Austin Meusch

On a caffeine-fueled mission to make speaking assignments in world language classrooms as fast and easy as possible.

Introduction to Spanish Idioms with Links to Speakables

Jul 23, 2021 | 0 comments

What is an Idiom?

An idiom is a common phrase which means something different from its literal meaning but can be understood because of their popular use. Idioms are made of normal words that have a special meaning known to almost everyone.”

Source: Wikipedia


Introduction to Spanish Idioms

Every language has its own idioms and Spanish isn’t the exception. For language learners, idioms tend to be a big challenge, as they can be deceiving expressions. It doesn’t matter how many vocabulary words you have learned, the meaning of idioms doesn’t depend on the meaning of their words but on the context and cultural background. 

A proper use and a good understanding of idioms are signs of an advanced learner of the language. Studying Spanish idioms is a way to take your Spanish skills to the next level and dig deep into the most peculiar intricacies of the language. 


Why Should Students Learn Idioms?

When learning a new language idioms can be very confusing. Particularly when you hear them for the first time from a native speaker. Think of the common expression in the English “Piece of Cake”.

“That test was a piece of cake!”

How confusing is the literal meaning? Why would a test literally be a piece of cake? Not that I would complain.. In a sense, learning idioms is like learning new vocabulary words. Since the expressions have a meaning unrelated to their literal interpretation, language students will want to learn common idioms and commit them to memory to help speed up their road to becoming conversational.


Top 10 most common idioms that are easy to use in daily conversation ↗



1 Quien no arriesga, no gana  Who doesn’t risk, doesn’t win Nothing ventured, nothing gained
2 Estar como una cabra To be like a goat To be crazy
3 No buscarle las pulgas al perro Don’t look for fleas on the dog Let sleeping dogs lie
4 Feliz como unas castañuelas Happy as castanets Happy as a clam
5 No dejes para mañana lo que puedas hacer hoy Don’t leave for tomorrow that which you can do today Don’t put off till tomorrow what can be done today
6 Irse por las ramas To go by the branches To beat around the bush
7 Quien fue a Sevilla, perdidó su silla He who went to Sevilla, lost his seat You snooze, you loose
8 Hacer el mono To do the monkey To monkey around
9 Muchos generales para tan pocos soldados Many generals for so few soldiers Too many chiefs, not enough Indians
10 A caballo regalado no le mires el diente A gifted horse, don’t look at the teeth Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

Youtube Lessons



Spanish Idioms With Tener l ↗

English Spanish
to be cold tener frío
to be Succeed , to have success tener éxito
to be hot tener calor
a to have the floor tener la palabra
to be years olld tener años
to want , to Desire tener ganas
to be careful tener cuidado
to take the blame, to be at fault tener la culpa
to Be jealous estar celosos
to be envious tener envidia
to Have a (head) ache tener dolor de cabeza
to be hungry tener hambre


Spanish Idioms With Tener II ↗ 

English Spanish
to be Afraid of , to have fear of tener miedo de
to be ashamed tener verguenza
to be lucky tener suerte
to be in a rage , to be very angry tener rabia
to take someone for , to consider someone to be tener por
to be thirsty tener sed
to look bad tener mala cara
to have to do with tener que ver con
to be in a hurry tener prisa
to be sleepy tener sueño
to have a lot / a little / something / nothing to do tener mucho / poco / algo / nada que hacer
to be right tener razon
to take place tener lugar


Idioms with Llèvar, Meter and Poder ↗

English Spanish
to put one´s foot in one´s mouth meter la pata
to meddle meterse donde no te llaman
to make clear poner en claro
to carry ( something ) away llevar (algo)
to Put the cards on the table poner las cartas sobre la mesa
to Carry out llevar a cabo
to sue poner pleito
to take the opposite point of view tomar el punto de vista opuesto
to get along well / badly with llevarse bien / mal con
to star to ponerse a
to heap praise on someone alabar a alguien
to make look ridiculous hacer el ridículo
to snoop around meter las narices
to put in doubt poner en duda


Idioms with Prepositions I ↗

English Spanish
in the open air al aire libre
across a través de
to the right A la derecha
in a good mood de buen humor
probably a lo mejor
at the same time al mismo tiempo
on foot a pie
at the beginning al principio
inside out al reves
In the distance En la distancia
willingly de buena gana
at the beginning of al principios de
From now on De hoy en adelante
to the left A la izquierda
alone a solas
by day de día
by dint of a fuerza de
at the same time a la vez
in this way De esta manera


Idioms with Prepositions II ↗

English Spanish
every other day / week/month/ year días / semana / mes / año
really? ¿De Verdad?
on the other hand en cambio
straight ahead recto
in regard to en cuanto a
Standing De pie
by night por la noche
Nowhere, not anywhere por ninguna parte,
Right away en seguida
Suddenly de pronto
by no means de ninguna manera
in fact as a matter of fact en efecto
straight ahead derecho
everywhere por todas partes
in a bad mood de mal humor
anyway de todos modos
again de nuevo
unwillingly de mala gana
Suddenly de repente


Idioms with Quedar and Tomar ↗

English Spanish
to be left astonished quedar asombrado
to agree on quedar en
to take seriously tomar en serio
to be left penniless quedarse con el dia y la noche
to keep quedarse con
to take it easy tomarselo con calma
to pull someone´s leg tomarle enserio


Idioms with Hacer and Hay ↗

English Spanish
to pay attention to hecer caso
there is space hay espacio
it´s good / bad weather hace buen / mal tiempo
to play a part hacer un papel
to hurt oneself hacer daño
to become hacerse + profession
to be lacking hacer falta
to harm hacer daño
to take a trip hacer un viaje
to do good/ bad hacer el bien / el mal
it´s cold Hace frío
to become late hacerse tarde
it is Necessary es necesario
it´s windy Hace viento
it´s hot / warm hace calor


Idioms with Dar and Echar ↗

English Spanish
to shout dar gritos
to flatter echar flores
to burst out crying echarse a llorar
to feed dar de comer
to give up darse por vencido
to take a walk dar un paseo
to miss (a person or place) echar de menos
to run into dar con
to face dar cara
to give thanks dar las gracias
to strike the hour dar la hora
to lead to ( places ) dar a
to realize darse cuenta de
to give a hug , to embrace dar un abrazo
to shake hands darse la mano
to hurry darse prisa
to take a walk dar un vuelta
to blame echar la culpa




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