You know what they say: wisdom is earned, not given. It is acquired only by contemplating the process of any hardship and experience. Here are some of the wisest Spanish proverbs that you can learn and try to live your life by.
Translation doesn't work that well when people want itlearn a new languagebut it's even less effective when you're in front of a sentence that implies an interpretation.
We talk about proverbs and sayings! They often relate to random themes, ranging from everyday situations to existentialism, and are passed from one generation to the next.
Spanish proverbs and idioms and their English equivalent so you don't get lost
As you travel the world you will find that one language has a saying that another language does not have. This is when you're trying to see the expression as something you can translate.
This is not the case with these words and phrases. The best way to learn them (and that they make sense) is to look for the meaning and how to use it. Once you know those two things, it's time to find the right equivalent.
In the farSpanish world, people love to use proverbs andSayingsa lot and they are a great way to practice the language.
Here is a list to make your Spanish life easier:
A bird in the hand is worth a hundred in the bush
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Spanish proverb means it is better to hold on to what you already have than to try to get something better.
Wherever you go, do what you see
The English equivalent would be: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
The phrase is used when you need to tell people that in order to follow the rules of a place, they have to rise to the occasion.
To foolish words, deaf ears
„Let foolish words fall on deaf ears." Parents love this.
Tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are
When it comes to Spanish proverbs, this one is very popular. Parents use it with their kids when they feel that a friend they have is not good for them.
A translation would include something like "tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are," which is a common saying in English.
The early bird god helps
The all-time favourite! No matter what country Spanish is spoken in, they know and use it frequently.
In German "The early bird catches the worm".
By the way, the verbto get up earlydoesn't exist in English. laduskis the time between midnight and sunrise. Therewith,to get up earlywould be "get up early".
A thief who steals a thief has a hundred years forgiveness
Stealing is not accepted in our society. However, is it acceptable and will we be forgiven if we steal from another thief? That's what this saying suggests.
I guess it's considered righteous when it serves a higher purpose, like helping others. Do not you think?
Better safe than sorry / In a war that has been warned, no soldier dies
These two sentences almost point in the same direction, but there is a certain nuance.
For the first expression, it's better to be prepared than to apologize after something unexpected happens.
For the second expression, you were advised to be prepared and to listen better to avoid unhappiness.
the monk does not make the habit
The literal translation in this case is not understood as the English equivalents never come close to the words used.
If you want a good sentence to be substituted, go to "don't judge aBuchthrough its shell". You can also find it with a similar meaning„Don't judge a book by its cover' in Spanish.
Shrimp that falls asleep, it carries electricity
A saying for those who have the bad habit of procrastinating. You'd better start acting as soon as you have the chance and not wait and see what happens as you may miss an important opportunity.
If you fall asleep, you lose!
If you don't cry, don't boast
Be sure to report if required. Some Spanish proverbs are harsh and direct but very clear in getting the message across and in fact people love it that way.
The meaning in English would be "only the squeaky wheel is greased".
Better late than never / It's never late when luck is good
Some Spanish proverbs are just like in English. Use the literal translation "better late than never" and you'll be fine.
People can relate to a good thing or a bad thing. Depending on the intonation, you'll know if they're acknowledging your efforts or just telling you it's too late.
All roads lead to Rome
More Spanish proverbs where the literal translation works. Take advantage of “all roads lead to Rome”
It doesn't matter which way you go, you get the same result.
Another best way to test your language skills is by solving exciting and fun tasksSpanish riddles. They're mental exercises that, in order to solve them, require you to think outside the box and expand your skills considerablyvocabulary.
Practice makes a master
Not much different from its English equivalent "practice makes perfect".
We often look up to our teachers, they are the highest level we wish to attain.
Not everything that glitters is gold
In life, if something is too good to be true, it probably is. Among the Spanish proverbs with the same meaning, this is the most popular.
The expression is used as a warning to people who like to get carried away by appearances.
There is no stale bread when you are very hungry / There is no stale bread when you are hungry
Beggars cannot be choosy is the meaning of this word. You will hear these words many times in life when you are complaining about the things you are getting.
It is a popular saying in the Spanish language along with„You don't look at the teeth of a gift horse”or„A lack of bread, cakes are good”.
Be thankful and see that many people are not as lucky as you.
(Who) prays (Who) embraces much, presses little
Proverb means "don't bite off more than you can chew".
Use it with those who like to show off or want to do more than they can.
Do good and don't look at who
"Do what is right, come what may". This one is for those who love doing good for others.
From said to done there is little stretch
Another one you'll be happy to use with those who talk too much but don't do anything. In English it would be “easier said than done”.
Learn to recognize when someone is bluffing, and if you think the situation is right, don't waste the opportunity to pose the challenge.
In bad times you know friends
„A friend in need is a friend real". Never forget your friends!
Lies have short legs / Lies are short-legged bugs
A fun way to say that lies are discovered sooner rather than later.
The world is a handkerchief
Make sure to always be respectful on the street or in a shop because you may find people who know you or who you work with.
The literal translation doesn't work here. To make sense in English, use the phrase "what a small world".
If you can understandjokes in spanish, it shows that you really understand the complexity of the language and appreciate all the ambiguities. Check out somethe funniestSpanish punslaugh your head offwe have listed for you.
The face is the mirror of the soul
A famous Spanish proverb means that your face is very important and needs to be taken care of. The literal translation is "The face is the mirror of the soul".
However, we canOur face reflects our state of health, character and mood,” to better express this phrase.
Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease
There are times when we fight hard to get something, only to realize that when we get it, it's not worth it.
So if you choose something in life, make sure that it will be fruitful in lifeFuture.
Peepers are made of stone
Don't you hate it when someone comes to tell you what to do, even if you don't ask for help?
So use this expression without regret.
Weeds never die
"The devil takes care of his own" comes closest to this expression.
The root of all evil is the love of money.
We're not saying money is bad, I mean it's pretty useful in our society. However, people who love money usually break away from other people.
It's normal to feel like you want to make more money out of your time, but dedicating your life to making money is never healthy. You have to know when to stop.
The devil knows more for being old than for being a devil
Translated it means: "The devil knows more for being old than for being the devil".
Parents love this one and they will use it with kids as often as needed. "There is no substitute for experience"
Out of sight out of mind
"Long absent, soon forgotten". It's kind of sad but true.
As soon as we break up with someone or something, we start thinking about it less and less. Although this phrase could be seen as harsh, there is another one that basically means the same thing but in a comforting sense:
"El tiempo todo lo cura", which translates as "time heals all wounds".
Spanish proverbs are sometimes hard to swallow
There are many more Spanish proverbs out there and people love to use them. It's something you have to get with practice.
As mentioned earlier in the list, Spanish proverbs are sometimes a bit hard to swallow. This happens because they are used at the precise moment the situation arises and your feelings may not be up to the challenge of facing the truth.
Learn the Spanish proverbs listed here as they hold a special place in the hearts of Spanish speakers across Latin America.
Are you looking for the meaning of a proverb, expression or word someone uses in Spanish that you don't understand? Go ahead and sign up for onefree private lessonsor a7-day free trial of our group coursesand we atSpanischVIPwill help you understand all the nuances of this colorful language.
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