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11/17/07

Spanish phrases and words #19

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

Some more idioms involving "pan", which means "bread".

"Contigo pan y cebolla" literally translates to "With you bread and onion". The idiomatic meaning is "We shall live on love alone". At the other end of the spectrum is "Pan con pan, comida de tontos", which literally and figuratively means "Bread with bread, meal of fools". In Spanish, to describe a very long day, one would say "Más largo que un dia sin pan", or "Longer than a day without bread". Finally, to describe something that is very easy one can say "Es pan comido", which means "It's eaten bread". In English we exhibit more of a "sweet tooth" since we would say "It's a piece of cake" or "It's as easy as pie".

Thanks Chris! I would add a couple more, highlighting the sometimes critical difference between “ser” and “estar” (the two possible translations of the verb “to be”, and great headaches for Spanish learners):

- "Ser más bueno que el pan" and “Estar más bueno que el pan" would both be literally translated as “To be better than bread”. With the idiomatic hat on, however, "Ser bueno" means to be good and "Estar bueno" means to be delicious, generally used when speaking about food. No wonder then that the first idiom actually means “To be as good as gold” while the second is a very familiar way to say that somebody has a great sex appeal…

Want more? Don't hesitate to visit Colloquial Spanish blog!

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