These Cute Animals Help You Learn Spanish

It’s raining cats and dogs. Poser un lapin. Avere una gatta da pelare.* I was thinking lately about all the common sayings that mention an animal and how little sense they make literally. I’m sure you can think of some in your own mother tongue. Here is a selection of some very commonly used phrases in Spanish that might not make any sense unless someone explains.


Diálogo de besugos – a dialog between sea breams

A nonsensical and pointless conversation. This comes from a children’s magazine that used to include absurd dialogs under the title “diálogos para besugos”. It makes sense if you consider that besugo also means idiot. But, how funny is it to imagine the people having this kind of conversation as two silly fishes?

Just me?ES animals intext1

A otra cosa, mariposa

Spanish speakers like rhymes, and that is the only explanation you need to understand this expression.

“On to the next topic!”


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Llevarse el gato al agua – to get the cat in the water

To have achieved a complicated endeavour.


Jodhpur - tired monkey

Dormir la mona – to sleep the monkey away

Accurate translation: to sleep it off. Mona here doesn’t mean female monkey, but a state of drunkenness. This is what you used to do after those crazy Erasmus parties.


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Edad del pavo – age of the turkey

Accurate translation: adolescence, a period


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Tener la mosca detrás de la oreja – to have a fly behind one’s ear

Something is bugging you or you have the feeling that something unexpected might happen soon.


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Pagar el pato – to pay for the duck

Someone “pays the duck” when they receive a punishment or deal with the consequences of something that is not their fault.


It’s raining cats and dogs – come on! You know this one 😉

Poser un lapin. (FR)– to stand someone up

Avere una gatta da pelare. (IT) to have a difficult problem to cope with


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