5 common Spanish idioms with animals
Podcast episode 57 – SEE ALL EPISODES
Today you’re going to master 5 everyday idioms with animals.
Today’s question comes from Richard, one of my Twitter followers. Richard sent me a message saying: “I want to learn some colloquial Spanish. Are there any easy idioms that natives use frequently?”
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Spanish idioms with animals: intro
Like Richard, I love learning the idioms that native speakers use. When I was learning English, I remember one of the first idioms I learned was: ‘to be a guinea pig’. I’m not sure why. Then I went on to learn more difficult idioms like: ‘to bet on the wrong horse’ or ‘the early bird catches the worm’. Idioms give you an insight into the language, and the cultures that use those expressions. Spanish, for instance, has lots idioms that involve the devil, your neighbours and a mother-in-law. I guess each culture has its own obsessions and fixations.
In Spanish, there are also hundreds of idioms and proverbs with animals. Today, we’re going to learn five of them. They’re are all very common, so you’re likely to hear them when you talk to native speakers.
These are the 5 idioms you’re going to master by the end of this lesson. Repeat after me:
Ser un burro, to be dumb or to be stupid
Ser un lince, to be shrewd or to be sharp
Ser un pato, to be clumsy
Ser un pez gordo, to be a big shot or to be a bigwig
Ser un loro, to be a chatterbox
Spanish idioms with animals: 5 animals
So, what are the animals in these 5 idioms?
el burro, the donkey
el lince, the lynx
el pato, the duck
el pez, the fish
and el loro, the parrot
Let’s say those 5 idioms once more. Repeat after me.
Spanish idioms with animals: listening drill
Let’s now do a listening drill. Can you tell me these 5 idioms in English?
Ser un pez gordo – to be a big shot, to be a bigwig
Ser un loro to be a chatterbox
Ser un lince – to be shrewd, to be sharp
Ser un pato – to be clumsy
Ser un burro – to be dumb, to be stupid
Spanish idioms with animals: speaking drill
And now, let’s do a speaking drill. Can you tell me these 5 idioms in Spanish?:
to be clumsy – Ser un pato
to be a chatterbox – Ser un loro
to be shrewd, to be sharp – Ser un lince
to be dumb, to be stupid – Ser un burro
to be a big shot, to be a bigwig – Ser un pez gordo
Spanish idioms with animals: 5 sentences
Let’s now say 5 sentences with these idioms. Repeat after me:
Mi tío Gustavo es un burro. – My uncle Gustav is dumb.
Mi hermano es un lince. – My brother is shrewd.
Mi profesor es un pato. – My teacher is clumsy.
Mi abuelo es un pez gordo. – My grandfather is a big shot.
Mi hermana es un loro. – My sister is a chatterbox.
Let’s say those 5 sentences again. This time, without their English translation. Repeat after me:
Mi tío Gustavo es un burro.
Mi hermano es un lince.
Mi profesor es un pato.
Mi abuelo es un pez gordo.
Mi hermana es un loro.
To make sure you’ve learned these idioms well, come back to this lesson every now and then.
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