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Lists of Idiomatic Expressions

One of the most difficult aspects of a language to master is the usage of idiomatic expressions.
Idiomatic expressions are phrases that carry a specific meaning within the language. Normally,
there is no logical way of translating them word by word. The only way to learn them is to
memorize them, and to practice their use. Below, you will find a series of Spanish idiomatic
expressions grouped by types, according to the verb or the preposition they contain, and their
English counterparts.

Expresiones con DAR (Idioms with DAR)


dar a to face; to look out upon dar la espalda to turn one’s back
dar a conocer to make known dar gritos to shout

dar a luz to give birth dar gusto to please

dar un abrazo to embrace dar la hora to strike the hour

dar asco to disgust dar gato por liebre to gyp; to swindle

dar la bienvenida to welcome dar las gracias to thank

dar brincos to jump dar guerra to cause a lot of trouble

dar los buenos to say good dar largas to prolong an affair


(días, tardes) (morning, afternoon)

dar calabazas to jilt; to flunk dar lata to make a nuisance of


oneself

dar la cara to take responsibility dar lugar a to give cause for

dar carta blanca to give someone a free hand dar una mano to lend a hand

dar con to come upon; to find dar lo mismo to make no difference

dar con la puerta to slam the door dar la nota to stand out
en las narices in one’s face

dar cuenta de to give a report on dar pena a to aggrieve

dar cuerda a to wind dar que hablar to give grounds


for criticism

dar de alta to discharge (a patient) dar que hacer to cause trouble

dar de baja to drop (from a list) dar que pensar to give grounds
for suspicion

dar de beber (comer) to give a drink (to feed) dar palos de ciego to swing out wildly

dar de palos to beat; to thrash dar parte to inform

dar en to strike against; to hit dar un paseo to take a walk


(continued)

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dar por + past participle to consider dar una vuelta to take a stroll

darse por aludido to take it personally darse a to devote oneself to

dar a hecho to take for granted darse cuenta de to realize

dar por muerto to consider dead darse de baja to withdraw; to drop out

dar por sentado to take for granted darse ínfulas to put on airs

dar razón to give account darse la mano to shake hands

dar la razón to agree with darse por + past participle to consider oneself

dar recuerdos a to give regards to darse por vencido to give up

dar rienda suelta a to give free rein to darse prisa to hurry

dar al traste con to destroy; to spoil dársela a uno to make a fool out of
someone

dar voces to shout dárselas de to pose as; to claim to be

dar vueltas a to think something over

Expresiones con ECHAR (Idioms with ECHAR)


echar a + infinitive to start to echar en cara to throw in one’s face

echar a perder to ruin; to spoil echar en el olvido to forget completely

echar abajo to demolish echar flores to flatter

echar al correo to mail echar mano a to lay hands on

echar la bronca a uno to give someone echar raíces to take root


a dressing down

echar chispas to be furious; to be angry echar todo a rodar to make a fizzle

echar la culpa to blame echarse atrás to lean backwards; to retract

echar de comer to feed (animals) echarse a dormir to lie down to sleep

echar de menos to miss echárselas de to boast of being

Expresiones con ESTAR (Idioms with ESTAR)


está despejado it’s clear estar al corriente de to be up to date

está nublado it’s cloudy estar apurado to be in a hurry

estar a to be priced at estar calado to be soaked to the skin

estar a dos velas to be broke estar como pez en el agua to be right at home

estar a punto de to be about to estar con el alma en vilo to be in suspense

estar a sus anchas to be comfortable estar conforme con to be in agreement with

estar al caer to be about to happen estar de acuerdo to be in agreement

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List of Idiomatic Expressions

estar de buen humor to be in a good mood estar en el limbo to be lost

estar de mal humor to be in a bad mood estar en todo to have a finger in everything

estar de más to be in excess estar en un tris to be about to happen

estar de paso to be passing through estar fuera de sí to be beside oneself


emotionally

estar de sobra to be in excess estar hecho polvo to be worn out

estar de vuelta to be back estar hecho una fiera to be furious

estar en Babia to daydream estar hecho una sopa to be soaked

estar en brazos de Morfeo to be sleeping estar loco de remate to be completely crazy

estar en condiciones to be in good shape estar para + infinitive to be about to

estar en forma to be in good shape estar pez to ignore (something)

estar en la luna to have one’s head estar sin blanca to be flat broke
in the clouds

estar en las nubes to daydream

Expresiones con HABER (Idioms with HABER)


haber de + infinitive to be supposed to; haber lodo to be muddy
to have to

haber gato encerrado there is something fishy haber neblina to be foggy

haber sol to be sunny hay luna there is moonlight

haber polvo to be dusty hay que + infinitive it is necessary; one must

Expresiones con HACER (Idioms with HACER)


hace + time expression + ago hacer calor to be warm
que + preterite

hace mucho tiempo long time ago hacer caso de to pay attention to; to notice

hace poco a little while ago hacer cola to line up

hacer su agosto to make a killing hacer daño to harm; to damage

hacer alarde to boast hacer de to work as; to act as

hacer alusión to allude hacer de cuenta to pretend; to act as though

hacer añicos to break to pieces hacer de nuevo to do over

hacer buen tiempo to be good weather hacer de las suyas to be up to one’s old tricks

hacer buenas migas to hit it off with someone hacer de tripas corazón to pluck up courage

hacer burla de to make fun of hacer falta to be in need of


(continued)

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hacer el favor to do a favor hacer señas to signal


hacer frente to face; to take hacer viento to be windy
the responsability
hacer fresco to be cool (weather) hacer un viaje to take a trip
hacer frío to be cold (weather) hacer una visita to pay a visit
hacer fuerza to exert force hacerse to become
hacer juego to match hacerse con to provide oneself with
hacer el papel de to play the role of hacerse ilusiones to fool oneself
hacer mal tiempo to be bad weather hacerse de rogar to like to be coaxed
hacer mofa to mock; to scoff at hacerse tarde to become late
hacer morisquetas to play pranks hacerse daño to hurt oneself
hacer las paces to make peace hacerse de la to turn a blind eye
vista gorda
hacer pedazos to break to pieces; to tear hacerse el muerto to play dead
hacer un pedido to place an order hacerse el sueco to pretend not to understand
hacer una pregunta to ask a question hacerse el tonto to play dumb
hacer saber to inform hacérsele agua la boca to make someone’s mouth water

Expresiones con PONER (Idioms with PONER)


poner al corriente to inform poner las cartas to lay one’s cards
sobre la mesa on the table
poner al día to bring someone up to date poner pies en polvorosa to take to one’s heels
poner al sol to expose to the sun poner por las nubes to praise highly
poner aparte to set aside poner los puntos to dot the i’s and
sobre las íes cross the t’s
poner nuevo to humiliate; to reprimand poner reparos to make objectionss
poner como un trapo to wipe the floor ponerle el cascabel to stick one’s neck out
with someone al gato
poner las cosas en claro to clear things up; to explain ponerse + adjective to become (involuntarily)
poner de manifiesto to make public ponerse a + infinitive to begin to
poner en apuros to put in a jam ponerse bien to get well
poner en claro to make clear ponerse colorado to blush
poner en duda to question ponerse de acuerdo to come to an agreement
poner en marcha to start; to get going ponerse de pie to stand up
poner el grito en el cielo to complain bitterly ponerse en ridículo to make look ridiculous
poner mala cara to give a dirty look ponérsele la carne de gallina to get goose pimples
poner la mesa to set the table

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List of Idiomatic Expressions

Expresiones con TENER (Idioms with TENER)


tener a bien to find it convenient tener mundo to be sophisticated
tener ángel to be charming tener los nervios to have one’s nerve on
de punta the edge
tener años to be old tener ojo de buen cubero to have accurate eye
tener buena estrella to be lucky tener pájaros en la cabeza to have bats in the belfry
tene corazón de piedra to be hard-hearted tener palabra to keep one’s word
tener calor to be hot tener la palabra to have the floor
tener cuidado to be careful tener pensado to intend to
tener la culpa to be to blame for tener un pico de oro to be very persuasive
tener un disgusto to have a falling out tener por + past participle to consider
tener dolor to have a pain tener presente to bear in mind
tener en cuenta to take into account tener prisa to be in a hurry
tener en mente to have in mind tener que + infinitive to have to do something
tener en la punta to have on the tip tener que ver con to have to do with
de la lengua of one’s tongue
tener entendido que to understand that tener razón to be right
tener éxito to be successful tener sed to be thirsty
tener frío to be cold tener sueño to be sleepy
tener ganas de to feel like tener suerte to be lucky
tener gracia to be funny tener vergüenza to be ashamed
tener hambre to be hungry no tener arreglo not able to be helped
tener los huesos molidos to be exhausted no tener la menor idea to not have the slightest
idea
tener inconveniente to mind; to object to no tener nombre to be unspeakable
tener lástima (a alguien) to feel sorry for someone no tener un pelo de tonto to be nobody’s fool
tener la lengua larga to have a big mouth no tener pelos en la lengua to be very outspoken
tener líos to have difficulties no tener pies ni cabeza to not make any sense
tener lugar to take place no tener razón to be wrong
tener madera para to be made for no tener remedio not able to be helped
tener mala cara to look bad no tener donde to be penniless
caerse muerto
tener malas pulgas to be short-tempered no tenerlas todas consigo to be anxious;
to be worried
tener miedo de to be afraid of

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Expresiones con TOMAR (Idioms with TOMAR)


tomar a broma to take as a joke tomar la palabra to take the floor

tomar a pecho to take to heart tomar partido to side with

tomar al pie de la letra to take literally tomar el pelo to pull someone’s leg

tomar algo a bien to take something well tomar por su cuenta to take charge of

tomar algo a mal to take something badly tomar el rábano por las hojas to be off the track

tomar aliento to catch one’s breath tomar las de Villadiego to take to one’s heels

tomar en serio to take seriously tomarse la molestia to take the trouble

tomar la delantera to get ahead of tomárselo con calma to take it easy

Otras Expresiones Verbales (Other Verbal Idioms)


acabar de + infinitive to have just burlarse de to make fun of

acabar por + infinitive to end up buscar tres pies al gato to split hairs

acercarse a to approach no caber en sí to be beside oneself; to


be presumptuous

acordarse de to remember caer del cielo to come out of the blue

alegrarse de to be glad of caerse el alma a los pies to be down in the dumps

alejarse de to go away from cambiar de to change

andar de boca en boca to be generally known cambiar de idea to change one’s mind

andar de mal en peor to get worse and worse carecer de to lack

andar con rodeos to beat about the bush casarse con to marry

andarse por las ramas to beat around the bush codearse con to hobnob with

apoderarse de to take possession of consentir en to consent to

apoyarse en to lean on consistir en to consist of

apresurarse a + infinitive to hurry to consultar con la almohada to sleep on it

aprovecharse de to take advantage of contar con to rely on

armarse un escándalo to cause a row convenir en to agree on

arrepentirse de to repent costar trabajo to be difficult

asistir a to attend cuidar a to take care of (a person)

asomarse a to appear at (a window) cuidar de to take care of (a thing)

asombrarse de to be astonished cuidarse de to be careful about

atreverse a + infinitive to dare to cumplir con to fullfill

bajar de to get off decir cuatro verdades to tell someone a thing


or two

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List of Idiomatic Expressions

no decir ni pío to not say a word ir por cuenta de la casa on the house

no decir ni esta to not say a word ir sobre ruedas to run smoothly


boca es mía

dejar caer to drop ir tirando to get by

dejar de + infinitive to fail to; to stop ir viento en popa to run smoothly

dejar dicho to leave word pensar en to think of

dejar plantado to stand someone up perder cuidado to not worry

dirigirse a to address; to make one’s perder de vista to lose sight of


way to

diponerse a + infinitive to get ready to perder el juicio to go out of one’s mind

dorar la píldora to sugarcoat something perder los estribos to lose one’s poise

dormir a pierna suelta to sleep like a log quedar boquiabierto to be left agape in shock
or bewilderment

dormir como un lirón to sleep like a dormouse quedar en to agree on

dormir la mona to sleep off a hangover quedarle algo to have (something) left

dormirse en los laureles to rest on one’s laurels quedarle bien to fit; to be becoming

empeñarse en + infinitive to insist on; to persist in quedarse con to keep

enamorarse de to fall in love with quedarse de una pieza to be dumbfounded

encogerse de hombros to shrug one’s shoulders quedarse sin blanca to be flat broke

enterarse de to become aware of; quemarse las pestañas to burn the midnight oil
to find out about

faltarle un tornillo to have a screw loose quejarse de to complain about

fiarse de to trust querer decir to mean

fijarse en to stare at; to notice quitarse de encima to get rid of

gozar de to enjoy reírse de to laugh at; to make fun of

hablar hasta por los codos to talk incessantly reparar en to look at; to notice

no importar un comino to not give a damn about romperse la cabeza to rack one’s brain

insistir en to insist on saber + infinitive to know how to do


something

ir a la mitad to go 50-50 saber de memoria to know by heart

ir al grano to get straight to the point sacar a bailar to lead out for a dance

ir de compras to go shopping sacar de quicio to drive crazy

ir de juerga to go on a spree sacar en claro to make clear


(continued)

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sacar una fotografía to take a picture traerle al retortero to trouble one by


overwork

sacar el jugo to work (one) hard traerse entre manos to be up to something

sacar ventaja de to profit by tratar de + infinitive to try to

salir a to resemble; to take after tratarse de to be a question of

salir adelante to be successful tropezar con to come upon

salir al encuentro to go to meet valer la pena to be worthwhile

salir al paso to run into; to confront valer lo que pesa to be worth its weight in
gold

salir bien to do well venir a menos to decay

salir de to dispose of venir al suelo to fall to the ground

salir ganando to come out a winner venir de perilla to come in the nick of time

alirse con la suya to have one’s own way venir de perlas to be just right

saltar a la vista to be obvious ver las estrellas to feel acute pain

servir de to serve as ver los cielos abiertos to see a great opportunity

servir para to be useful for verlo todo negro to be pessimistic

soñar con to dream of volver a + infinitive to . . . again

subir a to get on (something) volver a las andadas to go back to one’s old ways

tardar en + infinitive to delay volver atrás to go back

temblar de to tremble with volver en sí to regain conciousness

tirar de to pull volver loco to drive crazy

tocar madera knock on wood volverle el alma al cuerpo to recover from a shock

tocarle a uno to be one’s turn volverse loco to lose one’s mind

traer a colación to bring up to discussion

Expresiones con A (Idioms with A)


a bordo on board a ciegas blindly

a caballo on horseback a ciencia cierta with complete certainty

a cada instante at every moment a crédito on credit

a campo raso in the open a diestra y siniestra right and left

a cántaros cats and dogs (to rain) a diferencia de in contrast to; unlike

a casa home (to go) a duras penas with great difficulty

a causa de because of a escondidas on the sly

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List of Idiomatic Expressions

a eso de + time at about + time a menudo often

a excepción de with the exception of a oscuras in the dark

a favor de in favor of a partir de from a particular moment on

a fin de cuentas after all a pesar de in spite of

a fin de que in order that a pie on foot

a finales in the latter part of a pierna suelta without a care

a fines de late in a pocos pasos at a short distance

a fondo thoroughly a primera vista at first sight

a fuerza de by dint of a principios de at the beginning of; early in

a gatas on all fours a propósito by the way; on purpose

a gusto at will a prueba de resistant to

a la fuerza by force a razón de at the rate of

a la larga in the long run a regañadientes reluctantly

a la moda in style a sabiendas knowingly

a la vez at the same time a saltos by leaps and bounds

a la vuelta de at the turn of a solas alone

a las claras openly a tiempo on time

a las mil maravillas wonderfully a tientas blindly

a lo largo de alongside a todo trance at all costs

a lo lejos in the distance a tontas y a locas helter-skelter

a lo mejor may be a través de through; across

a los cuatro vientos in all directions a veces sometimes

a mano handmade al aire libre in the open air

a mano derecha on the right-hand side al amanecer at daybreak

a mano izquierda on the left-hand side al anochecer at nightfall

a más tardar at the vary latest al azar by chance

a mediados de at about the middle of al cabo de at the end of

a medio tiempo part time al contado cash

al mediodía at noon al contrario on the contrary

a menos unless al día up-to-date; current

a merced at the mercy of al día siguiente next day


(continued)

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al fin finally al parecer apparently


al fin y al cabo in the end; after all al pie de la letra word for word
al lado de next to al poco rato shortly
al menos at least al principio at first
al mismo tiempo at the same time al revés inside out
al oído confidentially

Expresiones con DE (Idioms with DE)


de acuerdo con in accordance with de mal en peor from bad to worse

de ahora en adelante from now on de mala gana unwillingly

de antemano ahead of time de manera que so that

de aquí en adelante from now on de memoria by heart

de arriba a abajo from top to bottom de moda in fashion

de buena fe in good faith de modo so that

de buena gana willingly de nada you are welcome

de buenas a primeras on the spur of the moment de ningún modo by no means

de cabo a rabo from beginning to end de nuevo again

de cuando en cuando from time to time de otro modo otherwise

de este modo in this way de par en par wide open

de frente straight ahead de pie standing

de hecho in fact de prisa rapidly; in a hurry

de golpe suddenly de pronto suddenly

de hoy en adelante from now on de puntillas on tiptoe

de improviso unexpectedly de repente suddenly

de lo contrario otherwise de repuesto spare; extra

de lo lindo very much; a great deal de rodillas kneeling

de sobra too many de una vez once and for all

de sol a sol from sunrise to sunset de vacaciones on vacation

de súbito suddenly de veras really; truly

de todos modos anyhow de vez en cuando from time to time

de un momento a otro at any moment

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List of Idiomatic Expressions

Expresiones con EN (Idioms with EN)


en adelante in the future en lugar de instead of

en balde in vain en marcha under way

en breve in short en medio de in the middle of

en broma jokingly en ninguna parte nowhere

en busca de in search of en otras palabras in other words

en cambio on the other hand en pleno día in broad daylight

en casa at home en poder de in the hands of

en caso de in case of en presencia de in the presence of

en conjunto as a whole en punto on the dot

en contra de contrary to en realidad as a matter of fact

en cuanto as soon as en resumen in summary

en cuanto a in regard to en seguida at once, immediately

en efecto in fact; actually en suma in short

en el acto right away en tanto in the meantime

en el fondo deep down en todas partes everywhere

en el momento preciso in the nick of the time en todo caso in any event

en espera de awaiting en torno a about; in connection with

en estado pregnant en un abrir y cerrar de ojos in the twinkling of an eye

en esto at this point en un santiamén in the twinkling of an eye

en fin in conclusion en vano in vain

en frente de in front of en vez de instead of

en general by and large en vigor in force

en la actualidad at the present time en vista de since

en libertad free en voz alta aloud

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