6 sept. 2011

Expressions from "Los mares del sur"

I was reading Los mares del sur by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán simply to see what kind of idiomatic expressions I could find. Here are some I found in the first 51 pages. I have tried to explain them in very brief phrases. I like working from authentic material rather than from books designed to teach idioms to language learners, and to use exact quotes rather than converting the idioms to a single format. I realized when doing this that I don't have a very coherent definition of an idiom myself. I've included some that are single words or simply conventional periphrases like "poner a salvo." Also, obviously, I've left out many that I didn't think worthy of note.

Novels are probably the best source of idioms.

“te perdonan la vida” (perdonavidas) [they will forgive you for living or “spare your life” {condescending, bullying}]
“te parto la boca” [I’ll give you a split lip]
“me cago en Dios” [I shit on God]
“tres meses sin comernos un rosco” [without a crust of break]
“les importa un huevo” [they don’t give a damn; huevo = egg or testicle]
“hay que fastidiarse” [life is tough]
“me suena” [it sounds familiar]
“lo dejó todo atado”[he left everything very well arranged]
“hubo que hacer frente a una situación” [face up to a situation]
“hay muchos intereses en juego” [at stake]
“no era un hombre en sus cabales” [in his right mind. with all his faculties]
“he podido respirar a mis anchas” [I can breathe freely = do whatever I want without worrying]
“los bajos fondos”[the criminal underworld]
“invita la casa” [It’s on the house]
“Esto es más viejo que ir al pie.” [That’s older than walking on two feet.]
“editoriales de mala muerte” [marginal publishing houses]
“tíos y tías en pelota” [naked men and women]
“haciéndose pajas” [masturbating]
“poner a salvo” [to rescue; put out of reach {of a dog in this case}]
“es una chorrada, como todos los libros” [worthless chatter]
“el no va más de los sofás relax” [the ultimate, the latest thing...]
“que se jodan los médicos” [screw the doctors]
“ricos por los cuatro costados”[rich on all four sides {four grandparents?}]
“cantamañanas” [irreponsible, won’t keep his promises]
“se le miraba como bicho raro” [a rare beast]
“es para mearse de risa” [when you hear it you’ll pee in your pants]
“es un decir” [it’s an expression; I don’t mean it literally]
“una miseria para él” [pocket change for him]
“una declaración de principios” [“making a statement”: Like “su corbata era toda una declaración de principios”]
“de par en par” [wide open]
“sin prisas y sin pausas” [without hurrying, but without stopping either: slow and steady]
“a estas alturas del siglo” [at this point in history]
“un no sé que de ...” [je ne sais pas”]
“los negocios iban viento en popa” [wind in the sails]