Spanish expressions with animals
1-Ser más lento que una Tortuga
As a slow as a snail/molasses
I think that explains it all…
Imagine you are looking after your little nephews because your sister is on holidays and you need them to drop them at school before going to work if they are taking so long and you are starting to be impatient you will hurry them up buy saying
“!Vamos, que tenemos prisa chicos, sois más lentos que una Tortuga!”- “come on guys, hurry up! You are slow as a snail”
2-Llevarse como el perro y el gato
To fight like cat and dog
That is too, when you do not get along with someone and you fight quite often, in the case below if your little nephews fight often and someone ask you how are you getting on being their “nanny”, you would complain saying
“!Menuda semana! Se llevan como el perro y el gato”-“Such a week!They fight like a cat and dog”
#watchout it does not necessary only apply to kids, it can be for adults that even tho they do not fight, at least literally, they can’t stand each other.
If there is a party at your friends flat and two of your friend are not that close anymore…you could ask the host…
“¿y qué vas a hacer con Pablo y Juan?Ya sabes que se llevan como el perro y el gato”-“and what are you going to do with Pablo and Juan? You know they can’t stand each other”
3-ser un pez gordo
To be a bigwig
We use this one when we talk about someone that is important, and have a good job and good money.
If your friend is going out with a man who has a good job and lots of money but you still haven’t meet him but you are gossip about it with another friend, you could say.
-“He oído que Marisa está saliendo con un chico nuevo, todavía no lo conozco, pero debe de ser un pez gordo”- “I have heard that Marisa is going out with a new guy, I haven’t met him yet, but he must be a bigwig”
4-ser/haber cuatro gatos
Hardly a soul
I am sure you went to a pub to see a concert you wanted to see, and were so excited about it but then….when someone who would have liked to go with you and could not do it asked how it went…you said…
–“!No te perdiste nada!No había muy buen ambiente, eramos cuatro gato”–“ you did not miss anything, the atmosphere wasn’t great, there was hardly a soul”
5-ser un ratón de biblioteca
To be a bookworm
When someone likes to study or just spending time reading they get this nickname, is also common if someone knows a lot of a particular subject.
I used to be call “ratón de biblioteca” when I was younger as I love reading.
6-estar como una cabra
To be off your head
I am not a really brave so if one of my friend tells me they want to do bungee jumping I would probably say
-“¿En serio quieres hacer puenting?!Estás como una cabra!”
-“Are you for real about doing bungee jumping? You are off your head!”
#note-we can use for one off action like bungee or if you have, we all do a crazy “loco amigo” who is always doing crazy stuff.
7-dormir como un lirón
To sleep as a log
We can use it in two ways, in the particular one and in the general one
In the particular case, one it happens one off, imagine someone asks us if we had a good sleep last night and you did, you could answer
“!Bueno no, buenísimo!Dormí como un lirón”,-“Good no…very good! I slept like a log” meaning we have a great sleep.
The general, I am sure you know someone you feel jealous of, or maybe is yourself that always sleeps deeply, we can say then “Ella duerme como un lirón”-“she sleeps like a log.”
8-ser la oveja negra
To be the balck sheep
Quite typical…all your family has studied something, let’s say they are all doctors, but you decide to become an accountant, probably you became
-“la oveja negra de tu familia”-“the black sheep of the family”
9-pagar el pato
To take the rap/to carry the can
It is a really common one overall among little ones
If when you were a kid you used to fight with your brothers,because “os llevabáis como el perro y el gato” 🙂 probably more than once, you were punished unfairly, like when someone painted the walls, and you did not but your parents punished all of you, because they did not know who did it or they were not sure, that would have been a good situation to complain
-“yo no lo hice, ¿por qué tengo que pagar el pato?” –“I did not do it, why do I have to take the rap?”
As well you can use it in your adult life, imagine you have a deadline for a team project at work and just one person haven’t completed the task, but all the team needs to stay until late that day, and “pagar el pato” even when you did the right thing…life!
10-más vale pájaro en mano que ciento volando
A bird in hand is worth two in the bush
This one is a good one if you know someone greedy, or when you are acting greedy too
So… you have a job offer today where you will earn $1,000 a month but you will have to sign the contract now, you also might have another job offer where you would earn $1,500 a month but you still need to pass another interview with 2 more people. So even when you could take the risk and wait, you might not get it, so if you go for the secure option, the offer which is actually on the table you will say,
-“Nunca se sabe, pero más vale pájaro en mano que ciento volando”-“you never know but a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”
And that is all so far, I know you probably have heard a few more, as Spanish idioms are quite popular overall those with animals, this is just a little taste, also as you have seen they are all quite short and straight forward so…again there is no excuse to learn and practise these Spanish expressions with animals as much as you can.
Homework, today’s homework is a bit more tricky, as it is an actionable one, as usual, but I can be your accountability partner…Why?How?When? In the comments! I want to help you in your Spanish learning so I committed to it, but for that I need something from your side too, and it is action! Practice make perfection as I always say … So…
I am going to leave you a few sentences and you need to pick one, just one, and let me know which one of the above idioms you would use in that specific case, deal? Let’s do it!
Don’t forget you got this!
1-CUANDO ALGUIEN ES MUY LENTO
2-A TU HERMANO LE GUSTA MUCHO ESTUDIAR Y APRENDER COSAS NUEVAS
3-TODOS TENEMOS UN AMIGO QUE HACE COSAS QUE NOSOTROS NUNCA HARÍAMOS, ESTÁ UN POCO LOCO, ESTÁ…
4–CONOCES A UNA PERSONA QUE TIENE MUCHO DINERO, ES EL DIRECTOR DE UNA GRAN COMPAÑIA
5-TUS DOS SOBRINOS PEQUEÑOS PELEAN TODO EL TIEMPO
6-FUISTE A UN CONCIERTO DURANTE EL FIN DE SEMANA, PERO NO HABÍA MUCHA GENTE
Now it is your turn, please if you enjoyed the entry share it with someone that can benefit from this post in his Spanish journey, and help me to spread the Spanish word around J
Of course feel free to share any other Spanish idioms you know with animals, or if you have a particular one you like in your language leave a comment and I will try my best to give you its Spanish equivalent
Also I would love to know
-Do you like idioms?
-Have you heard/used any of the idioms from the blog before?
-Do you know any other idioms with animals?
-Do you have any idioms with animals in your country? Let me know! I would love to know!