Idiom in Spanish: Learning the Language with Expressions

Idiomatic expressions are an integral part of any language, and Spanish is no exception. Spanish idioms not only add color and flair to the language but also help learners to sound more like native speakers. In this article, you will find a comprehensive list of some of the most common and popular Spanish idioms, their meanings, and examples of usage. You’ll also learn how AmazingTalker can help you improve your Spanish language skills with personalized, one-on-one classes.

Why Learn Spanish Idioms?

Idiomatic expressions are phrases that don’t make sense when translated literally but are widely used by native speakers in everyday language. Learning Spanish idioms can help learners to:

Express themselves more naturally when speaking Spanish
Understand native speakers better
Increase their vocabulary and knowledge of the language
Add personality and character to their language skills

List of Spanish Idioms

Here are 50 popular Spanish idioms, along with their meanings and examples of usage:

IdiomLiteral MeaningActual MeaningExample
A caballo regalado no se le mira el dienteDon’t look a gift horse in the mouthDon’t criticize something that’s given to you for freeMe regalaron una camiseta aunque no me gusta, pero a caballo regalado no se le mira el diente
Caerse el mundo encimaThe world is falling on top of meTo feel overwhelmed or stressed outMe estoy estresando mucho con el trabajo, siento como si se me cayera el mundo encima
Dar en el clavoHit the nail on the headTo be correct or accurateAdivinaste, diste en el clavo con tu respuesta
Echar agua al marPour water into the seaTo do something pointless or uselessEstoy estudiando mucho hoy, pero siento que es echar agua al mar
Hacer la vista gordaTo turn a blind eyeTo ignore something intentionallySiempre hace la vista gorda con los errores de sus hijos
Ir al granoCut to the chaseTo get to the pointNo me gusta perder el tiempo hablando de cosas innecesarias, vamos al grano
Llover a cántarosTo rain in jugsTo rain heavilyEsta lloviendo a cántaros, mejor esperamos un poco antes de salir
Meter la pataPut your foot in your mouthTo make an embarrassing mistakeLo siento mucho, metí la pata al decir eso
No tener pelos en la lenguaTo not have hairs on your tongueTo speak your mind freelyMe gusta cómo habla, no tiene pelos en la lengua
Ponerse las pilasTo put on the batteriesTo get to work or focus harderNecesito ponerme las pilas si quiero terminar este trabajo hoy

These are just a few examples of Spanish idiomatic expressions that are used frequently in everyday conversations. You can see that the literal meaning of these expressions may not make sense, but the actual meaning contextualizes this.

Categorization of Idioms

Idioms can be categorized in different ways, such as everyday conversations, life, funny, food, weather, and Mexican Spanish. Here are some examples:

Everyday Conversations

Ir de culo – To be in a hurry
Dar la lata – To be annoying
Hacer la pelota – To flatter someone
Tener ojos en la nuca – To be aware of everything that’s going on


Coger el toro por los cuernos – To take the bull by the horns
Echar raíces – To put down roots
Tomar el pelo – To pull someone’s leg
Poner los puntos sobre las íes – To be precise and clear


Tener más tijeras que el barbero – To be a cheapskate
Ser la leche – To be great or the best
Estar como un cabra – To be crazy or insane
Tener mala leche – To be in a bad mood


Ponerse las botas – To eat a lot
Ser pan comido – To be easy, like a piece of cake
Llevarse el gato al agua – To win or succeed
Dar la espalda – To ignore or turn your back


Echar un capote – To lend a hand or give support
Echar un cable – To help or assist someone
Estar en la luna – To be absent-minded or distracted
Dar en el clavo – To be accurate or correct

Mexican Spanish

Estar en chino – To be difficult to understand
Andar con la finta – To be suspicious or distrustful
No tener madre – To be rude or impolite
¡Órale! – Let’s go! or hurry up!

Practicing Spanish Idioms

Learning Spanish idioms is just a start, but practicing them is important to incorporate them into your daily life. You can use them in your conversations with Spanish-speaking friends or even while undertaking online Spanish courses.


Learning Spanish idiomatic expressions is not only fun, but it also makes you sound more natural and fluent in the language. By understanding the actual meaning behind the idiom, you will be able to communicate more effectively with native speakers. Online learning platforms like AmazingTalker offer customized lessons with native Spanish speakers, making it easy for learners to improve their language skills and practice using idioms in everyday conversations. Sign up for online Spanish classes with AmazingTalker and experience personalized one-on-one teaching.

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