Green dogs and sweaty chickens: Ten animal idioms to help you sound more Spanish


Has a Spanish friend ever compared you a to goat ?

Has anyone ever asked you if you’re the one who cuts the cod at your place?

Don’t be surprised, the Spanish use all manner of expressions involving our furry and feathered friends.

Take a walk on the wild side with our list of the weirdest animal sayings used by the Spanish.



To be like a goat is used to describe somebody who’s nuts. “¡Está como una cabra!”- He’s bonkers.


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To lift the hare is like letting the cat out of the bag. “No se quien levantó la liebre pero ahora todo el mundo sabe que suspendí el examen.” – I don’t know who let the cat out of the bag but everybody knows I failed my exam.


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To kill the worm is to take the edge off your hunger. “A ver si con esta tapa matas el gusanillo.” – Let’s see if you take the edge off your hunger with this tapa.


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To be a rat is to be tight-fisted. “No seas rata, déjame €5.” – Don’t be so tight-fisted, lend me €5.



To pay the duck is to carry the can for something. “Ahora me toca pagar el pato por lo que he hecho.” – Now I have to take responsibility for what I’ve done.


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To cut the cod is to call the shots. “Desde que se fue mi padre, yo soy el que corta el bacalao en esta casa.” – Since my father left, I’m the one who calls the shots in this house.


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There’s a trapped cat here means there’s something fishy going on. “Aquí hay gato encerrado.”

Dogs and sausages


In English you say the streets aren’t paved with gold, but in Spain you say the dogs aren’t tied up with sausages. “No te vayas a Alemania, ahi los perros no están atados con longanizas.” – Don’t go to Germany, the streets aren’t paved with gold over there.


Photo: Depositphotos

When the Spanish get a sweat up, they do it chicken-style. “¡Que calor! Estoy sudando como un pollo!” – It’s so hot! I’m sweating like a pig.

Green dog


In Spanish, to say someone is weirder than a green dog means they are very odd. “Es más raro que un perro verde, se pone la ropa de su abuela.” – He’s so weird, he wears his grandma’s clothes.

READ ALSO: QUIZ: How well do you know your Spanish idioms?