Green dogs and trapped cats: Ten animal idioms to help you sound more Spanish

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 18 Oct, 2022 Updated Tue 18 Oct 2022 12:32 CEST
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In Spanish, if you say someone is 'weirder than a green dog' it means they are very odd. Photo by JACK MIKRUT /SCANPIX SWEDEN/AFP

Has a Spanish friend ever compared you to a goat? Or asked you if you're the one who cuts the cod at home? Don't be surprised, the Spanish use all manner of expressions involving our furry and feathered friends.


'To be like a goat'


'To be like a goat' is used to describe somebody who's nuts.

Example: ¡Está como una cabra! - He's bonkers.



'To lift the hare'

Photo by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash

'To lift the hare' is like letting the cat out of the bag.

Example: No se quien levantó la liebre pero ahora todo el mundo sabe que suspendí el examen. - I don't know who let the cat out of the bag but everybody knows I failed my exam.


'To kill the worm'

Greg S/flickr

'To kill the worm' is to take the edge off your hunger.

Example: A ver si con esta tapa matas el gusanillo. - Let's see if you take the edge off your hunger with this tapa.



'To be a rat'

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

'To be a rat' is to be tight-fisted.

Example: No seas rata, déjame €5. - Don't be so tight-fisted, lend me €5.


'To pay the duck'


'To pay the duck' is to carry the can for something.

Example: Ahora me toca pagar el pato por lo que he hecho. - Now I have to take responsibility for what I've done.


'To cut the cod'

Photo by Anna Auza on Unsplash

'To cut the cod' is to call the shots.

Example: Desde que se fue mi padre, yo soy el que corta el bacalao en esta casa. - Since my father left, I'm the one who calls the shots in this house.


'There's a trapped cat here'

Photo by Susanna Marsiglia on Unsplash

'There's a trapped cat here' means there's something fishy going on.

Example: Aquí hay gato encerrado. No me estás contando lo que realmente pasó. - There's something fishy going on. You're not telling me what really happened. 


'The dogs aren't tied up with sausages'

Photo: GGVogman/Flickr

In English you say the streets aren't paved with gold, but in Spain you say 'the dogs aren't tied up with sausages'.

Example: No te vayas a Alemania, ahí los perros no están atados con longanizas. - Don't go to Germany, the streets aren't paved with gold over there.



'Sweating like a chicken'

Photo by Eric Daoust on Unsplash

When the Spanish get a sweat up, they do it chicken-style.

Example: ¡Que calor! Estoy sudando como un pollo! - It's so hot! I'm sweating bucketloads.


'Stranger than a green dog'

Photo: Istolethetv/flickr

In Spanish, if you say someone is 'weirder than a green dog' it means they are very odd.

Example: Es más raro que un perro verde, se pone la ropa de su abuela. - He's so weird, he wears his grandma's clothes.




The Local 2022/10/18 12:32

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