«De lejitos / con pincitas
To avoid contact with somebody or someone. To stay far from someone or something at all cost.
This idiom was coined by a writer who wanted to emphasize the fact that there are situations or persons you prefer to stay far from because they might be dangerous, disgusting, or simply make you feel uncomfortable. If you saw alion lying on the ground, how would you know that it is dead or just sleeping? If it were dead, you wouldn´t be in danger. But how could you know? Maybe by using a ten-foot pole you might move the lion and check. If it wakes up, you still have time to run away. A similar expression is «Like a pest».
When interviewed about the famous bite Luis Suarez gave him, Giorgio Chiellini joked and said that next time he played versus him, he wouldn´t touch him even with a ten-foot pole!
«Lo que es bueno para la vaca, es bueno para el becerro
What is good for one person is good for the other, but much more especially for your couple since they share a life project in common.
First of all, let us analyze the words goose and gander. A goose is a large bird which looks like a big duck. By saying goose, we normally refer to all the species but it is important to know that in a more scientific way, goose is the term that refers to the female and gander is the one used for the male. Nowadays, and going beyond the sex battle, we might say that what is good for the wife is good for the husband. Extending the meaning, we can safely say that what is good for one member of a group is good for the others.
Wife: What are you supposed to be doing?
Husband: I am taking cough syrup. I have just developed a terrible cough
Wife: But this is not yours. It´s our son´s syrup. Go to the doctor to be prescribed.
Husband: Why spending money unnecessarily? What´s good for the goose is good for the gander.
«Lavarse las manos
Not to accept a responsibility, to withdraw from an association, to get cold feet, or not to accept to be involved in a situation
We all are familiar with the biblical passage in which Pontius Pilate announced the excited angry mob that he did not want to take any further responsibility about Jesuschrist’s execution. He mentioned he did not approve on that but that he would not stop the crowd´s will, sealing his decision by washing his hands in front of them all. Nowadays, when we accept no further liability on something, we simply say that we wash our hands.
The governor addressed the citizens last night on TV about the referendum that allowed the state to execute murderers and kidnappers.
The governor, who has always been a democrat and a compassionate human being, raised his voice against this resolution and he also said that he would just wash his hands of this atrocity that violated human rights.
«Andar por las nubes»
This idiom, which is similar to be on cloud nine, means to be extremely happy, delighted or joyful.
This idiom, which was coined in the XX century, is usually related with feelings of extreme happiness. On the other hand, we generally associate the ground, with being realistic, like when we say put your feet on the ground or get back to Earth. We also associate the ground level with being depressed. If a person feels sad, we say that this person is down. Conversely, when a person is extremely happy, cheerful, optimistic. if the person is dreaming with open eyes, we can then say that this person is walking on air.
María gave her first love kiss yesterday. Now, she is walking on air.
Cararea tus huevos
To brag (to speak arrogantly) about your own achievements so that people know how important your victories have been. To call other people´s attention on your own triumphs and merits in order to get their respect or their praise.
Horns have been used through history not only as musical instruments but also as to alert others of a possible danger or when a dignity was visiting. Horns were blown before the expression, «here comes…» was announced. Nowadays, you blow or toot your own horn in order to let others know what features make you a special person. There is a narrow line that divides being arrogant or vain with blowing your own horn.
When I went to an interview to get the researcher´s grant, the examiner told me I was not the right person to get it. But suddenly, her boss entered and he told me, «Are you Dr. John Smith? The guy who just discovered the new cure for cancer?»
My interviewer was disconcerted at that and she asked me, «Why hadn´t you told me about it?» I just replied humbly, «I don´t like blowing my own horn. That´s pathetic. You should be better informed of those you interview.»
Encender las alarmas
If something sets the alarm bells ringing or if the alarm bells start to ring, you get the feeling that something bad is going on; you are in trouble.
Alarms are gadgets that people have devised in order to be forewarned of an impending problem or danger. Alarms have been used since people started living together to help each other or to defend their town from oncoming enemies. Horns and bells have usually been used as alarms. Alarms are activated by different events. It may be a fire, smoke or that a door has been opened by an authorized person.
Con premeditación, alevosía y ventaja
If you do something on purpose, but you pretend that it was an accident, we say that you do it accidentally on purpose.
There is a special manner of speech in which we use to contradictory terms together, but the last one is the one that weighs more. This manner of speech is called oxymoron. Some examples are: original copy, a fine mess, a little big, agree to disagree, awfully pretty, intelligently stupid, etc. Accidentally on purpose is one of these expressions.
Dar palos de ciego
If you stab in the dark, you attempt to do something but you cannot actually see the target you are focusing on. If you are trying to answer a question, to take a stab in the dark is just to guess.
To stab is to attack somebody with a knife. Literally, a stab in the dark is trying to attack someone, whom you cannot see, with a knife. These expression comes from legends in which heroes had to fight with invisible enemies and the only way to defeat them was by stabbing them in the dark.
Example:• -Hi, John. How was your last History exam?
• -It was horrible. I didn´t study anything at all. I didn´t know we had an exam. It all came like a nightmarish surprise.
• -Then, you want to tell me that you didn´t answer any questions.
• -Of course, I did. I answer all the exam but I was just taking educated guesses.
• -So you mean that you were just stabbing in the dark.
•-Well , yes. We could say so.
We use this idiom to mean that something is very easy. That particular activity we are talking about represents no challenge at all.
Cake is a dessert that gives us all pleasure. Nobody would dare to reject a piece of cake. This phrase is was coined in the United States during the XX century. The poet and humorist Ogden Nash’s Primrose Path wrote in 1936: «Her picture’s in the papers now, And life’s a piece of cake.»
Other similar expressions are “As easy as pie, A cake walk, that takes the cake/biscuit, Mickey Mouse stuff, kindergarten homework.”