Learning a new language can be both exciting and challenging. One aspect that adds an extra layer of fun to the process is discovering the humorous side of a language. Spanish offers a plethora of funny phrases and sayings that not only tickle your funny bone but also provide insights into the unique mindset of native Spanish speakers from Spain and Latin America. In this article, we've compiled 70 humorous Spanish phrases that every learner should know when learning Spanish.

Phrases with a Funny Literal Translation

The literal meaning of these funny Spanish phrases offers a humorous glimpse into the quirks of the Spanish language, where expressions may not always mean what they seem to at first glance.

  1. Estar como una cabra (To be like a goat)
    This phrase is used to describe someone who is acting eccentric or crazy. For example, "Se bañó en el río en invierno, ¡Está como una cabra!" translates to "He went swimming in the river in the winter. He's crazy!"
  2. Ser la leche (To be the milk)
    This funny Spanish phrase signifies being amazing or outstanding, often used to describe a person or situation.
  3. No hay burro calvo ni calabaza con pelo (There isn't any bald donkey nor any pumpkin with hair)
    This funny Spanish expression conveys the idea of being straightforward and realistic, similar to the English equivalent "Say what you really know and do what you can really do."
  4. Me importa un pepino (It matters to me a cucumber)
    This phrase is equivalent to the English expression "I don't care at all," indicating a lack of concern or interest.
  5. Tomar el pelo (To take the hair)
    To "take the hair" in Spanish means to pull someone's leg or tease them, akin to the English expression "to pull someone's leg."
  6. Ser pan comido (To be eaten bread)
    This phrase is used to describe something that is very easy or a piece of cake, similar to the English expression "a piece of cake."
  7. La última coca cola del desierto (The last Coca-Cola in the desert)
    This humorous expression is used to describe someone who thinks very highly of themselves or believes they are extremely attractive or important.
  8. Dame pan y dime tonto (Give me bread and call me stupid)
    This phrase is used to express being easily fooled or manipulated.
  9. Echar agua al mar (To pour water into the sea)
    This phrase describes a futile or pointless action, emphasizing the wastefulness of the endeavor.
  10. Comerse el marrón (To eat the brown)
    To "eat the brown" in Spanish means to take the blame or responsibility for something unpleasant, similar to the English expression "to draw the short straw."

Idiomatic Expressions

These funny Spanish idioms offer a colorful tapestry of language, often steeped in a cultural context and metaphorical imagery.

  1. Tirar la casa por la ventana (Throwing the house out the window)
    This expression means to spare no expense or to celebrate extravagantly, often used to describe a lavish party or event.
  2. No tener pelos en la lengua (Have no hairs on the tongue)
    When someone "has no hairs on their tongue" in Spanish, it means they speak bluntly or without mincing words.
  3. Mona se queda (The monkey stays)
    Literally, "Aunque la mona se vista de ceda, mona se queda" translates to “although the she-monkey may be dressed in silk, she remains a monkey”.
  4. Andarse por las ramas (To walk among the branches)
    When someone "walks among the branches" in Spanish (as is the literal translation), it means they beat around the bush or avoid addressing the main issue, similar to the English expression "to beat around the bush."
  5. Ser más chulo que un ocho (To be cooler than an eight)
    This phrase describes someone who is overly confident or cocky.
  6. Ser un cero a la izquierda (To be a zero on the left)
    When someone is "a zero on the left" in Spanish (as is the literal translation), it means they are insignificant or worthless, similar to the English expression "to be a nobody."
  7. Ponerse las pilas (To put on the batteries)
    This expression means to get serious or to start paying attention, and is often used to encourage someone to focus or take action.
  8. Meter la pata (To put the foot in)
    This phrase is used when someone makes a mistake or messes up.
  9. Estar en las nubes (To be in the clouds)
    When someone is "in the clouds" in Spanish, it means they are daydreaming or not paying attention, similar to the English expression "to have one's head in the clouds.”
  10. Cruzar los dedos (To cross the fingers)
    This phrase is used to express hope or to wish for good luck, similar to the English expression "to keep one's fingers crossed."

Funny Spanish Sayings

Here are some more funny Spanish sayings, these idiomatic expressions not only offer humor but also profound wisdom encapsulated in colorful language.

  1. El que nace pa' tamal, del cielo le caen las hojas (He who is born to be a tamale, the leaves fall from the sky for him)
    This saying humorously implies that those who are destined for greatness have luck on their side, as if even nature conspires in their favor.
  2. Más se perdió en Cuba (More was lost in Cuba)
    Used to downplay a loss or mistake, this saying suggests that worse things have happened, akin to the English expression "it's not the end of the world."
  3. Camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente (The shrimp that falls asleep is carried away by the current)
    This saying warns against complacency, reminding us to stay vigilant and proactive, lest we be swept away by life's currents.
  4. A caballo regalado no se le mira el dentado (Don't look a gift horse in the mouth)
    Encouraging gratitude and acceptance of generosity, this saying advises against scrutinizing or being overly critical of something received as a gift or favor.
  5. El que mucho abarca, poco aprieta (He who embraces much, squeezes little)
    Serving as a caution against spreading oneself too thin, this saying suggests that focusing on too many things at once may lead to accomplishing very little in the end.
  6. Donde dije digo, digo Diego (Where I said say, I say Diego)
    We use this expression to criticize a person who goes back on their word, retracts a statement, or changes something in their speech.
  7. No hay mal que por bien no venga (There's no evil that doesn't bring some good)
    Offering optimism in the face of adversity, this saying suggests that even negative experiences can lead to positive outcomes or opportunities for growth.
  8. Más vale tarde que nunca (Better late than never)
    This timeless saying emphasizes the importance of taking action, even if delayed, rather than not taking action at all. It encourages perseverance and completion over procrastination.
  9. Al mal tiempo, buena cara (In bad weather, good face)
    Encouraging resilience and a positive attitude in difficult circumstances, this saying advises maintaining a cheerful demeanor despite facing challenges or hardships.
  10. Quien siembra vientos, recoge tempestades (Who sows winds, reaps storms)
    This saying serves as a caution against sowing discord or trouble, as the consequences of one's actions may come back to haunt them in the form of adversity or conflict.

Animal-Based Phrases

These Spanish expressions offer a fascinating insight into how animals are woven into the fabric of language to convey various meanings beyond their funny literal translation.

  1. Ser un pez gordo (To be a big fish)
    This phrase refers to someone who holds significant power or influence in a particular context, much like a prominent fish in a pond.
  2. Tener pájaros en la cabeza (To have birds in the head)
    When a native Spanish speaker says someone "has birds in their head", it means they are absent-minded or eccentric, akin to the English expression "to have bats in the belfry."
  3. No ver tres en un burro (Can't see three in a donkey)
    This saying is similar to the English phrase “to be as blind as a bat.”
  4. Estar más feliz que una lombriz (To be happier than a worm)
    This expression literally translates to “happy as an earthworm” and is similar to the English phrase “happy as a clam.”
  5. Ser un gallina (To be a chicken)
    Used to describe someone as cowardly or timid, this phrase likens them to a chicken, implying a lack of courage or bravery.
  6. Tener malas pulgas (To have bad fleas)
    This expression refers to someone who is irritable or ill-tempered, likening their moodiness to that of an animal infested with troublesome fleas.
  7. Ser una mosquita muerta (To be a dead little fly)
    This phrase describes someone who appears innocent or demure but may be secretly cunning or deceptive, akin to the English expression "a wolf in sheep's clothing."
  8. Ser un zorro (To be a fox)
    This saying refers to someone who is clever or cunning, drawing a parallel between their intelligence and the cunning nature of foxes.
  9. Estar como un toro (To be like a bull)
    Used to describe someone who is physically strong or robust, this phrase compares them to the strength and vigor of a bull.
  10. Ser un lince (To be a lynx)
    This expression refers to someone who is sharp-witted or perceptive, much like the keen senses of a lynx.

Here are also a few fun Spanish words and phrases that not only tickle the taste buds but also offer unique insights into the language's cultural richness and creativity.

  1. Ser la pera limonera (To be the lemon pear)
    This phrase describes someone or something as extraordinary or exceptional, akin to being a rare and delightful combination like a lemon pear.
  2. Estar como un queso (To be like a cheese)
    Used to compliment someone's appearance or state of being, this phrase implies that they are as delightful and appealing as a cheese.
  3. Estar fresco como una lechuga (To be as cool as a cucumber)
    This phrase describes someone who remains calm and composed, even in stressful situations.
  4. Estar más bueno que el pan (To be better than bread)
    This phrase expresses admiration for someone or something that is exceptionally attractive or appealing, comparing them to the universally loved staple of bread.
  5. Ser un melón (To be a melon)
    Used to describe someone who is foolish or clueless, this phrase implies a lack of intelligence or common sense.
  6. Ser un chorizo (To be a sausage)
    This phrase refers to someone who is cunning or deceitful, akin to calling them a "scoundrel" or a "crook."
  7. Tener mala leche (To have bad milk)
    Used to describe someone who is in a bad mood or has a sour disposition, this phrase likens their temperament to spoiled milk.
  8. Me importa un pimiento (I don't care a pepper)
    This expression is used to say "I don't care one little bit”, or “I don't give a hoot”.
  9. Estar como una sopa (To be like a soup)
    This phrase describes someone or something as disorganized or chaotic, implying a lack of cohesion or structure.
  10. Ser un jamón (To be a ham)
    In colloquial Spanish, particularly in Spain, "ser un jamón" refers to someone who is physically attractive.

Body Parts and Actions

If you are learning Spanish to travel to a Spanish-speaking country and want to talk to a native speaker, the following funny Spanish words and phrases will be a great place to start learning the local idioms.

  1. Estar hasta las narices (To be up to the noses)
    This expression conveys frustration or annoyance, suggesting that someone has reached their limit and is fed up with a situation.
  2. Tener agallas (To have gills)
    This phrase has the colloquial meaning of someone having guts or courage to navigate through challenging waters.
  3. Hablar por los codos (To talk by the elbows)
    The literal translation of this phrase does sound funny and it is used to describe someone who talks excessively or incessantly.
  4. Estar hecho un trapo (To be made a rag)
    This phrase describes someone who looks or feels disheveled, exhausted, or worn out.
  5. Quedarse de piedra (To stay like a stone)
    This expression describes being stunned or shocked into immobility, as if turned to stone.
  6. Tener un humor de perros (To have a dog's humor)
    This phrase describes being in a bad mood or having a foul temper.
  7. Estar en su salsa (To be in their sauce)
    This phrase means to be in one's element or to feel comfortable and at ease.
  8. Hacer la pelota (To make the ball)
    This phrase refers to flattery or ingratiating behavior aimed at gaining favor or advantage from someone else.
  9. Ser un cara dura (To be a hard face)
    This expression describes someone who is shameless or audacious, someone who can brazenly face any situation.
  10. Hacer un papelón (To make the big part/leading role)
    This phrase means that a person is making a fool of oneself or an embarrassing blunder, similar to making a big mistake on stage.

Summing Up: Funny Spanish Phrases Every Spanish Learner Should Learn

From favorite funny Spanish phrases to timeless Spanish idioms and funny sayings, each expression on our list offers a glimpse into the linguistic richness cherished by native speakers across Spanish-speaking countries.

While the literal translation of some may raise eyebrows, it's the cultural nuances and shared experiences that truly bring these phrases to life. Whether you're a language learner or a native speaker, embracing these idiomatic gems fosters a deeper appreciation for the vibrancy of the Spanish language and its diverse array of expressions.

So, next time you find yourself conversing with native speakers in Spain or Latin America, don't hesitate to sprinkle these humorous phrases into your conversations for an extra dose of laughter and connection.

James can be reached via his website, learnspanishwithjames.com. Read James' review of Glossika here

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