Some Mexican Idioms

Here are some quick Mexican Idioms I came across the other day. It was a long list, so I copied some that I find funny or interesting. These are a form of slang, so most Mexican readers will be used to some of these. I am going to try to remember some of these in the future, and try to use them.
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Le echa mucha crema a sus tacos
Literal Translation: “He puts a lot of cream on his tacos.”
Definition and Use: Mainly used to suggest someone is exaggerating their story.
The English Equivalent: “Making a mountain out of molehill.”

Matar pulgas a balazos
Literal Translation: “Killing fleas with bullets.”
Definition and Uses: You are using a lot of resources to reach small goals.
The English Equivalent: “To shoot a cannon into sparrows.”

Se hace pesado el muerto cuando siente que lo cargan
Literal Translation: “The dead become heavy when they are being carried.”
Definition and Uses: When you are good to someone and they later expect too much of you and become demanding. To harm, become demanding of, or expect too much of someone that is good to you.
The English Equivalent: “To bite the hand that feeds you.”


El muerto y el arrimado a los tres días apestan
Literal Translation: “The dead and the freeloader start to stink after three days.”
Definition and Uses: When a person (usually friend or someone you know) moves in with someone without contributing financially, the relationship between these will end badly.
The English Equivalent: “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.”

Al que obra mal, se le pudre el tamal
Literal Translation: “Whoever does evil will rot in the tamal.”
Definition and Uses: The things that you do result in negative consequences.
The English Equivalent: “What comes around goes around” or “Pay the piper.”

Mientras esperas que madure bien el aguacate se pudre
Literal Translation: “When you wait for things to mature, the avocado will rot.”
Definition and Uses: If you leave things to the last minute, the opportunity is lost.
The English Equivalent: “Time and tide wait for no man” or “Snooze you lose.”

El que tenga tienda que la atienda
Literal Meaning: “Whoever has a shop must tend to it.”
Definition and Use: Tend to your business otherwise you could go broke. It can also be used if someone’s wife is being ‘neglected’.
The English Equivalent: “You can not let things slide” or “Keep your eyes on the prize.”


El que con lobos anda a aullar se enseña
Literal Translation: “That who roams with wolves learns to howl.”
Definition and Uses: The bad habits you pick up from those you hang around with.
The English Equivalent: “When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.”

Las águilas andan solas, los borregos en manada
Literal Translation: “Eagles travel alone, sheep travel in herds.”
Definition and Uses: This one is about leadership and individuality, where one person takes charge and the others follow.
The English Equivalent: “To break the mold” or “Cream of the crop.”

Lo que de noche se hace, de día aparece
Literal Translation: “What is done at night, shows up at daylight.”
Definition and Uses: Your wrong doings will eventually be revealed.
The English Equivalent: “Show your true colors.”

Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina

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