Animals have been with us since the beginning of times. Our lives have always depended on animals in one way or another. We use animals for transportation, for food, for protection, and even for company. Much of our lives depend on our furry friends. This is why, today, in order to honor our little friends, I have decided to share with you a few animal expressions. You will see that some are more intuitive then others. So, let’s have some fun and learn some new expressions.
- Ser un/a gallina – to be a chicken
This expression literally means to be a chicken if we translate it word by word. Now, let’s think a bit. Do we have a similar expression in English? Well, there is this expression: to chicken out, which means to freak out. What exactly does ser un gallina mean? If you guessed to be a coward, then you are right. It is also quite intuitive as chicken get scared quite fast and run away when you get close to them.
- Estar como el perro y el gato – to be like cats and dogs
This expression is quite an easy one as there is an identical one in English. To be like cats and dogs or to fight like cats and dogs means to fight a lot. I guess no further explanation is needed for this one.
- Comer como un pajarito- to eat like a bird
Let’s think about this expression. How do birds eat? Have you ever seen a bird eat a lot? We are not talking about pelicans or vultures, but normal birds. They eat a few bites. After all, they do not have a big body, so they do not need all of those calories. So, if someone eats like a bird, then they do not eat a lot.
- Tener memoria de elefante- to have the memory of an elephant
Elephants are big, and so are their brains. It is said that they are the animals with the highest memory. So, if someone tells you “tienes memoria de elefante”, this means that he is complimenting you. He is saying that you remember everything, just like elephants do.
- Estar pez –“ to be a fish”
In English we have various sayings about fish. One of them is to have the memory of a fish. Another one is like a fish out of the water. Fish are known for their short memory. Having this in mind, what do you think the expression estar pez could mean? Well, it is actually the equivalent of like a fish out of the water, which means clueless.
As you can see, there are many animal idioms in Spanish that are quite similar to those in English and very helpful to add in your Spanish phrases. However, it is important to remember that not all expressions translate the same. It is better to always double check with the dictionary or a native Spanish speaker when you want to use a Spanish expression, otherwise you might end up making a fool out of yourself. With this in mind, I might come up with another list of Spanish expressions in a short while if you have enjoyed this one.