Want to learn Mexican Spanish? This delectable selection of Mexican proverbs is just for you!
El burro siempre rebuzna, aunque le pongan cuernos
The donkey will always bray, even if it is adorned with horns
As much as the lowly and foolish dress up, their behavior will give them away.
Hay quien mucho cacarea, y no pone nunca un huevo
There are those that cluck but never lay an egg
Some people’s spoken opinion of themselves is totally out of proportion to their actual merits.
Los huevos del gavilán nunca dan palomitas
The sparrow hawk´s eggs never result in little doves
How can you expect the deeds of a bad person to be other than bad? -
De lejos se conoce al pájaro que es calandria
From afar one can recognize a bird that is all of a lark
When someone is a real ace at what he does, it can be easily recognized.
Si los he toreado cornudos, cuantimás los toreo sin cuernos
The context here is bullfighting. If I’ve fought them with horns and won, how much more so will I triumph if they have none
The person who says this has dealt successfully with situations he deems more difficult than the one at hand. He feels confident, perhaps even over-confident, that he will vanquish this time as well.
La puerca más flaca es la primera que rompe el chiquero
The thinnest sow is the first to break through the pigpen
The weakest are the first to rebel.
Qué sabe el burro de freno, ni el caballo de aparejo
What do donkeys know about bridles or horses about pack-saddles?
This is an ironical comment about a person who talks without being qualified to do so, be it from lack of knowledge or of first-hand experience.
And finally, some words of advice for life… which will also help you learn Mexican Spanish:
El que tenga cola de zacate, que no se acerque a la lumbre
Whose tail is of hay shouldn’t get close to the fire
You have a physical or moral weakness? Be careful not to expose it!
No hay que buscarle tres pies al gato, sabiendo que tiene cuatro
This is an example of a Mexican proverb whose meaning may depend on the circumstances in which it is said. The image is very forceful and can be interpreted in different ways. One interpretation is “Don’t look for trouble where -thankfully- there’s none!” Another is “No te la compliques!”
Hay que ser león y zorra
One should be lion and vixen too
Be as brave and fierce as a lion and as clever as a vixen.
Más vale que digan “aquí corrió una gallina” y no “aquí murió un gallo”
It is preferable that people say “here fled a hen” rather than “here died a rooster”.
Better for people to conclude and say you are a coward than that they sing your praises over your dead body.
Según el sapo es la pedrada
Choose the stone you throw at a toad in accordance with the toad´s size
Effort, resources and method depend on the situation and the goal.
No es posible vender la vaca y ordeñarle leche
You cannot sell the cow and milk her too
As much as we would like to take advantage of things and situations in as many ways as possible, we shouldn´t lose sight of the fact that they can be mutually exclusive…like eating the cake and having it!
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