Leventarse con el pie izquierdo.
To get up on the wrong side of bed.

Literal meaning: 'to get up with the left foot'.

Ser un loro.
To be a chatterbox.

Literal meaning: 'to be a parrot'.

A gatas.
To be on all fours.

Literal meaning: 'as cats'.

Matar el gusanillo.
To have a snack .

Literal meaning: 'to feed the little worm'.

Ir al quinto pino.
To go a long way .

Literal meaning: 'to go to the fifth pine'.

Example: Fuimos al quinto pino 'We went a long way'.

Hay cuatro gatos.
There is hardly anyone there .

Literal meaning: 'there are four cats'.

Me suena a chino.
It's Greek to me.

Literal meaning: 'It sounds chinese'.

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Latin proverbs
Italian proverbs
Yiddish proverbs