15 Mexican Expressions That Don't Make Sense In English

Confused
Confused | © Flickr/CollegeDegrees360

Northern England Writer

One of the most confusing things for any non-native trying to speak Spanish, especially Mexican Spanish, is the sheer wealth of phrases and sayings that permeate the language. Whether they’re densely culturally referential or just plain weird and untranslatable, here are the top 15 Mexican expressions that make absolutely no sense in English.

Lazy

What it actually means: I spent all day doing nothing. Hueva in Mexican Spanish is slang for ‘laziness’, as well as literally meaning ‘roe’ or ‘spawn’.

Fart

What it actually means: There’s no problem. Yeah, we can’t explain this one either, but ‘pedo’ (fart) is a very popular word in much Mexican slang.

What it actually means: Calm down. As a side note, ‘huevos’ is also slang for ‘testicles’.

Tacos

What it actually means: Someone who thinks very highly of themselves will ‘echarle mucha crema a sus tacos’.

Clown

What it actually means: He’s had it now, he’s done for. In other words, something was a total failure and there’s no coming back from it.

Balls

What it actually means: Who knows! This phrase expresses a simple ‘I don’t know’ in a rather more roundabout way.

Soup

What it actually means: I’m going to get the truth out of him/her. It can also mean that you’re going to find out all the gossip from someone.

Duck

What it actually means: Don’t be a dick, for want of a better way of saying it. This is the polite way of expressing that sentiment in Mexican Spanish – the rather less polite version would be ‘no te hagas güey’.

Cannon

What it actually means: If referring to a person it tends to mean that they’re good at something, although when referring to a problem it more likely expresses the difficult nature of said problem.

Corn

What it actually means: It can either mean ‘caught red handed’ or that someone has put a stop to your plans. ‘Ya nos cayó el chahuistle’ is one of those phrases so intricately linked to Mexican culture that it’s unlikely to be understood by other Spanish speakers – ‘chahuistle’ is a type of fungus that attacks the corn plant and the word has its roots in Nahuatl.

Tamal

What it actually means: People know who you are by the way you dress. It’s essentially a more every day form of saying ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have’ or, ‘appearances are important’.

Juárez

What it actually means: Whatever threatens me won’t do me any harm, just like the wind didn’t harm Juárez. This phrase of course makes reference to famed Mexican president Benito Juárez.

Torta

What it actually means: Get pregnant at a young age or have sexual relations outside of matrimony.

Tongue

What it actually means: Unafraid to say what they think. People with ‘no pelos en la lengua’ don’t have a filter on their thoughts before they say them.

Stuck up

What it actually means: A big deal. If someone thinks of themselves as ‘la/el muy muy’ they have an often overinflated opinion of themselves.

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