10 Confusing Spanish Idioms
Aug 09, 2023
Funny stories

10 Confusing Spanish Idioms

Marcos del Mazo / Shutterstock

Sometimes you know the words but you just can’t get the meaning right. One of the toughest things about trying to relate to locals is understanding their slang. I already taught you some dirty words, but here are some idioms that you might run into that could confuse you. Anyone who has gotten through a couple of years of Spanish is likely to know the literal translations of these words, but knowing that they actually mean is something totally different.

1. Comehombre

Literal Translation: Eat man
Practical Use: Maneater, a girl who goes through a lot of men and destroys them

2. Darse pilas/Ponerse pilas

Literal Translation: To give yourself batteries
Practical Use: To energize yourself

3. Mandar Fruta

Literal Translation: To send fruit
Practical Use: To bullshit, to make stuff up

4. Gordo/a

Literal Translation: Fat
Practical Use: A term of endearment used for friends, significant others, etc.

5. Voy por tus pagos

Literal Translation: I am going through your payments
Practical Use: I’m going by your neighborhood

6. Me mataste

Literal Translation: You killed me
Practical Use: You got me/I’m stumped, used when you ask someone a question and they have no idea what to tell you.

7. Que poca madre

Literal Translation: What little mother
Practical Use: Bummer, how lame

8. ¿Me tienes/tenés?

Literal Translation: You have me?
Practical Use: Can you hold this for me?

9. Estoy en Chino

Literal Translation: I am in China
Practical Use: I’m totally lost/confused

10. Un sobrepaso

Literal Translation: A Over step/An around step
Practical Use: Someone who crosses the line