• 21Dec

    “Maldecir como un carretero” means “to swear like a cart driver”. The equivalent phrase in English is “to swear like a trooper”. Carreteros have a pretty bad reputation. See also “fumar como un carretero”.

  • 16Dec

    “¡Zapatero a tus zapatos!” means “Shoemaker to your shoes!”. The idiomatic meaning is “mind your own business”. An American saying using “shoemaker” is “shoemaker’s children got no shoes”. Use this site’s search engine and you will find the Spanish equivalents.

  • 09Apr

    We describe a liar as someone who “lies through his teeth”. Here’s an interesting tangentially related phrase in Spanish: “miente como un sacamuelas”. The literal translation is “he lies like a teeth-puller”.

  • 17Apr

    “Haber sido cocinero antes que fraile” literally translates as “To have been a cook before a friar”. The colloquial meaning is “To know what one is (doing) or “talking about)”; “to speak from experience”.

  • 10Apr

    “Shoemaker’s children got no shoes” has two equivalents in Spanish, both involving professions or trades: “En casa de carpintero, puerta de cuero” and “En casa de herrero, cuchillo do palo”. The literal translations are “In house of carpenter, door of leather” and “In house of blacksmith, knife of stick”.

  • 16Jan

    In English, a pejorative term for an office worker is “pen pusher”. The Spanish equivalent is “ink sucker” as in “chupatintas”.

  • 24Sep

    Let’s lok at a couple of pejorative terms for two professions. In English an incompetent or fraudulent doctor is known a s a “quack”. In Spanish, the term is “curandero”. A lawyer who engages in questionable or unethical professional behavior is a “shyster”. A lawyer who improperly looks for cases is an “ambulance chaser”. The closest equivalent in Spanish is a “picapleitos” from “picar” which means to “poke” or “stir” and “pleitos” which means “lawsuits”.

  • 10May

    In English we describe making a lot of money as “Making money by the bucket” or “Making money hand over fist”. In Spanish there is a colloquial saying nearly identical to the first: “Ganar el dinero a espuertas” which translates to “To make (earn) money by baskets”. Another Spanish idiom is “Ganar mas que un torero” which means “To earn more than a bullfighter”.

  • 12Apr

    English: “To chain-smoke”

    Spanish: “Fumar como un carretero”, which literally means “To smoke like a cart driver” You’d think that swearing would be more identified with a cart driver.

    It occurs to me that the last name “Carter” must mean the same  as cart driver. English has many surnames that are derived from professions: Miller, Cooper, Carpenter, Smith, Chandler, Shoemaker, Tanner, Farmer, Baker and others I’m forgetting. Spanish also has some surnames signifying a trade, but I do not believe there are nearly as many. One prominent one is Zapatero (Shoemaker), one of the surnames of the current Spanish prime minister. My Spanish brother-in-law tells me that a trade based surname suggests Jewish origin because when Jews in Spain converted in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries it was common practice to adopt a new surname.