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Permalink 06:14:46 pm, Categories: For professional translators, English-Spanish phrases of the week, 242 words  

Spanish phrases and words #14

From Chris Royston, weekly collaborator here at Into Spanish Translation Blog:

Poultry get a lot of attention in Spanish idioms. Here are some involving rooster (gallo) and hen (gallina):

- "Gallo" can mean phlegm. Reminds one of the phrase in English "I have a frog in my throat" which in Spanish is "Tengo carraspera".

- In English, when we're out of our element, we say "Like a fish out of water". In Spanish the equivalent is "Estar como gallina en corral ajeno", which literally translates to "To be like a hen in a foreign coop".

- When a wife rules the roost, in English we say "The wife wears the pants in that family". A Spanish equivalent is "En casa de Gonzalo más puede la gallina que el gallo", which literally means "In Gonzalo's house more power has the hen than the rooster".

Thanks Chris! Yes, there's also a closer Spanish version with "En esa familia, la mujer lleva los pantalones", and it's used fairly often. But of course this version doesn't involve poultry... Another related Spanish saying is "Ser un gallito" —literally, "To be a little rooster"— which can be very legitimately translated as "To be cocky". And calling somebody "gallina" (hen) is the same than calling someone a chicken in English.

Actually, "pollo" (chicken) is used in many funny Spanish sayings, but that will probably be something to explore in a future post!

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