10 Spanish idioms with food

by Deborah Cater
Spanish food idioms

Idioms are an important part of a language, and also the most confusing when it comes to learning a new one. InSpain.News takes a look at some of the Spanish idioms containing food.

Cuisine is an important part of the Spanish culture, so it’s no wonder there are lots of idioms containing food. We take a look at some of the most popular.

1. Dar calabazas a alguien
Literal: To give someone pumpkins        Meaning: to reject someone
Example: He invitado a Marie-Carmen a ir al cine, pero me ha dado calabazas.
I invited Marie-Carmen to the cinema, but she rejected me.

2. Tener mala leche
Literal: to have bad milk                           Meaning: to have a bad temper
Example: Mi esposa tiene mala leche.
My wife has a bad temper.

3. Estar de mala leche
Literal: To be of bad milk                          Meaning: to be in a bad mood
Estoy de mala leche hoy.
I’m in a bad mood today.

Beware of confusing numbers 2 and 3 – they are very similar but have different meanings.

4. ¡Ostras!
Literal: Oysters!                                           Meaning: Crikey! Holy smokes!
¡Ostras! ¡Cuánta gente hay aqui!
Crikey! How many people are here!

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5. ¡Vete a freír a espárragos!
Literal: Go fry some asparagus                 Meaning: Go away!
Example: as it is above – used with people who are annoying you.


6. Ser un chorizo
Literal: to be a chorizo (sausage)              Meaning: to be a thief
Example: Los políticos son unos chorizos
Politicians are thieves

7. Estar como una sopa
Literal: to be like a soup                              Meaning: to be soaked to the bone
Example: Ayer llovía muchísimo y llegué a casa como una sopa
Yesterday it rained a lot and I arrived home soaked to the bone

8. Importar un pimiento
Literal: to matter a pepper                          Meaning: it doesn’t matter
Example: Me importa un pimiento si vienes o no
It doesn’t matter to me if you come or not


9. Estar como un queso
Literal: to be like cheese                               Meaning: to be sexy/attractive/hot
Example: Manuel está como un queso
Manuel is hot!

10. Pedir peras al olmo
Literal: order pears from the elm                 Meaning: to expect the impossible
Example: Juan acaba de cumplir un año. Sus padres querrían que ya hablase, pero sería como pedirle peras al olmo.
Juan just turned one. His parents want him to speak already, but that would be like expecting the impossible.


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