Spanish Quotes With English Translation

Mérida, Yucatán, México

Mérida, Yucatán, México

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A donde fueres, haz lo que vieres
Alt: Allá donde fueres, haz lo que vieres
‘To where you go, do the things you see’ or.. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

El fruto no cae lejos del árbol.
Translation: The fruit of a tree falls to its root.
Idiomatic translation: The apple does not fall far from the tree.
Meaning: Children observe daily and — in their behaviour — often follow the example of their parents.
Source for proverbs and meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages.


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Photo by sebpaquet

Photo by sebpaquet

Antes que te cases, mira lo que haces.
Translation: Before you marry, look what you are doing.
Idiomatic translation: Look before you leap.
Meaning: Think before you act.

Nada hay nuevo debajo del sol.
Translation: There is nothing new under the Sun.
Idiomatic translation: Nothing is new.
Meaning: Absolutely everything has been done before.

Cuidado ageno de pelo ruelga.
English equivalent: No one knows where the shoe pinches, but he who wears it.

Despues de los años mil, Torna el agua a su carril.
Translation: In a hundred years we will be dead anyway.
English equivalent: It will all be the same a hundred years hence.
Meaning: So what if you embarrass yourself?

No dejes para mañana lo que puedas hacer hoy.
Translation: Don’t wait for tomorrow to do something you can do today.
Interpretation: If you want to do something, then do it today; don’t put it aside for tomorrow.

No vendas la piel del oso antes de cazarlo.
Translation: Don’t sell the bear’s fur before you hunt it.
English equivalent: Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.


Non hay libro tan malo, que no tenga algo bueno.
Translation: There is no book so bad, that it does not have anything good.
Meaning: You might typically get something good out of an overall faulty book, especially a non fictional one, such as sound advice or anecdotes to tell others.


Piedra sin agua no aguza en la fragua.
Idiomatic translation: From nothing nothing can come.
Meaning: If you don’t do anything, nothing will come to you.

9 ABSURD Spanish Sayings – Joanna Rants

Presto hay un bastón para dar al perro.
Translation: If you want to beat a dog you will easily find a stick.
Meaning: Someone who wants to be mean will find things to be mean about no matter what

Qué bonito es ver la lluvia y no mojarse.
Translation: How nice it is to see the rain without getting wet.
Meaning: Often used to answer someone who’s critizicing your work or actions, without doing anything themselves.
English closest equivalent: Criticism is easy, but art is difficult.

Quien bien ama, tarde se olvida.
Translation: He who loves well, forgets the afternoon.
Idiomatic translation: True love never grows old.

Quien en año quiere ser rico, al medio le ahorcan.
Translation: He who in a year wants riches, in half will be strangled.
Idiomatic translation: No one gets rich quickly if he is honest.

Quien da luego, da dos veces.
Translation: Who gives now, gives two times.
English equivalent: He gives twice, who gives in a trice.

Roba bien quien a ladron roba.
Translation: Steal a thief who steals well.
English equivalent: Set a thief to catch a thief.

Si adelante no vas, altrasarás.
Idiomatic translation: He who does not advance goes backwards.

Si vale la pena hacerlo, vale la pena hacerlo bien.
Translation: If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing goodly.
English equivalent: If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well.

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Sol que mucho madruga, poco dura.
Idiomatic translation: Early ripe, early rotten.
Meaning: Precocious children will mean much trouble later on.

Tal hijo, tal padre.
Translation: Such father, such son.
English equivalent: Like father, like son.
Meaning: Sons may look and behave like their fathers. This is due to inheritance and the example observed closely and daily.

El trabajo según la paga.
Translation: What pay, such work.
English equivalent: You get what you pay for.

El que no es conmigo, contra mí es.
Idiomatic translation: He who is not with me is against me.
Originally from the Bible, Luke 11:23 and Matthew 12:30

De malas costumbres nacen buenas leyes.
Translation: From bad customs, good laws are born.
Idiomatic translation: Good laws have sprung from bad customs.

Del mal el menos.
Translation: The lesser of two evils.
English equivalent: Of two evils choose the least.
Meaning: “If you are forced to choose between two options, both of which are undesirable, all you can do is choose the one that is less undesirable than the other.

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Toma las cosas como vienen.
Translation: Take things as they come to you.
English equivalent: Take things as you find them.
Meaning: Adapt yourself to new surroundings or conditions. For instance, if you are ill, do what you still can instead of waiting to get healthy.

Vale más huir, que morir.
Translation: Better to flee than to die.
English equivalent: He who fights and runs away may live to fight another day.

El mal escribano le echa la culpa a la pluma
Translation: The poor writer blames the pen.
English equivalent: It is a poor workman who complains about his tools.

Costumbre adquirida en la mocedad, se deja muy mal en la vejez.
Translation: Habit acquired in youth, it leaves very hardly in old age.
English equivalent: Old habits die hard.

Con el tiempo todo se consigue.
Translation: In time, everything is gotten.
English equivalent: He that can have patience can have what he will; Patience is a remedy for every sorrow.

Callen barbas y hablen cartas.
English equivalent: Experience keeps a dear school.
Meaning: Wisdom acquired by experience is basically only very bitterly acquired.

1845_507654759345730_866707789_n Aunque la mona se vista de seda, mona se queda.
Translation: Although the monkey dressed in silk is still a monkey.
English equivalent: A golden bit does not make the horse any better.
Meaning: An ugly thing will remain ugly even if its appearance is taken care of.

Devolver bien por mal.
Idiomatic translation: If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Meaning: Make something good out of bad things that has happened to you.


Spanish quotes

La literatura no es otra cosa que un sueño dirigido.

Literature is nothing more than a directed dream.

Jorge Luis Borges [II] NEW!!

Mientras se gana algo no se pierde nada.

As long as something is gained nothing is lost.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra NEW!!

El arte es una mentira que nos acerca a la verdad.

Art is a lie which brings us closer to truth.

Pablo Picasso

El mundo de hoy no tiene sentido, así que ¿por qué debería pintar cuadros que lo tuvieran?

Today´s world doesn´t make any sense, so why should I paint

pictures that do?

Pablo Picasso (continued)

El más terrible de todos los sentimientos es el sentimiento de tener la esperanza muerta.

The most terrible of all feelings is the feeling of one´s hope having died.

Federico García Lorca

Lo importante es que hablen de ti, aunque sea bien.

The important thing is that people talk about you, even if they speak well.

Salvador Dalí

Nada hay más surreal que la realidad.

There´s nothing as surreal as reality.

Salvador Dalí (continued)

Hay un cierto placer en la locura, que solo el loco conoce.

There´s a certain pleasure in madness that only the madman knows.

Pablo Neruda

No hables a menos que puedas mejorar el silencio.

Don´t speak unless you can improve on silence.

Jorge Luis Borges

La sabiduría nos llega cuando ya no nos sirve de nada.

Wisdom comes to us when it’s already too late.

Gabriel García Márquez

En realidad las cosas verdaderamente difíciles son todo lo que la gente cree poder hacer a cada momento.

In reality, things that are truly difficult are those that people believe they can do at any time.

Julio Cortázar

La vanidad es tan fantástica, que hasta nos induce a preocuparnos de lo que pensarán de nosotros una vez muertos y enterrados.

Vanity is so fantastic that it even induces us to worry about what people will think about us once we´re dead and buried.

Ernesto Sábato

La noche es la mejor representación de la infinitud del universo. Nos hace creer que nada tiene principio y nada, fin.

Night-time is the best indication of the infinity of the universe. It makes us believe that nothing has beginning or end.

Carlos Fuentes

Se escribe para llenar vacíos, para tomarse desquites contra la realidad, contra las circunstancias.

One writes to fill emptiness, to take revenge against reality, against circumstances.

La incertidumbre es una margarita cuyos pétalos no se terminan jamás de deshojar.

Uncertainty is a daisy whose petals are never fully plucked.

Sólo un idiota puede ser totalmente feliz.

Only an idiot can be totally happy.

Mario Vargas Llosa

El que busca la verdad corre el riesgo de encontrarla.

Who searches for truth runs the risk of finding it.

Isabel Allende

Si sólo hablásemos cuando tenemos algo que decir, el uso del lenguaje desaparecería en dos generaciones.

If we were to speak only when we have something to say, the use of language would disappear in two generations.

Noel Clarasó

El misterio es el elemento clave en toda obra de arte.

Mystery is the key element in all works of art.

Luis Buñuel

La vida es un relámpago entre dos largas noches.

Life is a flash of lightening between two long nights.

Amado Nervo

Hay dos clases de virtudes: las que hacen ganar el cielo y las que hacen ganar la tierra.

There are two kinds of virtues: those that win us heaven and those that win us the earth.

Noel Clarasó

La esperanza le pertenece a la vida, es la vida misma defendiéndose.

Hope is essential to life, it is life itself defending itself.

Lo que llamamos absurdo es nuestra ignorancia.

That which we say is absurd is our own ignorance.

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Julio Cortázar

Escribir es agregar un cuarto a la casa de la vida.

To write is to add a room to the house of life.

Adolfo Bioy Casares

Lleva tiempo llegar a ser joven.

It takes time to get to be young.

Pablo Picasso

Sin la mujer, la vida es pura prosa.

Without womanhood, life is mere prose.

Rubén Darío

Un pueblo sin literatura es un pueblo mudo.

A people without literature is a mute people.

Miguel Delibes

El éxito y el fracaso son dos impostores.

Success and failure are two impostors.

Jorge Luis Borges

La vida es como un arca inmensa llena de posibilidades.

Life is like an inmense ark full of possibilities.

Veo al final de mi rudo camino, que yo fui el arquitecto de mi propio destino.

I see at the end of my rough journey, that I’ve been the architect of my own destiny.

Amado Nervo

Asusta pensar que acaso las admiraciones más sinceras que tenemos son las de las personas que no nos han comprendido.

It’s frightening to think that maybe the people that admire us most sincerely are those that have not understood us.


Benito Pérez Galdós

La democracia y la felicidad no producen gran literatura.

Democracy and happiness don’t produce great literature.

Mario Vargas Llosa

Prefiero morir de pie que vivir siempre arrodillado.

I’d rather die standing than live forever on my knees.

Dolores Ibarruri

Improve your Spanish with fun audio book series for learners. Includes scripts.

Improve your Spanish with fun audio book series for learners. Includes scripts.

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