7 Argentine Sayings That Rhyme But Make No Common Sense in English

Argentine sayings, also known as “dichos” or “refranes,” are an integral part of the country’s rich cultural heritage. These witty and often perplexing expressions are deeply ingrained in everyday conversations. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore seven Argentine sayings that rhyme but make no common sense when directly translated into English. More or less, these sayings resemble those in English like “Negative Nancy” or “Positive Patty,” although the Argentinian ones rhyme. 

Get ready to unravel the linguistic charm of these unique phrases! So, let’s dive into the world of Argentine sayings and discover their fascinating intricacies.

Funny Argentine Sayings in Spanish

1. “Qué pasa calabaza” (What’s up, pumpkin?):

This playful saying is often used to casually ask someone what’s going on or to inquire about their current situation. Although it might sound puzzling in English, it is a light-hearted way of starting a conversation in Argentine culture.

See an example:

  • Martina: ¡Hola, Juan! ¿Qué hacés, tanto tiempo?
  • Juan: ¡Martina! ¿Qué pasa calabaza?
  • Martina: ¡JA JA! Todo bien, ¿y vos?

2. “Me extraña araña” (Spider, it surprises me):

When someone behaves unexpectedly or surprises you, this saying is used to express mild astonishment. While the rhyme adds a touch of whimsy, its literal translation makes little sense in English.

There’s a longer version of this phrase, which can serve as a funny reply: me extraña araña que siendo mosca no me conozcas. Literally, this would be “Spider, I’m surprised you don’t know me because I am a fly”. Spiders eat flies, get it? Basically, it means “I’m surprised you don’t know me.”

See an example:

  • Juan: Empecé clases de baile. 
  • Martina: ¿En serio? ¡Me extraña araña!
  • Juan: ¡Me extraña araña que siendo mosca no me conozcas! 

3. “Ojo al piojo” (Eye on the louse):

This peculiar phrase serves as a reminder to be cautious or careful. It warns against potential pitfalls and advises staying alert. Despite its rhyme, the English equivalent loses the essence of the original expression. Parents and teachers tend to say this when warning children about something. 

See an example:

  • Martina: Conocí un hombre en línea, pero no quiere mostrarme fotos suyas.
  • Juan: ¡Ojo al piojo!

4. “Tranca palanca” (Calm lever):

This saying conveys the idea of being calm. While tranca is slang for “tranquilo,” the word “palanca,” which means lever, just rhymes perfectly well. The rhyming nature of the phrase adds a playful rhythm to its meaning.

See an example:

Estudiante dice: Aprobé el examen, así que tranca palanca. 

5. “A otra cosa mariposa” (On to another thing, butterfly):

Used to swiftly change the subject or divert attention, this saying conveys the notion of moving on to a different matter. The whimsical rhyme captures the lightheartedness of redirecting the conversation.

See an example:

  • Hija: ¡Los tendría que haber ayudado! Ahora me siento culpable.
  • Padre: Bueno, hija, ya está. A otra cosa mariposa. 

6. “Taza, taza, cada uno a su casa” (Cup, cup, each to their own home):

This phrase encourages people to mind their own business and focus on their personal affairs. It suggests that everyone should tend to their responsibilities without interfering in others’ matters.

See an example:

  • Julia: ¿Y cómo van las cosas con Stefanía? ¿Ya tuvieron una cita romántica? ¿Se besaron?
  • Mauricio: Bueno, ya es tarde. Taza, taza, cada uno a su casa. 

7. “Una más y no jodemos más” (One more and we won’t bother anymore):

Argentinians say this when they want something to happen one more time (and that’s the final time.) This saying humorously suggests that one more of something (often related to indulgence or excess) will be the final instance before stopping or refraining. It captures the spirit of playfulness in the face of temptation.

See an example:

  • Madre: Bueno, chicos, esa fue la última ronda de juegos. Vamos a hacer la tarea. 
  • Hijos: ¡Una más y no jodemos más!

Conclusion

Argentine sayings and proverbs reflect the unique cultural and linguistic heritage of the country. While they may seem puzzling or make no common sense when translated directly into English, they offer a glimpse into the witty Argentine humor. 

These seven rhyming sayings are just a small sample of the countless expressions that add charm and humor to daily conversations in Argentina. So, the next time you encounter an Argentine saying in Spanish, embrace its rhyming quirkiness and appreciate the cultural richness it represents.

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¡Hola! Soy Melany

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I’m so happy you’re here! My name is Melany and I help language learners speak Argentine Spanish. I primarily teach Argentine slang and idioms, how to sound more natural and to speak Spanish with confidence.

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