Are you taking your IB Ab Initio, IB SL or IB HL Spanish exam anytime soon? Or you are just interested in knowing a bit more about Spanish idioms we use regularly? Here we have a list of the most commonly used Spanish idioms. No matter if you are taking regular Spanish group courses or getting ready to start your Spanish exam preparation lessons, these are Spanish idioms you should know. They will be of great use in your Spanish learning path.
Spanish idioms are phrases or fixed statements with a figurative rather than literal meaning. IB students keep calling for help about the use of them as they need to include them in their oral tests to boost their marks. And as we always tell them, keep calm and learn Spanish with us.
Since students rarely can translate idioms from English to Spanish, or Spanish idioms are not introduced during their IB Spanish lessons at school, they keep missing the chance to use them in their exams.
Here are some examples of common idioms in English which not necessarily have an exact translation into Spanish.
“It’s a piece of cake”
“It’s raining cats and dogs”
“Kill two birds with one stone”
Many of these colloquial idioms, like the English language, don’t make much sense when translated word by word, but native speakers use them all the time. Hence, it also happens in Spanish. And you should be ready to use them anytime soon!
Spanish Idioms You Should Know
Since the number of Spanish idioms we might discuss in one topic is enormous, we’ll focus on the most popular ones.
Although we would love to make a longer list of Spanish idioms, we have sorted a list of the most commonly used according to our Spanish teaching experience.
Let’s get started!
1. Ser pan comido.
Literal translation: To be eaten bread.
Real meaning: To be very easy.
Example: “Cuando aprendo español en “The Spanish Academy” los exámenes son pan comido.” –> When I learn Spanish at The Spanish Academy exams are very easy.
All our students find it “pan comido” when they take their Spanish exams. Also our regular adult students whenever they have a chance to hold a Spanish conversation abroad after learning our tips.
2. Estar hasta en la sopa.
Literal translation: To be even in the soup.
Real meaning: To be everywhere.
Example: “Últimamente los cantantes del grupo Mirror están hasta en la sopa” –> Lately the singers from Mirror band are everywhere.
Our Spanish-related posts are “hasta en la sopa” in your social media, and we know you love it! 🙂 If they are not yet in your “sopa”, you can click and check our Instagram posts.
3. Estar hasta las narices.
Literal translation: To be until the noses.
Real meaning: To be fed up with something.
Example: “Estoy hasta las narices de las políticas contra la inmigración” –> I am fed up with the policies against inmigration.
Some of our students are “hasta las narices” of not being able to travel to Spain soon. However, they are happy to know they can get their Spanish rolling in our Spanish for travelers courses.
4. Ser un chorizo.
Literal translation: To be a chorizo.
Real meaning: To be a thief.
Example: “Algunos políticos son unos chorizos” –> Some politicians are thieves.
Indeed, that’s the sad reality. And we usually call “chorizos” those who steal and are corrupted.
5. No dar pie con bola.
Literal translation: To not give a foot with a ball.
Real meaning: To not do anything right.
Example: “Si no revisas tus apuntes de español, ¡nunca darás pie con bola en los exámenes!” –> If you don’t revise your Spanish notes, you will never do your exams right!.
6. Ser la gota que colma el vaso.
Literal translation: To be the drop that fills the glass.
Real meaning: To be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Example: “Estaba tan enfadado que cuando vi a mi amiga borracha fue la gota que colmó el vaso” –> I was so mad that seeing mi friend drunk was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Although you may say it in different situations, you will usually use this Spanish idiom to show or emphasise your anger when you talk about any topic during your IB exam.
7. Estar como una cabra.
Literal translation: To be like a goat.
Real meaning: To be totally nuts.
Example: “En mi opinión los que practican deportes extremos están como una cabra” –> In my opinion those who practice extreme sports are totally nuts.
8. No pegar ojo.
Literal translation: To not paste an eye.
Real meaning: To not sleep a wink.
Example: “Los jóvenes están tan adictos a las redes sociales que no pegan ojo” –> Youngsters are so addicted to social media that they do not sleep a wink.
Indeed, it is a reality these days. We tend not to sleep a wink, and you will want to use this Spanish idiom (“Mis amigos y yo no pegamos ojo durante los exámenes” –> My friends and I do not sleep a wink during exams) instead of saying something boring like: “Mis amigos y yo no dormimos mucho durante los exámenes.” (My friends and I do not sleep much during exams).
9. Meter la pata.
Literal translation: To put in the leg.
Real meaning: To screw up.
Example: “Yo que tú no me arriesgaría y así no meterás la pata.” –> If I was you I wouldn’t take the risk and therefore you will not screw it up.
10. Dar en el clavo.
Literal translation: To give in the nail.
Real meaning: Hit the nail on the head.
Example: “Mi profesor siempre da en el clavo cuando resuelve mis dudas” –> My teacher always hits the nail on the head when he solves my questions.
We hope we helped you a little more with your Spanish learning path, and we look forward to hearing you using some of these Spanish idioms like we natives do!