Funny Spanish Translations

The biggest problem with speaking or understanding multiple languages: you have to enjoy language jokes all by yourself (unless you find others who understand the same languages!).

You don’t have to laugh alone now – you’ve come to the right spot. It doesn’t matter if you speak or comprehend Spanish well (if you’re an expert, even better), you’ll find yourself chuckling at these funny Spanish sayings and their actual meanings.

Now, we never recommend translating literally but we’ll make an exception this time. 😉

10 Funny Spanish Sayings and their Translations

Have you ever noticed that many idioms and funny phrases have to do with animals or food? Well, these examples fit that bill. But first, we start with a king.

1. hablando del rey de Roma!

Hablando del rey de Roma means speaking of the king of Rome. In English, we would say speaking of the devil. Fortunately, in Spanish, the phrase sounds more like a compliment. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather be called a king (or queen) than the devil.

Now that we’re done with royalty, we can move on to animals…firstly, specifically insects.

2. Por si las moscas

Por si las moscas literally means for if the flies. This phrase means just in case.

I can understand the sentiment behind this, but I still wonder why not mosquitos?

So, you could say: Let’s get extra toilet paper before the lockdown, por si las moscas.

The next funny Spanish phrase involves a creature a little larger than a fly. Ok, much larger.

3. No ver tres en un burro

What’s the most obvious thing you would see and notice without a doubt? Did you possibly think “a three (3) on a donkey?”

Then you’ve guessed correctly!

No ver tres en un burro means to not see 3 on a donkey, which is just to say that someone is missing something very obvious or that is right in front of their eyes.

How are you not seeing the purple elephant riding a motorcycle? Oh my gosh, no ves tres en un burro!

We’ve looked at translated Spanish idioms with animals that reside on land and air. Now all we’re missing is water…

4. Me pica el bagre

Although not overly pleasant sounding, this phrase does exactly describe the feeling. That is, me pica el bagre means the catfish is biting me.

Can you imagine when you would feel like a catfish is biting you?

Obviously, it’s when you’re hungry. Before you get too hangry next time, be sure to loudly yell me pica el bagre!!! (Just make sure someone understands you.)

Talking about eating is a nice segue into the next phrases about food.

5. A huevo!

If you’re an enthusiastic person who likes to say yes and likes to eat eggs, then this phrase is for you. A huevo means literally to egg. However, it has various meanings: heck yes, yes, of course, for sure, etc.

Like many words and phrases, meaning often depends on the region in which it’s used. But using it as an affirmative is quite popular.

Do you want a million dollars?

Uh, a huevo!

The next phrase in Spanish has to do with pumpkins – what could be more appropriate for the autumn/winter season?

6. Dar calabazas

While Americans are crazy about pumpkins, it seems that Spanish speakers may not be so much. Dar calabazas (to give pumpkins) is what someone does when they don’t return another person’s affection.

For example: I feel dejected. The guy I like me ha dado calabazas. I wish he felt the same way towards me as I do him. ☹

Why doesn’t the Spanish language like pumpkins? Some say it was because the Greeks were not a fan of pumpkins and thought them to be anaphrodisiacs.

So, giving pumpkins means you don’t much care for someone. What if you gave a papaya instead?

7. No dar papaya

To not give papaya is no dar papaya in Spanish. While you might think this is related to the pumpkin phrase, it’s actually not.

No dar papaya means to be careful so as to not be taken advantage of. Papayas are precious and should be guarded.

Example: Avoid looking down at your phone all the time when you’re walking on a busy street. ¡No da papaya!

We’re giving away pumpkins and papayas left and right. Get ready. It’s about to get a lot more violent.

8. Le zumba el mango

Now we’re flinging mangos! Le zumba el mango means to fling the mango. You can say this when you find something hard to believe. You could say the English Get out of here! is an equivalent phrase.

That’s it for fruit phrases in Spanish – at least for the moment.

Le zumba el mango!

9. Creerse la última coca-cola del desierto

Creerse la última coca-cola del desierto is a phrase used to describe someone who is full of themselves or arrogant. The English translation literally means to think you’re the last coke in the dessert.

I guess if you’re the last of anything, you would naturally be the best. I’m not sure we could argue with that statement.

Next time you think someone is full of themselves, you can just say it under your breath in Spanish. Just make sure they don’t happen to know what this phrase means…

Finally, our last Spanish phrase and it’s back-translation have nothing to do with food or animals.

10. Tomar el pelo

Tomar el pelo means to take hair. This is similar to the English saying to pull someone’s leg, which also means to fool or trick them.

Which of the two phrases do you think makes more sense? Which phrase do you think is funnier?

Conclusion

Hopefully, you’ve had fun learning these ten Spanish phrases and their funny translations. Feel free to add them to your Spanish or Spanglish vocabulary. You’re sure to impress many people.

Looking for more fun? Check out our article on funny German words to really get the laughter rolling.

What other funny Spanish phrases do you know? What funny sayings do you have in your own language?

Let us know in the comments below. We love hearing from you!



As an American native, Joy translates profficiently marketing content from German and Chinese into English. She is one of our in-house translators.

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