Top Ten

Phrases that Don’t Translate Well

  1. A otro perro con ese hueso. (You’re putting me on.)

    Literal: To another dog with that bone.

  2. Antes que te cases mira lo que haces. (Look before you leap.)

    Literal: Before you marry, look at what you do.

  3. Cada quien tiene su manera de matar pulgas (There’s more than one way to skin the cat.)

    Literal: Everyone has their own way to kill fleas.

  4. Como el burro que tocó la flauta. (By pure luck.)

    Literal: As the donkey played the flute.

  5. Salir de Guatemala y meterse en guatepeor. (Out of the frying pan and into the fire.)

    Literal: To leave Guatemala and arrive in worse cornstalks.

  6. El hijo de la gata, ratones mata. (Like father, like son.)

    Literal: The son of the cat kills mice.

  7. Entrada de caballo, salida de burro. (Don’t start something you can’t finish.)

    Literal: Enter on horseback, leave on a donkey.

  8. Tener más lana que un borrego. (To have money to burn.)

    Literal: To have more wool than a lamb.

  9. Yo tengo una tía que toca la guitarra. (What’s that got to do with the price of tea in China?)

    Literal: I have an aunt that plays the guitar.

  10. Ir a donde la reina va solo. (To powder one’s nose.)

    Literal: To go where the queen goes alone.