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Ask a teacher, lesson 21 - What are some Spanish idioms for parts of the human body?
Hi everybody! Rosa here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Spanish questions.
The question for this lesson is…
What are some Spanish idioms that refer to parts of the human body?
English speakers have phrases like “A pain in the neck,” and “get back on your feet.” In this lesson, we’re going to discuss idioms about body parts in Spanish!
One day in Spain, someone may gently say to you, ¿Te echo una mano? literally translated as "Can I give (or cast) you a hand?" It works in a similar way to the English expression and more naturally translates as, “Can I help you?”
If someone pone la mano en el fuego por ti, or "puts the hand in the fire for you" consider yourself lucky, because the expression poner la mano en el fuego is a solemn way of showing loyalty to someone. For example, Pongo la mano en el fuego por mis hijos, "I put the hand in the fire for my sons.” You’re expressing that you trust your sons no matter what.
If you know someone who really tells it like it is, you can say No tiene pelos en la lengua, literally meaning "He/She hasn't hair in the tongue.” This means that you’re very frank and don’t hide your true feelings about something.
You may be familiar with the Spanish word boca, meaning “mouth.” However, be careful of bocazas. Bocazas, literally translates as "someone with a big mouth" and describes a person who can't stop speaking, or someone who tells your secrets. It can be used affectionately with friends but strangers would take offense to this, so be careful!
Another idiom involving the mouth is Lo tengo en la punta de la lengua, or literally, "I have it on the tip of the tongue." You can use it when you’re very close to remembering a word or phrase you’ve forgotten.
If you are having problems at work or at home and need to accept responsibility for some wrongdoing, you’ll need to dar la cara, or "to give the face.” For example-- Te equivocaste, ahora tienes que dar la cara. Literally, "You were wrong, now you have to give the face.” This means you can’t hide and must face the consequences of your actions.
Let’s do one with the eyes. For example Andar con ojo, "to walk with eye.” This is used when you have to take care or be cautious about something. It’s like the English “to sleep with one eye open.”
Tener buen ojo means "to have a good eye.” Like to the English meaning, it expresses that you have good sense when you choose or decide something.
Another one would be, Costar un ojo de la cara, meaning "to cost an eye of the face,” This means to pay a lot of money for something or that something is very expensive. Please note that these expressions often use the singular ojo “eye” instead of ojos “eyes.”
If we go back down the body, we arrive at the feet. Entrar con buen pie or Entrar con mal pie. Literally, "to enter somewhere with good foot" or "to enter somewhere with bad foot.” This means that you’re starting something with good or bad luck. The same way English speakers might say, “to start off on the right foot.” For example, He entrado con buen pie en la familia de mi esposa. Literally, "I entered with good foot in my wife's family."
And don't feel strange if someone Te toma el pelo, meaning "takes your hair" because that just means someone is teasing you. For example, Ana, ¡no me tomes el pelo!, meaning "Ana, don't mock me!"
Another funny expression is, Rascarse la barriga, "Scratch your own belly.” This means that you’re lazy or don’t want to do anything. For example, Mi marido se pasa el día rascándose la barriga. Literally, "My husband passes the day scratching his belly."
Our last one is about effort and hard work. It’s Dejarse la piel, meaning "Leave the skin.” For example, Me voy a dejar la piel por aprobar el examen. Literally, "I'm going to leave my skin to pass the exam.” It means that you will do everything necessary to achieve the goal you want.
How was this lesson? Pretty interesting, right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments and I’ll try to answer them!
¡Hasta luego! “See you later!”

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