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

Green dogs and trapped cats: Ten animal idioms to help you sound more Spanish
Are you as weird as a green dog? Photo: Ramón Peco/Flickr
The Local takes you on a tour of some of Spain's wackiest sayings involving animals.

Has a Spanish friend ever compared you to a goat?

Has anyone ever asked you if you’re the one who cuts the cod at your place?

Don’t be surprised, the Spanish use all manner of expressions involving our furry and feathered friends.

Take a walk on the wild side with our list of the weirdest animal sayings used by the Spanish.



To be like a goat is used to describe somebody who’s nuts. “¡Está como una cabra!”- He’s bonkers.


Photo by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash

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


Greg S/flickr

To kill the worm is to take the edge off your hunger. “A ver si con esta tapa matas el gusanillo.” – Let’s see if you take the edge off your hunger with this tapa.


Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

To be a rat is to be tight-fisted. “No seas rata, déjame €5.” – Don’t be so tight-fisted, lend me €5.



To pay the duck is to carry the can for something. “Ahora me toca pagar el pato por lo que he hecho.” – Now I have to take responsibility for what I’ve done.


Photo by Anna Auza on Unsplash

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


Photo by Susanna Marsiglia on Unsplash

There’s a trapped cat here means there’s something fishy going on. “Aquí hay gato encerrado.”

Dogs and 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. “No te vayas a Alemania, ahi los perros no están atados con longanizas.” – Don’t go to Germany, the streets aren’t paved with gold over there.


Photo by Eric Daoust on Unsplash

When the Spanish get a sweat up, they do it chicken-style. “¡Que calor! Estoy sudando como un pollo!” – It’s so hot! I’m sweating like a chicken.

Green dog

Photo: Istolethetv/flickr

In Spanish, to say someone is weirder than a green dog means they are very odd. “Es más raro que un perro verde, se pone la ropa de su abuela.” – He’s so weird, he wears his grandma’s clothes.

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