Popular Spanish expressions with different meanings

If you are studying Spanish you will have noticed that it is a language rich in vocabulary. There are many words that mean the same thing (synonyms) and very different ways of saying something. Different words or expressions can be used to say the same thing.
When you have a good level of Spanish, you will see how there are even expressions that are said in the same way, but the meaning is different. Today we talk about Spanish expressions with different meanings.



Popular Spanish expressions to learn

Some of them have a direct equivalent in other languages, while others are practically impossible to translate. In some cases, you can guess the meaning of these Spanish sayings by hearing them in the context of a conversation, but in many others it is impossible to understand them if you have not heard them before, even if you can speak Spanish very well.

  • Ser un gallina: the literal translation is "to be a hen", but what he means is be cowardly.
  • Ser la oveja negra. "to be the black sheep", but actually this Spanish expression is used to mean "to be the one who does not succeed".
  • Estar como una cabra: this popular expression means "to be like a goat". It´s  often used to say: "you're crazy".
  • No ver tres en un burro: Literally this means "not being able to see three on a donkey", but actually said when you want to explain that someone has bad eyesight or can't see properly.
  • Tener memoria de pez: "To have the memory of a fish", like Dory in "Finding Nemo". But when you say this phrase you really mean that you have a bad memory.
  • Dar calabazas. "To give pumpkins to someone". It is a very popular saying in Spanish to say when someone rejects you, when you want to flirt with someone and they don't listen to you.
  • Lavarse las manos. "To wash your hands". Besides being the obvious meaning, this Spanish expression  is used to say someone who shirks a responsibility. Who does not get involved in a matter.
  • Andar con pies de plomo: It´s "to walk with lead feet", but the Spanish use it to say that someone is being careful.