Funny Translations of Spanish Phrases
Sayings in any language are often weird, but things get weirder — read, funnier — when you translate them.
Spanish has many colorful and creative sayings that are great. When you translate them, hilarity and confusion ensue. But don’t worry. You can laugh your head off and learn some useful phrases to impress native speakers.
Here are funny translations of Spanish phrases that will have you rolling on the floor.
To Throw the House Out Of the Window
Although this sounds like someone would trash their house in a fit of rage, it’s actually the opposite. This phrase is used when someone spares absolutely no expense.
Why throwing away your house would come to mean this is anybody’s guess.
They Think They’re the Last Coke in the Desert
If you were the last Coke in a desert, everybody would want you. If you believe you're the last Coke of the desert, you think everyone wants you.
Personally, we'd prefer water over Coke if we were in the desert. Regardless, people who think they're all that are the worst.
A Donkey Talking About Ears
Donkeys have large ears, so they’re in no position to criticize anyone else’s big ears.
This phrase is the equivalent of "the pot calling the kettle black" and is the perfect comeback for family reunions when relatives are criticizing you for things they do.
They Are Good Wave
Mexicans use this to say someone is nice and agreeable. It makes a lot of sense if you imagine a surfer vibe.
A good wave is chill and fun.
They're a Good Potato
In other countries, if you want to say someone is nice, you can call them a good potato. Though hilariously random, a good potato is always pleasant.
If a good potato came to life, we’d definitely want to hang out with them.
You Don’t Know Potato About This
On the flip side, if you don’t know potato about something, it means you’re completely clueless about it.
This saying is a harsh way of barking back at someone who is trying to chime in when they don’t understand the situation.
Throw Someone the Dogs
This sounds a bit harsh in English, but it’s actually about romance. This is a crass way of saying you’re flirting or showing interest in someone.
We don’t know why dogs were involved. Maybe because many guys try to flirt as aggressively as dogs bark?
To Give Papaya
This very Colombian saying is used every time you put yourself in harm’s way or make it easy for someone to steal from you.
For example, if you’re speaking loudly on your iPhone while on a public bus, you’re giving papaya since you’re advertising to everyone that you have an expensive phone.
It’s a little messed up to blame people for getting robbed or tricked, but it makes for a funny saying.
Even If the Monkey Dresses in Silk, It's Still a Monkey
This is one of the most universally common sayings in Hispanic countries — that is, Spanish-speaking Latin American countries and Spain.
It basically means that you can’t polish a turd. Though we like the Spanish way of saying it better.
With Money, the Dog Dances
Would a dog dance for money? Probably not, but sometimes you need hyperbole to drive the point home.
In this world, everything has a price.
Give Me Bread and Call Me Dumb
If you just want someone to give you what you want and don’t care what they say or think about you afterward, this is the phrase you should use.
Especially if the "bread" you’re getting is money, oftentimes you don’t mind being the dancing dog.
You’re Eating Flies
When someone is yapping away without getting to the point, you can express your frustration by telling them they’re eating flies.
Basically, it’s a semi-rude way of saying they have their mouth open for so long, flies are going to come in.
Put the Leg In
If you mess up and want to own up to it, don’t just say you’re sorry. Be a little more original by acknowledging that you put your leg in. Where? Nobody knows, but you put it in.
What makes this saying so great is that "pata" is the word used not for humans, but for either the legs of an animal or the legs of furniture.
So you’re not just saying you made a mistake, but low-key saying you’re an animal for doing it.
Go Slowly 'Cause I’m in a Rush
What? Usually we want someone to go fast when we’re in a rush, which is precisely why we love this oxymoronic phrase.
We all know that sometimes doing things carelessly can cause us to waste even more time, as we’re prone to making mistakes.
This saying is useful when you want to caution someone against "putting their leg in" because you don’t have time to go and fix things.
To Find Your Half-Orange
Most people in this world dream of finding their half-orange.
In English, we’d just say we’re looking for our other half, but where’s the fun in that?
We’d rather imagine a world of half oranges running around trying to see which other half-orange fits them.
Between Joke and Joke, the Truth Peeks In
Is there a better way to call out passive-aggressive "jokes" than with an old refrain?
We don’t think so, which is why this is one of our favorite Spanish phrases.
Some of its greatness is lost in translation, since rhymes make everything better.
You Have Bad Milk
Bad luck seems to plague some people more than others. In Spanish, you’d say they have "bad milk."
It’s certainly not the first thing you’d connect with milk, but drinking bad milk is a horrible experience, so we understand the logic behind this.
I’m Swallowed With Them
In another example of romantic expressions that sound crass, this is what you’d say when you have a crush on someone. Crushes tend to have a way to make us nervous, which sometimes makes us swallow more than usual.
Colombians were quick to capture this uncomfortable yet exciting feeling in a saying.
You’re From the Year of the Pear
When exactly did pears appear on the face of the Earth? We don’t know for sure, but we’re guessing hundreds of thousands of years ago.
Fittingly, when you want to tell someone they’re old and out of touch, just say they’re from the same year as pears.
You’re in the Age of the Turkey
Conversely, if you want to say someone is young, especially a teenager, tell them they’re the age of a turkey.
Our theory is that turkeys gobble and gobble away very much like teenagers do while whining.
To Have More Face Than Back
Calling someone "shameless" is a little too literal, and when you want to throw in indirect insults, you need to be a little more creative.
In comes this saying that says someone’s face is so large, it’s bigger than their back. Basically, they don’t try to hide their face after doing something wrong.
Ironically, another way to call someone shameless in Spanish is to say they’re "faceless." Darned if you do, darned if you don’t.
The Devil Knows More Because He’s Old Than Because He Is the Devil
There isn’t a Hispanic kid alive who hasn’t heard this from parents and grandparents. The gist of it is that the devil knows everything because, well, he’s the devil, but more than that, because he’s old. Experience knows best, if you will.
If you ever heard this growing up, you know the struggle of biting your tongue to keep yourself from asking your grandparents if they’re comparing themselves with the devil.
Make a Storm in a Glass of Water
Drama queens love exaggerating everything and are able to create problems out of nowhere.
They really do have the power to create a storm in even a small glass of water.
Christmas Eve Arrives for Every Pork
Pork is a traditional Christmas Eve meal in many Latin American countries. As such, every pork must face its Christmas Eve. In other words, people get what is coming to them.
The phrase is a bit cruel, but it definitely made us laugh.
I Care a Cucumber
Cucumbers are not worth very much, so this is a way to tell someone you don’t give a sip about something.
There are other iterations of this, including caring a radish or an egg.
Put On Your Batteries
Some people are in a perpetual daze and seem barely awake to the world. The proper way to tell them to wake up and get things done is to tell them to put on their batteries.
This saying isn’t really about energy or tiredness, but about being more aware of a situation or of being less passive and more of a go-getter.
They’re Like Dirt and Nail
People with long nails know dirt always finds a way in. The two are basically inseparable, which is why this saying is used to describe friends who are always together.
They Don’t Have Hair in Their Tongue
If your hair has ever gotten in your face, then you know the unpleasant sensation of trying to spit it out, making it difficult to speak.
Somehow this experience became a saying used for people who are overly direct and have no problem telling it like it is.
Let Lighting Strike Me
This awesome saying can have a number of meanings depending on the context. It can be used to express surprise, sort of a "well, I'll be doggoned!"
It also can be used to emphasize conviction. Rather than using boring old "I swear," you can say "may lighting strike me if I'm lying!" as several songs have stated.
But our favorite use of this expression is "¡y a mí que me parta un rayo!" It's used to complain about being ignored or made to feel unimportant, as if people wouldn't care if you got struck by lighting. Kind of like, "I might as well be a potted plant!"
Give a Cat for a Hare
For some reason, people once thought that getting a cat in exchange for a hare was a bad deal and that they’d been tricked or had.
We personally would rather get a cat than a hare, but I guess back in the day, cats were just street animals who roamed around, and hares were valuable animals you could sell at the market.