Like any other language, Spanish is rich in dichos, or sayings. Sayings represent one of the most charming ways to impart sabiduría (wisdom) to future generations.
Sayings are great when learning new vocabulary, getting to know a new culture, and accessing basic truths to be applied in any kind of situation. Additionally, they make you sound more natural and let you spice up your repertorio lingüístico (linguistic repertoire).
For all these reasons and more, a language learning process should never be complete without learning them. So, let’s take a look at these nine common Spanish sayings.
1) A caballo regalado no se le mira el colmillo
Literal translation: Don’t look at the tooth of a gift horse.
English equivalent: Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
Meaning: Don’t ever look for flaws in something given as a present or donation.
2) A cada cochino le llega su sábado
Literal translation: Every pig has its Saturday.
English equivalent: Every turkey has its thanksgiving.
Meaning: In the end, you will get what you deserve.
3) Aunque la mona se vista de seda, mona se queda
Literal translation: Even if the monkey dresses in silk, she will still be a monkey.
English equivalent: You can put lipstick on a pig, put it is still a pig.
Meaning: Changing your appearance doesn’t change who you are at all.
4) Camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente
Literal translation: The shrimp that falls asleep is swept away by the current.
English equivalent: You snooze, you lose.
Meaning: Circumstances may completely overwhelm you if you stop being careful or alert.
5) Cuando el río suena, agua lleva (alternatively, piedras trae)
Literal translation: When the river makes noise, water (alternatively, stones) it carries.
English equivalent: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Meaning: When rumors are heard, there’s probably a figment of truth behind them.
6) Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres
Literal translation: Tell me who you hang out with and I’ll tell you who you are.
English equivalent: Birds of a feather flock together.
Meaning: Who you choose to spend time with may reflect who you are.
7) Guerra avisada no mata soldado… Y si lo mata es por descuidado
Literal translation: A war noticed won’t kill a soldier… And if it does, then he was careless.
English equivalent: Forewarned is forearmed; a danger foreseen is half avoided.
Meaning: It is always wise to be cautious and take measures before a perceived risk.
8) Ojos que no ven, corazón que no siente
Literal translation: Eyes that don’t see, heart that doesn’t feel.
English equivalent: Out of sight, out of mind.
Meaning: If you don’t see what’s happening, then you don’t think about it; what you don’t know can’t hurt you.
9) Quien se fue a Sevilla perdió su silla
Literal translation: Whoever went to Seville lost his seat.
English equivalent: Move your feet, lose your seat.
Meaning: Don’t let go of either an opportunity or a good situation, as it may be taken away by someone else.
Next time you hang out with your Spanish-speaking counterparts, make sure you include these sayings and wow them with your fluent Spanish skills.
Is there any equivalent of these sayings in your native language? Let me know in the comments below.
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