Get Started with Mexican Spanish!

Wish to learn authentic Mexican Spanish? This selection of tasty Mexican sayings will get you started! You'll hear these sayings everywhere when you visit Mexico: at the market, in the subway, at the taco stand...

Contra todo mal, mezcal; contra todo bien, también
To remedy all ills, mezcal; to celebrate any good fortune, the same
In short, a drink for all seasons…

El que mucho mal padece, con poco bien se consuela
For someone suffering great ills, a little fortune is enough to comfort him
Suffering and need make for humility and gratefulness.

El mal de amores duele, pero no mata
Love sickness hurts but does not kill
Does anyone in our day and age still suffer from love-sickness, anyway? Or is it one more of the illnesses that modern “progress” erased from the face of the civilized world?

Las apariencias engañan
Appearances are deceiving

No hay peor lucha que la que no se hace
Lucha means fight, struggle, but has also the extended meaning of the effort one makes in pursuit of a goal
There´s no worse effort than that which is omitted

De que tocan a llover, no hay más que abrir el paraguas
If it starts raining, one has nothing left but to open up one´s umbrella
Indeed, one has to take life as it comes!

No le estés dando vuelta al malacate porque se te enredan las pitas
This saying features some words that distinctly belong to the Mexican Spanish vocabulary. The word malacate comes from the nahuatl malacatl meaning “spindle”
Pitas are the fibers obtained from the leaves of the maguey and which are used to produce a variety of hand-crafted products including rope (mecate), net, carpets, chairs, etc.
Don´t fiddle around with the spindle, lest the strands get entangled
Don’t provoke your superiors or otherwise invite trouble; you might not know how to get out of it later on.

El tiempo es buen consejero, y sabe desengañar
Time is a good counselor and an eye-opener
This Mexican saying advises us to take our time before making decisions.

La suerte no es como la preñez, que dura nueve meses
Luck is not like pregnancy which lasts for nine months
The implication is, of course, that good luck is short-lived. So grab your opportunity when fortune blows your way. "A la ocasión la pintan calva", says one of my favorite Spanish sayings.

Más vale bien quedada que mal casada
Quedada is a traditional term dating back to the good old times when the norm for the adult was to be married. It denotes a woman whose age of eligibility for marriage has passed… unfruitfully. It´s not very complimentary.
Better unwed than badly wed

Debajo del agua mansa está la peor corriente
Manso: tame, docile, meek, gentle-flowing
The worst currents are hidden under gentle-flowing water
At times, people from whom we would never have expected it surprise us with the most virulent outbursts and the worst traits.
Also, under the appearance of serenity and normality some of the biggest life-dramas unfold.

El que más temprano se moja, más tiempo tiene para secarse
He who gets wet earliest has most time to dry
According to this Mexican saying, youth is the most appropriate time to err and act foolishly, as the person still has a lifetime ahead of him to undo the harm…


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Según el sapo es la pedrada

More Mexican Proverbs for you to learn Mexican Spanish
Contra todo mal, mezcal; contra todo bien, también

More Sayings of the Mexican Spanish Repertoire
Los bravos a la plaza
los mansos al corral

Authentic Mexican Proverbs
Al mejor mico
se le cae el zapote

Mexican Sayings starring Animals
No hay milpa
sin huitlacoche

Mexican Sayings based on... Food!
Al vivo todo le falta, y al muerto todo le sobra
Mexican Sayings... Life, Fortune, Love and Death
Hijo de maguey,

Mexican Sayings