Refranes … how I love them! The truth is once you can master the refranes, that is when you know you’re bilingual status in another language. Refranes are commonly used expressions to impart wisdom … in other words “Sayings”. These are brilliant in my respectful opinion. The one thing that makes the language and culture rich are these expressions.
I remember the first time I one was on a car ride here in Madrid. I was with a couple of then colleages and one of them said, “te canto las cuarentas”. In that context she was basically telling me “let me tell you how it really is”. However, in my head I translated it as “I will sing you the 40”. I thought to myself, “what the hell does she mean?” I remember thinking I will need a separate dictionary just for refranes. I have kept a long list since I have gotten here. I think I will keep a page just for them and just keep adding as I go.
So here are just a few. Enjoy!
- “no vendas la piel del oso antes de cazarlo” literal translation is “don’t sell the bear skin before hunting it.”. The Spain version of “don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”
- “dos no discuten si uno no quiere” literal translation.. “two can not argue if one does not want to.” We have a similar one in English. It is “it takes two to tango” I don’t know why we use “tango” .. In this case I believe the Spanish version makes more sense.
- “esta como un tren” Ladies, this when you see a hot guy and it literally means “he is like a train”.
- “estar pensando en las musaraña” Literal translation means “to think in the shrews.” This one has a bit of history. One of Spain’s writers wrote a book and explained this description as daydreaming.
- “dos que duermen en el mismo colchón se vuelven de la misma condición”. Literal translation “two that sleep in the same mattress become of the same condition.” It’s similar to “birds of a feather stick together ” However, not quite. It’s like saying that their opinions are rubbing off on each other.
- “allá donde fueres, haz lo que vieres.” Our English version is “when in Rome do as the Romans.”
- “Que me quiten lo bailao” … literally means Let them take away my dancing. Our meaning, ” they can not take away my fun.”
- “Quien se pica ajos come”. Now on this I have heard two definitions to this one. So If any of my Spanish follower would not mind leaving a comment below which is correct. It would be greatly appreciated. First explanation, If someonw says something and it does not sit well with you it is probably because you have some involvement in the situation. Or … ” If the shoe fits wear it.”
- ” No esta el horno para bollos”. literally means the oven is not for buns. ( My favorite one) It’s like saying you are not in the mood or don’t “F” with me.
- ” No dar pie con Bola” direct translation is “to not give foot with ball” It means, to not be able to resolve or figure it out.
I am sure this is probably me… but I feel this is what makes learning a language fun. What do you think? If you have any other expressions please leave a comment below.