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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Ten Spanish slang phrases you never learn at school

There is so much more to learning Spanish than simply mastering the grammar and pronunciation. To really sound like a local you have to pepper your everyday speak with bizarre, hilarious and often down right insulting turns of phrase. Here's 10 of the best.

Ten Spanish slang phrases you never learn at school
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Me cago en la leche

Photo: stetsik/Depositphotos

Translation: I crap in the milk

Spaniards metaphorically crap on all kinds of things when they want to express anger or frustration; from God Almighty (Dios), to 'your' mother (tu madre) and the salty sea (la mar salada). Perhaps the most bizarre thing they choose to mentally defecate on is 'the milk'. All these expressions sound very vulgar in English but in Spanish they're so common most recipients would barely bat an eyelid.

READ MORE: Five ways that 'leche' means more than just 'milk' in Spain

Manda huevos!


Photo: wavebreakmedia/Depositphotos

Translation: Send eggs

Unless you’re actually in the business of delivering groceries then this is bound to sound a little peculiar. But 'Manda huevos!', which means something like 'Give me a break!', is the perfect expression for when you're fed up or frustrated by something. 

Llevar los huevos de corbata


Photo: ikostudio/Depositphotos

Translation: Wear ones balls as a tie

Another use of huevos but this time not talking about the shell variety but rather male genitalia. To wear your balls as a tie translates as being tense or nervous. In fact, Spaniards will often hold their throat and say 'this is where I have my balls'- con los huevos aquí– when they want to express nervousness or fear.

Que te la pique un pollo

Translation: “I hope a chicken pecks at your dick”

Pretty self explanatory this one. Best reserved for someone who has really wronged you. 

Vete a freir espárragos

Photo: sukr13/Depositphotos

Translation: Go and fry asparagus

This is a polite way of telling someone to fuck off in Spanish. 'Vete a freir espárragos' is a step down from ¡vete por ahí! (get lost) and three down from ¡que te folle un pez! ('May a fish make love to you').

Mojar el churro

Photo: joannawnuk/Depositphotos

Translation: to wet the churro

Yes, churros: those long, thick doughnut sticks we all love to dunk in chocolate and put in our mouths. Like most stick-shaped food, churros are euphemistically used to described a man's privates. 'Mojar el churro' means to have sex.

De puta madre

Translation: Of the whore's mother.

Best translated in English as It’s the shi*/ the best thing ever!

There are somethings so great that you can only describe them as de puta madre.  “I can’t believe how good that tastes! De puta madre!”

Matar el gusanillo

Translation: To kill the worm

Photo: sdenness/Depositphotos

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.

Pollas en vinagre

 

Translation:“Dicks in vinegar”

Use this phrase to call out those who are telling porkies.  It's the Spanish equivalent of saying “bullshit.” 

No seas tan pendejo 

Translation: Don’t be such a pube

Use this when telling someone not to be such an asshole.

READ MORE: Getting explicit: Your guide to how to swear like a Spaniard 

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SPANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Spanish Expression of the Day: ‘Montar un pollo’

If someone accuses you of 'riding a chicken' in Spain, should you be offended?

Spanish Expression of the Day: 'Montar un pollo'

In today’s fascinating Spanish Expression of the Day, we have a saying which may seem a bit confusing or even shocking to foreigners.

Montar un pollo, which in its literal sense translates as ‘to ride a chicken’ in Spanish, actually means to make a scene. 

So if someone is flipping out, running amok, getting excessively angry or boisterous and generally overreacting in a loud and noticeable way, the colloquial way of saying it in Spanish is that they’re montando un pollo.

In fact, there are several other ways of saying that someone is making a scene in Spanish. 

There’s armar un escándalo, hacer un drama, montar una escena and our personal favourite montar un numerito (as in perform a small musical or theatrical act).  

But going back to the ‘riding a chicken’ expression. Even though everyone writes it as pollo, the original expression was with the word poyo with a y, which means stone bench or kitchen counter. 

It originates from the Latin word podium, which is what Medieval Spaniards would bring with them to town squares, assemble and stand on to get the attention of a crowd when they wanted to give a speech, events which no doubt got pretty noisy and lively.

Montar in Spanish can mean to mount/get on (as well as assemble, ride or whip), so montar un pollo can really be understood as ‘getting on or setting up a podium’, which makes sense in terms of the expression ‘making a scene’.

If a person is giving someone a telling-off or berating them, this expression can also be used in its reflexive form by saying montarle un pollo a alguien. Similarly, the expression can be used in its reflexive form when describing a lot of commotion or disruption that’s taking place, as in se montó un pollo.

Examples:

Esa mujer le ha montado un pollo al camarero porque se le olvidó traerle los cubiertos.

That woman flipped out at the waiter because he forgot to bring her cutlery.

Hay unos jóvenes borrachos en la plaza montando un pollo que no veas. 

There are some drunk young people in the square making a scene that you wouldn’t believe.

¿Te quieres tranquilizar? ¡Estás montando un pollo y haciendo el ridículo!

Do you want to calm down? You’re making a scene and showing yourself up!

Se montó un pollo porque el novio le pilló poniéndole los cuernos.

All hell broke loose because the boyfriend caught her cheating on him.

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