Chop the Cod! – Spanish Food Idioms

Spaniards love cooking, eating and celebrating any special occasion around a table. It is therefore no wonder that most of our idiomatic expressions are in some way related to food.

  • Dar calabazas a alguien: “to give someone pumpkins”, figuratively speaking, to reject someone who is interested in you. How mean…
  • Estar de mala leche: literally speaking, “being of bad milk” but in real life this idiom refers to the fact that someone is really pissed off.
  • Tener mala leche: similarly to the former idiom, this one describes someone who has a bad temper (in English, “bitchiness”) and translates literally to “to have bad milk”.
  • Estar aplatanado: in this case we took the noun plátano (banana), turned it into a verb, aplatanar, and to top it all off, we made up an idiom with its past participle, aplatanado. The result is “to be bananed” (sounds extremely odd, I know) which means to be distracted, bored, confused or mentally tired. Isn’t it genius?

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  • Tener un cacao mental: because “to have a mental cocoa tree” is a much cooler way to put “to be confused” or “to be mixed up” or “I have no clue what to do with my life”.
  • Estar como un queso: “to be like a cheese”, in other words, to be very attractive. You may wonder – but why cheese? If that’s the case, you have never tried Spanish cheese, my friend.
  • Importar un pimiento: “to care a pepper” means not caring at all about something or someone. In English, “to give a crap”.
  • Cortar/partir el bacalao: literally speaking this idiom means “to chop the cod”. The English equivalent is “to wear the trousers” or “to call the shots”, that is, to be the boss. Undoubtedly, this is my favorite one!




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