Spanish idioms with countries

¡Hola a todos!


Today I’d like to talk again about Spanish Idioms! What topic this time? Well… I’ve already talked to you about Spanish Idioms with Spanish cities, and this time I’m talking about Spanish Idioms with other countries or nationalities. Not all of them are idioms, but you’ll also find some frequent collocations we use in Spanish.

Ready? There we go!


Me suena a chino

This is the Spanish equivalent to “sounds like Greek to me”, only that we don’t use Greek language, but Chinese!


Montaña rusa

We call “Russian mountain” to the roller-coasters we can find at fairs or amusement parks.


Ensaladilla rusa

The “Russian salad” is a salad consisting in boiled potatoes, boiled eggs, mayonnaise and different vegetables (depending on every person’s tastes) which is served cool. Perfect for summer!


Hacerse el sueco

This is one of my favourites, meaning something like playing dumb. For example:

¿Por qué no me contestaste el otro día? ¡Te llamé por la calle y te hiciste el sueco!


Cuento chino

The “Chinese tale” is an elaborated lie that somebody tells. I must emphasize the elaborated, because it’s usually a lie told within a long and hardly believable story.


Hablando del rey de Roma, por la puerta asoma

This is the Spanish way to say “talk of the devil, here he is!”, but we talk about Rome’s King instead of the devil.


Cabeza de turco

The “Turkish head” is an innocent person who will be blamed in order to avoid the real responsibles to be judged. For example:

Necesitamos encontrar a los verdaderos asesinos, este chico solo es un cabeza de turco.


No hay moros en la costa

We use this expression if there’s no risk of being brought to light. It has its origins in ancient times, when the Spanish coasts were usually attacked by the North African people (moorish, “moros”) and Spanish guards were in constant guard. If they saw the enemies coming, they said “hay moros en la costa”, and today we still use the negative form of this expression to say there’s no danger.


Hacer el indio

In Spanish, it means mess around, to have a good time playing dumb. But I’ve found out that, more than 300 years ago, it didn’t have the same meaning: it meant to assume humiliations with no complain. It has changed a little bit, hasn’t it?


I hope that you liked it and that it’s been crystal clear. All week long you will find some pictures on my Instagram and Facebook profiles to review this, so if you don’t follow me yet, follow me now!

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¡Hasta la próxima!

Publicado en Spanish idioms.

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