Spanish idioms

A collection of idiomatic expressions in Spanish with recordings, English equivalents and translations.

IdiomsEnglish versions
Abrir la caja de los truenosto open a can of worms / Pandora's box
("to open the box of thunder")
Taparse los ojosto turn a blind eye
("to cover one's eyes")
No hay que buscarle cinco patas al gatoDon't split hairs
("there's no need to look for five paws on a cat")
El santo suelothe Holy Land
Mostrarse reacio ato be reluctant
("to appear reluctant to")
Poner en tela de juicioto challenge; to bring into question
("to put in fabic of judgement/trial")
No andar(se) por rodeosto not beat about the bush
("to not go on detours")
No llegarle a alguién ni a los tobilloscan't keep up with somebody
("to not reach out to somebody or to the ankles")
Todos los días no son igualesdays pass by, yet each one is different
("not all days are equal")
Decirle a uno cuantas son cincogive it to someone straight
("to tell somebody how much is five")
Descornar la florlet the cat out of the bag
("to de-horn the flower")
En un abrir y cerrar de ojosin the blink of an eye
("in an opening and closing of the eyes")
Ir de mal en peorgoing from bad to worse
Cada gallo en su gallineroeach one at home
("every cockrel in his roost/henhouse")
De sol a solall day along
("from sun to sun")
A gatason all fours
("like cats")
Cada dos por tresusually
("every two for three")
De noche todos los gatos son pardosall cats are grey in the dark
("at night all cats are brown")
Días y ollaswhat will be will be
("days and pots")
En comer y en rascar todo es empezarthe more you eat, the bigger your appetite
("when eating and scratching everything is starting")
Parecerse como un huevo a otroto be like two peas in a pod
("to be like an egg to another egg")
como el día y la noche; se parecen como un huevo a una castaña; no se parecen ni en lo blanco de los ojos like chalk and cheese
("like day and night; they resemble one another like an egg and a chestnut; not even the white of their eyes is similar")
Jugar a pan o vino
jugar/echar(lo) a cara o cruz
to flip a coin
("to play for bread or wine;
to play/throw for face or cross")
Los recién casadosthe newlyweds
Hay gato escondidosomething is afoot
("there's a secret cat")
Más vale pájaro en la mano que buitre volandoa bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
("a bird in the hand is worth more than a flying vulture")
Olivo y aceituno, es todo unoit's six of one and half dozen of the other
("an olive and an olive tree are all one")
Ser blanco como la nievesnow white
("to be white like the snow")
Volver a la misma canciónto repeat the same old story
("to return to the same song")
Afición ciega razónlove makes lovers blind
("love blinds reason")
Quien fue a Sevilla perdió su sillawhile the cat's away, the mice will play
("The one who went to Sevilla lost his seat")
Cuando las gallinas meenpigs might fly
("when hens pee")

Download all the audio files (Zip format, 612K)

Idioms provided by Ludovic Martin of 365jourspourapprendre, with additions by Abel Aabel, and recordings by Francisco Valencia of Lyceum Español

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