Some time ago I came across an image with this particular phrase and couldn’t help laughing! Although I am a native speaker, it took me a couple of seconds to recognize that this was just a literal translation for a quite common Mexican idiom. After living abroad for almost 7 months and trying to keep the use of idioms to a minimum in order to avoid misunderstandings, I now realize just how weird most of our idioms must sound to non-native speakers.
So, today I decided to share a few interesting Mexican idioms, including their literal and interpreted translations, to help us get through the Monday blues with a bit of humor 🙂 These phrases are mainly used by mothers and grandmothers around the country and are therefore considered familiar language.
“A mi no me vengas con que a Chuchita la bolsearon.”
Literal translation: “Don’t come and tell me that Chuchita was pick-pocketed.”
What it really means: Don’t make up a silly excuse.
“¡Andas como Pedro por su casa!”
Literal translation: “You walk around like Peter in his own home.”
What it really means: You act as if you own the place.
“¡Ese arroz ya se coció!”
Literal translation: “That rice is cooked.”
What it really means: It’s a done deal (A couple is very in love)
“Hay que tantearle el agua a los tamales.”
Literal translation: “We have to watch the water used for cooking tamales.”
What it really means: One must evaluate the situation before acting.
“¡Estoy como agua para chocolate!”
Literal translation: “I am like water for chocolate.”
What it really means: I am really, REALLY angry!
“¿Pa’ qué buscarle tres pies al gato? (… sabiendo que tiene cuatro?)”
Literal translation: “Why are you trying to find a three legged cat? (… if you know that it has four legs?”
What it really means: Why insist on doing something when you know (it is obvious that) the outcome will be negative?
“¡Quieren las perlas de la Virgen!”
Literal translation: They want Virgin Marie’s pearls!
What it really means: It’s too expensive.
“¡Se te cuecen las habas!”
Literal translation: “Your beans are being cooked!”
What it really means: You can’t wait / You are eager to do something.
If you liked this article, have a look at this one as well: What do you know about Mexican Spanish?