A Guide To Spanish Idioms

A Guide To Spanish Idioms

Idioms are phrases that are used by native speakers that tend to have a figurative meaning behind them. All languages have them; for instance, a few English idioms are "barking up the wrong tree" or "it's raining cats and dogs."

In fact, when learning idioms, you’ll learn more about Spanish culture when doing so. You’ll find it easier to navigate in Spanish speaking countries and find it easier to socialize with the locals there.

Spanish idiomatic expressions are important if you want to master the language. And we’re here to help you understand the most commonly used ones. In this post, we’ve compiled the most common spanish idioms that you’ll come across when speaking Spanish.

Are you ready?

Commonly Used Spanish Idioms

Here is a spanish idioms list that will help you get acquainted with the language. Try to study them to ensure that you get a better grasp of the language and so that you can communicate with native speakers.

Darle La Vuelta A La Tortilla

Translation: To turn the table/flip an omelet

Spanish Meaning: To change the tide

I'm sure all of you know tortillas. But did you know that tortillas are often compared to omelete? It doesn't matter what tortilla you're referring to; it needs to be flipped when cooking.

Darle la vuelta a la tortilla is a phrase that’s is usually understood in a surface level. However, there are layers behind this saying, making it very important to learn if you want to increase your Spanish speaking skills.

Imagine that you and some friends are playing basketball against another team and your team is losing badly.

Then, the situation begins to change in the later quarters of the game.

By the end of the game, your team is up by three points. What seemed to be an impossible effort, has now turned into a surprise victory.

Darle La Vuelta A La Tortilla

Maybe your team started to play better, or a miracle occurred, or the other team member was injured. No matter what happened, the situation changed to you and your team's favor. It turned 180 degrees. You would describe this situation by saying "Darle la vuelta a la tortilla."

This idiom is used in a multitude of contexts. Every time a problematic situation changes to a better one, or you have a more positive outcome than expected, then it's acceptable to say "dado la vuelta a la tortilla."

Estar Sin Blanca

Translation: Without white

Spanish meaning: To not have money or to be broke

Blanca is a coin made in Spain during the 16th century. It had the lowest value at the time, and its modern day equivalent would be the penny.

Estar Sin Blanca

If you didn’t have any blanca, you were considered a poor person and had no money to survive in society. While we use different coins today, this expression is used for any person that doesn’t have any money at a specific time.

While this expression can be used to describe anyone, younger people tend to use it often to describe their financial situation. The good news is that you can use this situation at any time when you feel that your funds are low.

Llover A Cántaros

Translation: Raining to pitches

Spanish Meaning: It’s raining cats and dogs

We get it, the phrase "raining to pitches" can sound just as weird as "raining cats and dogs." Yes, if its raining and you have jugs or pitchers located in your garden, the rain is going to reach it.

Llover A Cántaros

You’ll use the phrase llover a cántaros to describe a situation. However, you can use any tense needed.

Dar A Luz

Translation: Giving light

Spanish Translation: To give birth

This is a beautiful expression. Not only because the fact of giving birth is one of the best experiences a woman can have, but also because of the power of this metaphor.

You might already know that luz stands for "light." And, there are other words that say light in Spanish, but the two words alumbramiento and alumbrar are linked to giving birth.

When mothers are giving birth, they are alumbrando. Actually, alumbrar is the process that happens after the mother gives birth, but now people use alumbrar to mean "to give birth." However, the process of delivering a baby is called alumbramiento.

Dar A Luz

This is the basic idea behind this phrase. When a baby is born, they go from a dark place into a place of light. This idiom expresses that the mother is literally giving her baby light and the baby sees the light instead of darkness when they are born. So use this idiom to help congratulate a mother after she had delivered a newborn!

Understanding Idioms Get You One Step Closer To Natives

The main reason why you should learn english idioms in spanish is so that you can communicate with natives better. By understanding idioms, you’ll be able to talk freely no matter the situation.

As we’ve stated earlier, idioms are apart of any language. If you plan on going to Spanish speaking countries such as Colombia, Venezuela, or Barcelona, then its good to have a few idioms under your belt to help transition into their culture. On average, we suggest that you practice learning Spanish idioms at least 3-4 times a week so that you can easily transition into the country you’re planning to travel to.


Overall, learning Spanish idioms is a great way to become an advanced speaker. It allows you to get a grasp of the deeper concepts of the language. When studying it, try to understand the meaning behind each idiom so that you can use it in the right context. In conclusion, continue to learn idioms so that you can enhance your knowledge and conversational Spanish skills.

Do you have any additional questions about learning Spanish idioms?

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