‘Quedarse de piedra’, ‘vaya tela’, ‘ser un pedazo de pan’? These amongst many other Spanish slang expressions often confuse students who visit Spain for the first time as a result of their often double meaning and uselessness in their literal translation. On ISC Spain’s blog, we have set out to curve the learning of Spanish into an entertaining adventure, accessible for all ages. If you are determined to travel to Rafa Nadal and Fernando Alonso’s country, we invite you to discover some entertaining Spanish slang expressions.
With over 500 million Spanish speakers and constant prospects of growth, Spanish is proud to be one of the most popular languages for the student consensus; If you like these fun Spanish expressions, you cannot miss out! They are sure to surprise you!
6 Spanish Slang Expressions
‘Ser un pedazo de pan’
This expression translated literally means to be a piece of bread; Its used to indicate that somebody is a good person, does not cause harm to others nor would be able to do so, the equivalent in English would be something similar to ‘sweetheart’ – Undoubtedly one of the more curious slang Spanish expressions.
‘Tirar la casa por la ventana’
The literal translation of this expression is to throw the house out the window; No Spaniard is thinking of doing what the expression implies, it refers to somebody who spends an extreme amount of money without reasoning – Its equivalent in English would be ‘spare no expense’.
‘Quedarse de piedra’
In this instance, the literal meaning of this expression closely resembles what Spaniards are trying to express, meaning to stay in stone, or become a stone – What are they trying to imply? To be surprised or stunned. For example: ‘cuando Rafael descubrió que María tenía superpoderes, (él) se quedó de piedra’, meaning ‘when Raphael discovered that Mary had superpowers, he was stunned.’
‘Qué guay / Qué chulo’
Just as the English say ‘how cool!’, the Spanish equivalent is ‘Que guay! Que Chulo!’ For example: ‘¡qué guay!, nuestros amigos vendrán a almorzar’, meaning ‘How cool! Our friends are coming for lunch.’ However it should be noted that there is another expression ‘Qué pasada!’, which means the exact same thing.
Another famous slang expression is ‘Vaya tela’, the complete version being, ‘Vaya tela marinera’, however unfortunately this expression is impossible to translate in English, nor would it be very useful due to the fact its literal meaning has nothing to do with what the phrase is trying to express – Regret/disgust. For example: ‘Vaya tela el trabajo que tienes’ would translate to, ‘What an unfortunate job you have’.
‘Como Dios manda’
Spain’s Catholic roots can be found in the expression ‘Como Dios Manda’, whose literal translation would be ‘As God Commands’. What does this phrase mean exactly? Correctly or properly. For example: ‘Pedro cambió de peluquería, porque quería un pelado como Dios manda’ which means, ‘Pedro changed hairdressers because he wanted a haircut done properly’.
With these Spanish expressions and many others, you will progressively improve your vocabulary over time, avoiding unnecessary confusion due to the double meanings of some of these slang terms – If you are thinking about learning Spanish, cities like Valencia, Madrid, Barcelona and Alicante are amongst the best locations to do so. What are you waiting for?