SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

SPANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Spanish Expression of the Day: ‘Darle la vuelta a la tortilla’

Flipping a Spanish omelette is an artform, but this is also an expression which has nothing to do with your culinary skills.

spanish expression darle la vuelta a la tortilla
Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton that he can 'flip the Spanish omelette' in both the literal and metaphorical sense. Photo: Josep Lago/AFP

Spaniards love to refer to food in their idiomatic expressions, even when what they’re talking about has absolutely nothing to do with grub. 

We actually have an article which covers nine of these amazing foody expressions (which we’re sure you’ll enjoy after today’s Spanish Expression of the Day).

But what’s more quintessentially Spanish than una tortilla de patatas (omelette with potatoes)?

If you’ve ever made one, you’ll know that one of the hardest moments is when it comes to turning the omelette for the other side to cook. Some people carefully slide it onto a plate before placing it down again on the other side in the frying pan, whereas the more confident chefs will flip the tortilla directly from the sartén (frying pan). 

READ ALSO: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas

So what does the idiomatic expression dar la vuelta a tortilla mean?

Dar la vuelta a tortilla, or darle la vuelta a la tortilla in its more common reflexive form, refers to when you turn a situation around, from negative to positive.

So if a football coach encourages his players to darle la vuelta a la tortilla when they’re 2-0 down, he’s not asking them to put their aprons on and get cooking, he’s egging them on (pun intended) to make a comeback.

If a business deal is about to fall through, but your killer presentation manages to convince the investors to commit to the project, that means you’ve managed to darle la vuelta a la tortilla.

Or if a couple whose relationship is on the rocks is able to darle la vuelta a la tortilla, it means that they make up and avoid the break-up. 

In its literal sense, the expression translates to ‘flipping over the omelette’ or ‘turning the omelette around’.

Often we can trace back the origins of certain Spanish expressions and find interesting stories, but on this occasion it wasn’t Miguel de Cervantes who came up with this saying whilst cooking up a mean Spanish omelette, with onions of course. 

READ ALSO: Daily dilemmas – Is Spanish tortilla better with or without onions?

Darle la vuelta a la tortilla is a colloquial expression but it can still be used in all types of situations as it isn’t rude or derogatory.  

You can also say darle la vuelta a algo (turn something around), but why wouldn’t you want to use the tortilla expression if it’s fit for all purposes?

Examples:

¡Vamos equipo! Vamos a darle la vuelta a la tortilla y remontar el partido.

Come on, team! Let’s turn things around and make a comeback in this match. 

La reunión se puso cuesta arriba, pero supimos darle la vuelta a la tortilla y los inversores han comprado nuestro producto. 

The meeting was looking like an uphill battle, but we were able to turn things around and the investors bought our product. 

La situación se puso fea y parecía que iba a haber una pelea, pero Alberto con su labia pudo darle la vuelta a la tortilla.

Things weren’t looking good and it looked like there was going to be a brawl, but Alberto and his gift of the gab were able to turn the situation around.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

SPANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Spanish Expression of the Day: ¡Anda ya!

Here’s a great Spanish expression for those who don’t believe the hype.

Spanish Expression of the Day: ¡Anda ya!

Spaniards have many ways of expressing shock and surprise. In fact, we have an article which lists them all in detail, from ¡Madre mía! to ¡No me lo creo!.

 

But how about when you want to clearly express that you don’t believe what you’ve just heard?

 

That’s when Spanish speakers use the expression ¡Anda ya!.

 

It’s similar to when British people say ‘come off it’ or ‘pull the other one’, or Americans use ‘get out of here’ or ‘you cannot be serious’ à la John McEnroe.

 

In its literal sense ¡anda ya! means ‘walk now’, perhaps because it alludes to the fact that the person who is exaggerating or telling a lie should go for a hike. 

 

¡Anda! on its own (without the ya) just suggests slight surprise.

 

At times, ¡anda ya! can also be used to express surprise at unexpected news in a positive sense, without it meaning that you don’t believe what you’ve just heard.

 

But for the most part, this expression is whipped out when you feel someone is telling porky pies (lies). 

 

Other ways of shrugging off comments that don’t seem believable are ¡Venga ya! (used in the same way as ¡anda ya!no te lo crees ni tú (even you don’t believe that), ‘sí, sí, claro’ (whatever), ¿Será broma, no? (You can’t be serious!) or ni de coña (not a chance). 

 

Examples:

 

-En mi juventud, jugué para el Real Madrid junto a Di Stefano.

-¡Anda ya! Si viviste en Francia hasta los 30 años.

 

-In my youth, I played for Real Madrid together with Di Stefano. 

-Come off it! You lived in France until you were 30. 

 

 

-Penélope Cruz se van a presentar a la presidencia de España. 

-¡Anda ya! Eso no te lo crees ni tú!

 

-Penélope Cruz is going to run for the presidency of Spain. 

-Come off it! Even you don’t believe that. 

SHOW COMMENTS