At some point in our lives, we all acquire random fragments of a foreign language. Whether it’s a handful of swear words, basic phrases, or how to ask for the bill in a restaurant, it’s always fascinating to discover the weird and wonderful world of idioms, regardless of how proficient we are in a language. Take English, for instance. How many of us know the origin of expressions like ‘go like the clappers’, ‘under the weather’, or ’a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’?
So, as a fun language lesson, here are some Spanish and Mallorcan idioms to expand your linguistic horizons. If you have any others to share, let us know!
‘Da-li cebes!’ - this is a popular one you’ll hear if cheering on a race. This one is something like ‘give it your all!’ Although directly translated as ‘give it onions!’
‘Què n’ets de poma!’ - this is what you call someone naive or silly. Literally translated as ‘you’re an apple’
‘Cercar a na Maria per sa cuina’ - this is what you say when life is a real mess. The direct translation is ‘looking for Mary in the kitchen’
‘Sortir del foc per anar al caliu’ - this basically means things going from bad to worse. Directly translated as ‘from the fire to coals’.
‘Tomar el pelo’ - this means to pull someone’s leg. Directly translated as ‘take the hair’.
‘Tirar la casa por la ventana’ - this is a good one, this is no expense spared. Or quite literally translated as throw the house out the window.
‘Darle la vuelta a la tortilla’ - to turn the fortune of something, or quite literally flip the omelette.
There are a lot of Spanish idioms around food, but what is amazing is just how much they love to talk about milk.
‘¡Eres la leche!’ - Literal translation: You’re the milk! English equivalent: You’re unbelievable!
‘Estar de mala leche - Literal translation: to be of bad milk. English equivalent: to be cranky.
‘Tener mala leche’ - Literal translation: to have bad milk. English equivalent: to be mean / to have bad luck.
‘A toda leche / echando leches’ - Literal translation: at all the milk / pouring milk. English equivalent: at full pelt / to do something hastily.
And there’s actually even more about milk alone, but let’s leave it there for now. Hopefully, this was educational, if just a bit silly.