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Idiomatic Expressions

One of the most difficult aspects of a language to master is the usage of idiomatic expressions. Idiomatic expressions are phrases that carry a specific meaning within the language. Normally, there is no logical way of translating them word by word. The only way to learn them is to memorize them, and to practice their use. Below, you will find a series of Spanish idiomatic expressions grouped by types, according to the verb or the preposition they contain, and their English counterparts.

(originally published on scribd.com)

Expresiones con DAR (Idioms with DAR)

Expresión Equivalente
dar a to face; to look out upon
dar la espalda to turn one’s back
dar a conocer to make known
dar gritos to shout
dar a luz to give birth
dar gusto to please
dar un abrazo to embrace
dar la hora to strike the hour
dar asco to disgust
dar gato por liebre to cheat; to swindle
dar la bienvenida to welcome
dar las gracias to thank
dar brincos to jump
dar guerra to cause a lot of trouble
dar los buenos to say good
dar largas to prolong an affair
dar calabazas to jilt; to flunk
dar lata to make a nuisance of oneself
dar la cara to show up, show your face, make an appearance
dar lugar a to give cause for
dar carta blanca to give someone a free hand
dar una mano to lend a hand
dar con to come upon; to find
dar lo mismo to make no difference
dar con la puerta to slam the door
dar la nota to stand out
dar en las narices in one’s face
dar cuenta de to give a report on
dar pena a to aggrieve
dar cuerda a to wind
dar que hablar to give grounds for criticism
dar de alta to discharge (a patient)
dar que hacer to cause trouble
dar de baja to drop (from a list)
dar que pensar to give grounds for suspicion
dar de beber (comer) to give a drink (to feed)
dar palos de ciego to swing out wildly
dar de palos to beat; to thrash
dar parte to inform
dar en to strike against; to hit
dar un paseo to take a walk
dar por + past participle to consider
dar una vuelta to take a stroll
darse por aludido to take it personally
darse a to devote oneself to
dar a hecho to take for granted
darse cuenta de to realize
dar por muerto to consider dead
darse de baja to withdraw; to drop out
dar por sentado to take for granted
darse ínfulas to put on airs
dar razón to give account
darse la mano to shake hands
dar la razón to agree with
darse por + past participle to consider oneself
darselas de to pose as; to claim to be
dar vueltas a to think something over

Expresiones con ECHAR (Idioms with ECHAR)

Expresión Equivalente
echar a + infinitive to start to
echar en cara to throw in one ’s face
echar a perder to ruin; to spoil
echar en el olvido to forget completely
echar abajo to demolish
echar flores to flatter
echar al correo to mail
echar mano a to lay hands on
echar la bronca a uno to give someone
echar raíces to take root a dressing down
echar chispas to be furious; to be angry
echar todo a rodar to make a fizzle
echar la culpa to blame
echarse atrás to lean backwards; to retract
echar de comer to feed (animals)
echarse a dormir to lie down to sleep
echar de menos to miss
echárselas de to boast of being

Expresiones con ESTAR (Idioms with ESTAR)

Expresión Equivalente
estar despejado it’s clear
estar al corriente de to be up to date
estar nublado it’s cloudy
estar apurado to be in a hurry
estar a to be priced at
estar calado to be soaked to the skin
estar a dos velas to be broke
estar como pez en el agua to be right at home
estar a punto de to be about to
estar con el alma en vilo to be in suspense
estar a sus anchas to be comfortable
estar conforme con to be in agreement with
estar al caer to be about to happen
estar de acuerdo to be in agreement
estar de buen humor to be in a good mood
estar en el limbo to be lost
estar de mal humor to be in a bad mood
estar en todo to have a finger in everything
estar de más to be in excess
estar en un tris to be about to happen
estar de paso to be passing through
estar fuera de sí to be beside oneself emotionally
estar de sobra to be in excess
estar hecho polvo to be worn out
estar de vuelta to be back
estar hecho una fiera to be furious
estar en Babia to daydream
estar hecho una sopa to be soaked
estar en brazos de Morfeo to be sleeping
estar loco de remate to be completely crazy
estar en condiciones to be in good shape
estar para + infinitive to be about to
estar en forma to be in good shape
estar pez to ignore (something)
estar en la luna to have one’s head in the clouds
estar sin blanca to be flat broke
estar en las nubes to daydream

Expresiones con HABER (Idioms with HABER)

Expresión Equivalente
haber de + infinitive to be supposed to;
haber lodo to be muddy to have to
haber gato encerrado there is something fishy
haber neblina to be foggy
haber sol to be sunny
hay luna there is moonlight
haber polvo to be dusty
hay que + infinitive it is necessary; one must

Expresiones con HACER (Idioms with HACER)

Expresión Equivalente
hace + time expression ago
hacer calor to be warm
que + preterite hace mucho tiempo long time ago
hacer caso de to pay attention to; to notice
hace poco a little while ago
hacer cola to line up
hacer su agosto to make a killing
hacer daño to harm; to damage
hacer alarde to boast
hacer de to work as; to act as
hacer alusión to allude
hacer de cuenta to pretend; to act as though
hacer añicos to break to pieces
hacer de nuevo to do over
hacer buen tiempo to be good weather
hacer de las suyas to be up to one’s old tricks
hacer buenas migas to hit it off with someone
hacer de tripas corazón to pluck up courage
hacer burla de to make fun of
hacer falta to be in need of