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Episode 87: 10 More Fun Phrases!

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

Today's episode will be a little more light-hearted: we're going to cover 10 fun phrases from our last 6 Cultural Tip countries! This episode is a continuation of Episode 81: 10 Fun Spanish Sayings (and if you'd like even more fun phrases, check out Episodes 27 and 62). :D

Side note: because this is a cultural experience in and of itself, we won't have any Cultural Tips at the end of today's episode.


This episode includes an affiliate link to Amazon. In essence, at no extra charge to you, I receive a small commission if you choose to purchase the product using my link (you can see my disclosure policy here). I only recommend products this way that I have bought and/or used myself and have found to be useful.

One other note: I made it! The episode is here! True, this isn't Wednesday, but at least we are now back on track with the publishing schedule. :) So here's to hoping that future episodes are not delayed!

10 Fun Phrases From 6 Countries!

Let's look at two phrases from each of the 6 Spanish-speaking countries we've recently focused on in our Cultural Tips: Chile, Guatemala, Ecuador, Bolivia, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic!


Saltó lejos el mani.

The peanut jumped far away.

English equivalent: Mind your own business!

When to use it? When someone butts into your conversation and you want them to go away. Ex: Persona A a Persona B: Pues, luego dije....

Persona C: ¡Creo que deberías pedir pardón!

Persona A: ¡Saltó lejos el mani! Person A to Person B: So, then I said.... Person C: I think you should say you're sorry! Person A: Mind your own business!


Do you catch?

In Chilean Spanish, or Chileno, they often add "i" instead of "s" at the end of the tu conjugation for verbs. (So, instead of saying Tu hablas, they would say Tu hablai. This phrase, cachai, comes from the verb cachar, which means "to catch". So instead of asking ¿Cachas?, you ask ¿Cachai?

English equivalent: Capisce? You get my drift? Ya know?

When to use it? When you want to make sure someone understands what you're saying or even just as a way to move the conversation forward.

Ex: Solo quería un helado, ¿cachai? I just wanted an ice cream, ya know?

No vuelvas a hacer eso o realmente lo lamentarás, ¿cachai? Don't do that again or you'll really be sorry, capisce?


Ser muy viernes

To be very Friday.

English equivalent: to be boring, to be such a drag

When to use it? When an event is very boring. (I know, I don't understand why Friday would be associated with boring. Friday is one of my favorite days of the week, second only to Saturday! :) But it is what it is.)

Ex: ¡Pensé que esta fiesta sería divertida, pero es muy viernes! I thought this party would be fun, but it's so lame! (or "it's such a drag!")

...del tiempo de Tata Lapo

...from the time of Tata Lapo

English equivalent: that was ages ago.

When to use it? When you are talking about something that happened a long time ago.

Ex: Persona A: ¿Recuerdas cuando te comiste ese bicho?

Persona B: No, amigo, ¡eso fue del tiempo de Tata Lapo!

Person A: Do you remember when you ate that bug?

Person B: No, dude, that was ages ago!

(Side note: Tata Lapo is the nickname given to the Guatemalan military official and revolutionary leader, Serapio Cruz. One of his final acts was a failed coup, costing him his life. Lapo is the diminutive of his name "Serapio", and Tata is how people would refer to someone who was highly regarded. If you'd like to see a short video, completely in Spanish, of Victor Mangandi explaining the origins of this phrase, click here.)


Llevar piñas a Milagro.

To bring pineapples to Milagro.

English equivalent: to be redundant, to be pointless, a waste of time

When to use it? When you are bringing something to a place that already has what you are bringing. (Milagro is a city in Ecuador that has a lot of pineapples. So it would be ridiculous to bring pineapples to Milagro. Get it? :) )

Ex: Persona A: ¡Debería traer un libro para leer!

Persona B: Vamos a la biblioteca. ¿Para qué llevas piñas a Milagro?

Person A: I should bring a book to read!

Person B: We're going to the library. Why would you do that?

Chimborazo de arroz

Chimborazo of rice

English equivalent: A mountain of "something".

When to use it? When you want to exaggerate the amount of rice someone has eaten. (Chimborazo, after all, is the highest mountain in the country.)

Ex: ¡Guau! ¡No puedo creer que te hayas comido todo eso! ¡Comiste un Chimborazo de arroz!

Wow! I can't believe you have eaten all of that! You ate a mountain of rice!


Me has llegado hasta la copete.

You have brought me to the pompadour (a type of hairstyle where your hair along your forehead goes up and back, forming a good-sized bump. You'll have to Google it).

English equivalent: you've worn me out.

When to use it? When you are sick of someone or when you are just exhausted because of someone else.

Ex: ¡Por favor, deja de hablar! Has estado hablando sin parar durante 3 horas, ¡y me has llegado hasta la copete! Please, stop talking! You've been talking nonstop for 3 hours, and I am plum tuckered out!

Estoy yesca.

I am tinder (as in, dry grass).

English equivalent: I'm broke!

When to use it? When you don't have any money with you.

Ex: No puedo comprar bocadillos en este momento, ¡estoy yesca! I can't buy any snacks right now, I'm broke!

(Side note: please be careful when using this word in Mexico - yesca means drugs, or more precisely,"pot" instead. So just be careful.)

Puerto Rico

Barajiarla más despacio

To shuffle it/mull something over more slowly.

English equivalent: Come again? Explain it to me again.

When to use it? When you want someone to explain something to you, but with more details.

Ex: Persona A: Y así es como pueden volar los aviones.

Persona B: ¿Puedes barajiarla más despacio?

Person A: And that's how airplanes can fly.

Person B: Come again?

(I got this phrase from the Kindle book, "Speaking Boricua: A Practical Guide to Puerto Rican Spanish" by Jared Romey. I originally bought this book to help me better connect with my Puerto Rican in-laws.)

¡Se lució el chayote!

The squash outdid himself/showed off!

English equivalent: What a jerk! / What a showoff!

When to use it? When someone is behaving badly, a.k.a. is being a jerk, or they are showing off. (Lucirse means to outdo oneself or to make a fool of yourself.)

Ex: ¡Ese tipo acaba de maldecir frente a mi hijo! ¡Se lució el chayote! That guy just cursed in front of my kid! What a jerk!

Dominican Republic

A falta de pan, casabe

For lack of bread, cassava

English equivalent: Make the best of it, make do with what you have.

When to use it? When you would rather have something else, but instead must use what you do have.

Ex: ¡Oh, no! Esta receta requiere jarabe de arce, pero solo tengo azúcar morena. Bueno, ¡a falta de pan, casabe! Oh no! This recipe calls for maple syrup, but I only have brown sugar. Oh well. Make do with what you have!

(I like this phrase, as there are similar phrases in other Spanish-speaking countries, such as "A falta de pan, tortillas". It's interesting, at least to me, that in the Dominican Republic, they went with casabe. I think it says something about their cultural food. At least a little, right?)

Con paciencia y calma se sube un burro a una palma.

With patience and calm, a donkey climbs a palm. (It's kind of cool that it rhymes in both languages :D.)

English equivalent: Patience is a virtue

When to use it? When you want to teach someone (i.e., your children) about having patience in accomplishing things (I want to start using this with my toddler :D).

Ex: Niño pequeño: ¿Cuándo estará lista la cena? ¡Tengo hambre!

Mamá: Con paciencia y calma se sube un burro a una palma.

Toddler: When is dinner going to be ready? I'm hungry!

Mom: Patience is a virtue.

And that's it for this episode. Do you have any favorite phrases? If so, please share them! I really hope you enjoyed learning these fun phrases; now go out there and practice them! :D See you in two weeks!

Remember, learning a language is a lifelong journey.

¡Aprovéchalo, Disfrútalo y Compártelo!


Cultural Tip: None



Intro and Closing Music by Master_Service from Fiverr

Cultural Tip Transition Music edited from song by JuliusH from Pixabay

Resource Links

Episode Content

Cultural Tip


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