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10 Spanish Sayings and How to Use Them

Welcome to our blog article on Spanish sayings!

Spanish is a beautiful and expressive language, full of colorful and imaginative phrases that have been passed down through generations.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most popular Spanish sayings, their English equivalents, literal meanings, and examples. So, let’s get started!

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1.  “¡No hay mal que por bien no venga!” – “Every cloud has a silver lining!”

Literal Meaning: There is no bad that does not bring some good along!


You missed the job interview of a lifetime because you got stuck in an elevator. At least, you ended up going out on a very good date with the person who got stuck with you. “No hay mal que por bien no venga!”

2.  “¡Ojos que no ven, corazón que no siente!” – “Out of sight, out of mind!”

Literal Meaning: Eyes that don’t see, heart that doesn’t feel!


Remember that guy from Slovakia you told all your friends you would marry? He’s been away for only two months and you’ve already forgotten all about him. Don’t worry, it’s only natural. “Ojos que no ven, corazón que no siente!”. Without a doubt, one of the wisest Spanish sayings on out list!

Image by Chermiti Mohamed, via Pexels

3.  “¡No dejes para mañana lo que puedas hacer hoy!” – “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today!”

 Literal Meaning: Same as English equivalent


Your friend has just told you all about her breakup. You feel so sorry for her that you go make her a cup of tea, but when you come back from the kitchen she’s already on Tinder. “Shouldn’t you wait until you’re feeling better?” you ask. “No dejes para mañana lo que puedas hacer hoy!” she says, her eyes twinkling mischievously.

4.  “¡A caballo regalado, no se le mira el diente!” – “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!”

Literal Meaning: One should not look at the teeth of a horse that has been given as a gift!


Your friend tells you it’s okay if you want to have a date with his ex. He knows you’ve always fancied her and he’s finally cool with it. However, it turns out she doesn’t look one bit like she did in high school. Still, you go out with her. “A caballo regalado, no se le mira el diente!”, right?

5.  “¡Más vale tarde que nunca!” – “Better late than never!”

Literal Meaning: It is better to be late than never!


You arrive at the party only to realize that everyone’s already left. It turns out you misread the invitation. Still, your friend invites you in for a cup of coffee. “Más vale tarde que nunca!” she says cheerfully.

6.  “¡Al mal tiempo, buena cara!” – “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”

Literal Meaning: In bad weather, put on a good face!


You’re having a terrible day at work. Luckily, it’s almost time to go home. However, when you’re about to clock off, your roommate phones you to say you have been burgled. So you go to the pub instead. “Al mal tiempo, buena cara!”, you tell yourself. At least you can have a few pints before talking to the cops!

Image by Allan Mas, via Pexels

7.  “¡Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres!” – “You are judged by the company you keep!”

Literal Meaning: Tell me who you walk with and I’ll tell you who you are!


You’re angry with your bestie because she’s still friends with that girl who spread rumors about you in middle school. “Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres!”, you tell her every time you see they’re texting each other. Because, what’s better than practicing Spanish sayings and making your friend feel guilty at the same time?

8.  “¡A quien madruga, Dios le ayuda!” – “The early bird catches the worm!”

Literal Meaning: He who wakes up early, God helps!


It’s 11 pm and your friend just woke up. “So, are we getting the tickets to that Ed Sheeran concert?”, she texts. “Well, I got mine this morning, but I hear they’re already sold out”, you answer. “You b*tch”. “Well, you know what they say. Al que madruga, Dios lo ayuda“.

9.  “¡En boca cerrada no entran moscas!” – “Silence is golden!”

Literal Meaning: Flies don’t enter a closed mouth!


Your boss overhears you talking about him behind his back. Ten minutes later, you’re informed that the raise you had been promised is now off the table. “En boca cerrada, no entran moscas!”, you tell yourself as you clear out your desk. Another lesson learned thanks to Spanish sayings!

10. “¡No todo lo que brilla es oro!” – “All that glitters is not gold!

Literal Meaning: Same as the English equivalent


Your friend got a date with the lead singer of that indie rock band she’s always loved and you’ve always hated. However, it turns out he’s not nearly as charming in person. What’s more, he cut the date short because he said he had to answer his fan mail. “You see? No todo lo que brilla es oro“, you tell her. You love Spanish sayings but, most of all, you love being right.

Where to find more Spanish sayings

If you’re looking to learn Spanish sayings, there are plenty of resources available to you! One great place to start is by exploring the pop culture of different Spanish-speaking countries. For example, if you’re interested in Spanish sayings from Spain, you could watch the popular TV series La Casa de Papel, which is filled with colloquial expressions and idioms from Spain.

Image by Cottonbro Studio, via Pexels

Alternatively, if you’re looking for Argentinean sayings, you could check out rock nacional or tango music, both of which often incorporate local slang and expressions. If you like rock, we recommend Soda Stereo or Virus. If you like tango, you should definitely check out Carlos Gardel‘s tango songs.

And if you’re interested in Mexican Spanish, telenovelas such as María la del barrio or La usurpadora are a great resource for picking up Mexican slang and idiomatic expressions used in Mexico.

Ultimately, the key is to immerse yourself in the language and culture as much as possible – the more you listen to and engage with native speakers, the more quickly you’ll pick up on the nuances of their language!

Learn to use Spanish Sayings in context

One of the trickiest aspects of Spanish sayings is learning how to use them in the appropriate context. If a saying goes over your head, it’s always best to ask a native speaker for clarification – they can help you understand the cultural context and layer of humor behind the saying.

At Listen & Learn, we work with native Spanish teachers who can help you learn to use Spanish sayings in the right context and understand the nuances of the language.

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We understand that learning a foreign language can be daunting, so our teachers will make sure you have fun while you’re learning – by incorporating Spanish sayings into your tailor-made Spanish lessons, you can develop a more natural and native-like understanding of Spanish and the cultures in which this language is spoken.

So, what are you waiting for? Sign up today and start your Spanish-learning journey!