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Old 2nd June 2007, 03:57 PM   #1
Lynda
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Default Spanish Idioms and Proverbs

I impressed when non native English speakers use idioms and proverbs appropriately. No doubt there are hundreds of useful Spanish ones. I have a specific question. does anyone know if there is a Spanish equivalent of "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth?" When I lived in Kenya I enjoyed learning that the Kamba equivalent is "If someone gives you a goat you don't count its teeth"

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Old 2nd June 2007, 04:15 PM   #2
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A caballo regalado no se le mira los dientes.
A caballo regalado, no le mires el diente.

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Old 21st March 2008, 01:12 PM   #3
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Here's a good site for proverbs (other languages too!)
http://www.languagerealm.com/spanish...shproverbs.php
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Old 23rd September 2008, 04:01 AM   #4
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Hi, I've started a new website and have a Idioms section. There're only 2 so far, but I'll post a new one every week and if you want to know the meaning of a particular one, you can contact me and I'll post it. I am a native speaker from Argentina.

Last edited by ValenciaSon; 23rd September 2008 at 05:11 AM. Reason: url removed as per rules
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Old 25th September 2008, 02:16 AM   #5
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Hola,

En francés, se dice: "À cheval donné, on ne regarde pas la bride" (a caballo regalado, no se le mira la brida).

¿Qué seria la versión español de "Quand les poules auront des dents" (when hens will have teeth)? In English, it's "When pigs will fly"!

Hasta luego,
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Old 25th September 2008, 05:20 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Maryse View Post
¿Qué seria la versión español de "Quand les poules auront des dents" (when hens will have teeth)? In English, it's "When pigs will fly"!
Cuando las vacas vuelen (when cows fly) or
Cuando las ranas críen pelo (when frogs grow hair)

I'll send you a private message with some links which may be of interest.
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Old 26th September 2008, 03:36 AM   #7
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Hola El confuso,

No he mirado al los vinculos todavia, pero voy a hacerlo pronto. ¡Muchas gracias!

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Old 26th September 2008, 09:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omeyas View Post
A caballo regalado no se le mira los dientes.
A caballo regalado, no le mires el diente.
The Spanish seem to be great lovers of proverbs; I love them too. Many of them are hard to translate, but this one is exactly the same in Dutch.
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Old 26th September 2008, 10:26 AM   #9
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perro ladrador, poco mordedor

In english we say ¨"barking dogs don´'t bite", which isn't quite the same thing as the Spanish, which is more like "barking dogs don´t bite (that much)". Maybe one could draw some conclusions about Iberian cultural pessimism, skepticism, or acceptance that bad stuff might happen from that, as opposed to the false certainties and compulsive optimism of the North American cultural province. Maybe.
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Old 26th September 2008, 01:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by xan View Post
perro ladrador, poco mordedor

In english we say ¨"barking dogs don´'t bite", which isn't quite the same thing as the Spanish, which is more like "barking dogs don´t bite (that much)". Maybe one could draw some conclusions about Iberian cultural pessimism, skepticism, or acceptance that bad stuff might happen from that, as opposed to the false certainties and compulsive optimism of the North American cultural province. Maybe.
I think that would be "his bark is worse than his bite" in English. I've never heard the term "barking dogs don't bite" as a standard idiomatic expression in English. Also, what's "compulsive" about being optimistic?
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Old 26th September 2008, 09:05 PM   #11
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I think that would be "his bark is worse than his bite" in English. I've never heard the term "barking dogs don't bite" as a standard idiomatic expression in English. Also, what's "compulsive" about being optimistic?

Not perhaps a very common refrain, but I didn't make it up. A thousand or so google hits:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&c...ite%22&spell=1
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Old 26th September 2008, 09:36 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by xan View Post
Not perhaps a very common refrain, but I didn't make it up. A thousand or so google hits:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&c...ite%22&spell=1

Well maybe it's a regional thing. By the way, don't automatically assume that if something is on Google that that is proof that it is correct or valid. It's just proof that the search term exists. I can find more than a million hits on Google for the term "koka kola" but that doesn't mean I should take that spelling as the correct one for the soda company.

Last edited by Beckett; 26th September 2008 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 26th September 2008, 09:38 PM   #13
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My friends and I used to translate to english word by word spanish proverbs and tipic sentences and its bery funny.

"De perdidos al rio" = "from lost to the river"
"mejor pajaro en mano que ciento volando" = "better bird on hand than hundred flying"
and i´d like to know if there is an equivalent in english to "Los arboles no te dejan ver el bosque" and "El tuerto es el rey en el pais de los ciegos"
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Old 26th September 2008, 09:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xan View Post
Not perhaps a very common refrain, but I didn't make it up. A thousand or so google hits:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&c...ite%22&spell=1

no quiero meterme en este lio pero ese refran me suena ,aunque no solemos usarlo.
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Old 26th September 2008, 10:01 PM   #15
delgado
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I like this one for " a catch 22 situation "

"es la pescadilla que se muerde la cola"

I have also heard it said like this however im not sure if it is an actual phrase.....

"este situación no es nada más que una cárcel sin barrotes"

I also heard this one recently and from what I could gather it could be translated to " by hook or by crook"

"a Dios rogando y con el mazo dando"
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Old 26th September 2008, 10:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArualyEgroj View Post
and i´d like to know if there is an equivalent in english to "Los arboles no te dejan ver el bosque"

and

"El tuerto es el rey en el pais de los ciegos"
Unable to see the forest for the trees

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.


Jorge,
How about this one? It's one of my personal favorites and results in one of the wackiest translations when translated literally to English: (dar) leña al mono que es de goma. (give wood to the monkey that is made out of rubber.)
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Old 27th September 2008, 12:21 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Beckett View Post
Unable to see the forest for the trees

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

Jorge,
How about this one? It's one of my personal favorites and results in one of the wackiest translations when translated literally to English: (dar) leña al mono que es de goma. (give wood to the monkey that is made out of rubber.)
there is one that sounds so rude but the meaning is far from the words
"o follamos todos o la puta va al rio" = "we f**k everybody or the b***h goes thrown to the river" that means we sould reach an agreement or what we are doing never will works.

"si ves las barbas de tu vecino cortar pon las tullas a remojar"
and actually the horse one is " a caballo regalado no le mires el dentado"
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Old 27th September 2008, 06:34 PM   #18
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By Googling "Spanish proverbs" or "refranes españoles" one can find numerous sites with hundreds of proverbs, often with explanations, translations, and/or equivalent proverbs in English. After some study it becomes apparent that often there are variations in the exact form of any given proverb, or several reasonable interpretations of its meaning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xan View Post
perro ladrador, poco mordedor

In english we say ¨"barking dogs don´'t bite", which isn't quite the same thing as the Spanish, which is more like "barking dogs don´t bite (that much)". Maybe one could draw some conclusions about Iberian cultural pessimism, skepticism, or acceptance that bad stuff might happen from that, as opposed to the false certainties and compulsive optimism of the North American cultural province. Maybe.
The form in which I usually see this is: Perro que ladra no muerde. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing that this is the form more prevalent in American (North, Central, and South) Spanish, while perro ladrador, poco mordedor is more common in Spain. Since these similar proverbs exist in both areas, the idea of contrasting cultural differences seems a bit far-fetched to me. Also, I agree with Beckett that the traditional form of this in English is "His bark is worse than his bite."

Quote:
Originally Posted by delgado View Post
I also heard this one recently and from what I could gather it could be translated to " by hook or by crook"

"a Dios rogando y con el mazo dando"
I've seen the quoted proverb many times and my try at an equivalent phrase in English is "God helps those who help themselves" or, less commonly, "Lend feet to your prayers". According to this site, my interpretation is close to the "official" meaning given by the Real Academia de la Lengua: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Spanish_proverbs . It hadn't occurred to me but the alternate (and perhaps more popular?) interpretation given there, describing the hypocrisy of one who pays lip service to God, but then mercilessly beats his fellow man, is also appealing.

Near the bottom of the referenced web page there is a humorous saying (not sure if it's a traditional proverb or just a "quip"): Si tu mujer quiere tirarte de un tejado, procura que sea uno bajo, mayormente.

I don't remember where I saw this one, a twist on a classic proverb: El amor es ciego, pero el matrimonio lo cura. I think there's a play on "lo cura" and "locura" here.

Last edited by El Confuso; 27th September 2008 at 07:38 PM. Reason: minor typo
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Old 29th September 2008, 01:18 AM   #19
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Does anyone know this one?

Sana, sanita, culito de ranita, si no te curas hoy, te curaras mañana.
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Old 1st October 2008, 11:05 PM   #20
labl
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Does anyone know this one?

Sana, sanita, culito de ranita, si no te curas hoy, te curaras mañana.

hi there: we say:sana, sana culito de rana si no te curas hoy te curarás mañana" it is saying specially intended to children when they get hurt...

kind regards from spain
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