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. Tirar la casa por la ventana. (Roll out the red carpet.)
  10. Literal: Throw the house out of the window.
  11. Ponte las pilas.  (Work hard.)Literal: Put your batteries on.