Are there equivalent proverbs? Have you found youself in a situation where you are trying to painfully translate a very familiar proverb that you consistently use?
I will help you in providing some equivalent proverbs to the most widely used proverbs in Latin American countries so that you can feel just as comfortable saying them in English as you do in Spanish.
What are equivalent proverbs good for?
Proverbs are powerful sayings that have been passed down from generation to generation; sharp like a sword’s edge leaving a mark on the paper they are written on and in the minds of people.
Proverbs are short and offer a moral (a lesson and a valuable message). They are used to convey meaning to real-life situations and emotional states, and the psychological.
Proverb in Latin means “Common Saying”. We must know that things become proverbial either, because they are valuable to many, or in the contrary case, deplorable and spoken of as such.
We can also use the word “Proverbial” to indicate something of great importance and use it as an adjective: “Her proverbial lateness” being a good example.
That being said, let’s get to it! Here are some of the most common proverbs, their explanation and the most suitable equivalent to use, we will continue providing more in series of 5:
First 5 most commonly used proverbs in Spanish and their equivalent in English.
1. Spanish: ! A darle que es mole de olla¡
Literal meaning: Go for it, it’s “Mole de Olla.” (Mexican Broth).
English Equivalent: Dig in!
There’s a great excitement about the food on the table, Mole de Olla is delicious and creates expectation and a hungry gathering. The guest says Dig in, It’s Mole de Olla!
2. Spanish: Yo no tengo porqué sudar fiebres ajenas.
Literal meaning: I don’t have to sweat others fevers.
English Equivalent: A man shouldn’t sweat the fever of others.
To sweat while not bearing the disease means to have to endure the symtoms of the illness without being the origal sufferer of the sickness.
3. Spanish: Camarón que se duerme, se lo lleva la corriente.
Literal meaning: Shrimp that sleeps will be carried away by the current.
English Equivalent: You snooze, you lose.
Shrimps (that is probably the river prawn) is very relaxed and stays afloat, which makes it seem all the more dramatic that if falling asleep will be carried away and lose his comfortable state and be ruined.
4.- Spanish: Al nopal sólo lo van a ver cuando tiene Tunas.
Literal meaning: The Cactus (Nopal) is only visited when it has prickly pears.
English Equivalent: A fair weathered friend.
Cacti are normaly not very friendly when at first sight; you don’t want to touch their pricks and get hurt. But they give a wonderful fruit–the prickly pear– and on this ocassion people may actually dare touch them and even eat their fruits.
5. Spanish: A cada marrano le llega su diciembre.
Literal meaning: To every pig comes his December.
Equivalents: To every swine, comes his time.
What goes around, comes around.
You do the crime, you do the time.
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Written by: Alberto Monroy for Polyglot Language School
Tags: proverbs – spanish proverbs – equivalent proverbs – spanish expressions and sayings