14 great Spanish proverbs, sayings and idioms – and their meanings

Spanish is a beautiful language with such rich and varied expressions. It’s no surprise that the Spanish proverbs, sayings and idioms are also wonderful.

In this blog post we’ll explore 14 of them – their meanings and what they tell us about life in Spain.

1. A donde te quieran mucho, no vayas a menudo

Translation: Where people love you very much, don’t go often

Meaning: This is very simple: a constant guest is never welcome. Perhaps absence does make the heart grow fonder.

2. Los buenos amigos se lloran un rato y luego se dan la mano

Translation: Good friends cry together and then shake hands

Meaning: This saying is used in Spain in the same way as “We may not be on speaking terms at the moment, but we’ll always be friends” in English. Sometime when you’re feeling very sad, it’s reassuring to think that your true friends will inevitably come back to you.

3. El que no conoce su propio origen, nunca podrá ser reconocido por su conversación

Translation: Whoever doesn’t know his origins never gets recognized by his conversation

Meaning: The idea behind this saying is that you can learn a lot about people from how they talk. In other words, if your English conversation skills are poor it may affect the way others perceive you in future meetings or business trips to England even when you don’t think they will notice.

4. A la larga todo se ataja

Translation: In the long run, everything heals

Meaning: This is about the dire consequences of doing wrong and how they will ultimately come to an end.

5. A veces es mejor callar y pasarse por un tonto hasta que pregunten los otros

Translation: Sometimes it is better to be silent and act like a fool until others ask questions

Meaning: This means you should let others do most of the talking so they can expose their ignorance.

6. Anda perro para adentro y no te metas en camisa de once varas

Translation: Go inside and don’t get involved in affairs that are not your business

Meaning: This is about the importance of staying out of other people’s private lives.

7. Al que madruga Dios le ayuda

Translation: He who gets up early God helps him

Meaning: This proverb means that if you are proactive and show diligence, people will be more willing to help you because you are not difficult or demanding.

8. Encuentra una ocupación y encontrarás tiempo para hacerlo todo

Translation: Find an occupation so you can find time to do everything

Meaning: With a goal in life, our time is never wasted. But if we don’t know what we want from life, we never have the motivation to do anything at all.

9. No es imposible – solo difícil de probar

Translation: It’s not impossible – it’s just difficult to prove

Meaning: When we believe in something, even if others tell us it is an illusion or a legend and that there’s no proof for its existence, we should always be ready to defend our beliefs.

10. A gusto se aprende

Translation: One learns with pleasure

Meaning: It’s never too late to learn something new!

11. Al que madruga Dios le ayuda

Translation: God helps those who get up early

Meaning: This is about being disciplined and proactive in the morning. It has roots in the Christian tradition of praying before sunrise.

12. Al mal paso, buen provecho

Translation: For bad steps, good luck!

Meaning: This is a way of saying that things are going well for you, even if it’s not your fault. The idea is that some people are just unlucky while others receive some compensation for their misfortune!

13. Haz lo mejor posible, sin pensar en las consecuencias

Translation: Do what you can best, without considering the consequences.

Meaning: The meaning of this phrase is that some things are worth taking a risk for even if the outcome may not be what you wanted or planned for. An example of this would be a friend that’s going through a hard time and needs you to spend time with him/her even though it might take up a lot of your free time.

14. La llave de la felicidad está en cada persona y mienten los que dicen que no hay que cambiarse para ser feliz

Translation: The key to happiness is in every person and those who say that you have to change yourself to be happy are lying.

Meaning: This proverb encourages people not to lose hope or give up on their dreams/goals even if they might seem too difficult, because the only thing we can do is try our best! It also tells us that we can be happy if we remain positive and embrace whatever challenges come our way.