Recently, we took a look at and deconstructed 5 Spanish proverbs (back in POST #68), whereby we saw how differently the very same messages can be expressed in both English and Spanish. A proverb is usually considered a popular, clever or pithy saying that conveys some kind of message, wisdom or teaching. For instance: “When in Rome do as the Romans do”.
Idioms on the other hand, whilst easily confused with proverbs are slightly different in that they offer a message, yet this message cannot be understood from the literal meaning of the individual words. For instance: “Over the moon”.
The literal meaning of idioms then, can often make almost no sense. Whereas proverbs tend to be more obvious once the wider context or origin is explained.
As we saw before, some Spanish proverbs are expressed completely different to their English counterparts. We might then assume that Spanish idioms are equally different. Whilst it is true that many idioms are indeed very different, there are still plenty that are expressed more or less identically.
With this in mind, today we are going to look at some Spanish idioms and proverbs that are identical or very similar to the English versions. This offers us an excellent way to learn a few new words of vocabulary within the context of some phrases that we should already be very familiar with.
Below is a list of 10 popular idioms and proverbs. We will show both the Spanish and English versions and then break down each word, so we can be sure of each whilst reminding ourselves how the word order and phrasing may be a little different in Spanish:
Conclusion | En conclusión
|Spanish ||English ||Word by word |
|“Tirar la toalla” ||To throw in the towel ||Tirar (to throw), la (the), toalla (towel) |
|“Hacerse la boca agua” ||To make one's mouth water ||Hacerse (to make for oneself), la (the), boca (mouth), agua (water) |
|“Más vale tarde que nunca” ||Better late than never ||Más (more), vale (okay), tarde (late), que (than), nunca (never) |
|“Quien ríe el último, ríe mejor” ||He who laughs last, laughs loudest/best ||Quien (who), ríe (laughs), el (the), último (last), ríe (laughs), mejor (best) |
|“No es oro todo lo que reluce” ||All that glitters is not gold ||No (not), es (is), oro (gold), todo (all), lo que (what), reluce (shines) |
|“Salir del armario” ||To come out of the closet ||Salir (to go out), del (of the), armario (closet) |
|“Todos los caminos llevan a roma” ||All roads lead to Rome ||Todos (all), los (the), caminos (roads), llevan (they carry/take), a (to), roma (Rome) |
|“Cuenta conmigo” ||Count on me ||Cuenta (count), conmigo (with me) |
|“Ahogar las penas” ||To drown one's sorrows ||Ahogar (to drown), las (the), penas (sorrows) |
|“Romper el hielo” ||To break the ice ||Roper (to break), el (the), hielo (ice) |
The last time we looked at Spanish proverbs, we intentionally chose examples that differ quite radically from their English counterparts. This serves as a timely reminder as to how different English and Spanish can be when expressing the same wisdom.
Today though, we’ve selected some idioms and proverbs that are much closer across both languages. Learning new vocabulary can be difficult at times, but seeing new words within the context of phrases that we are already familiar with can be a great strategy for helping those new words really sink in. At the same time, learning idioms and proverbs can give us a great confidence boost, as their use will undoubtedly help us sound more natural when employed.