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Spanish Matters - a blog in English and Spanish for those learning the language

This blog is entitled "Spanish Matters", because it does! Matter, that is. If you have committed to living in Spain, you should also make a commitment to learn some Spanish. So this is a blog about matters Spanish, as well as promoting the notion that Spanish does indeed matter. The blog contains articles in both English and Spanish. Don Pablo hopes it will be helpful to those learning the language.

Fruity language
Saturday, November 20, 2021 @ 8:47 AM

By don Pablo

Spanish is a very imaginative, colourful and at times earthy language. Take the common fruits, for example.

So, it’s no surprise to learn that limones, melones and peras are slang words for breasts and that plátano and ciruelo (plum tree) are vernacular for the penis!

But, enough of this crude talk! Let’s have a closer look at the Spanish words for the common fruits, idiomatic phrases containing them and some alternative meanings.

Una manzana means an apple, but also a block of houses, ie una manzana de pisos. As a result the nickname for Nueva York is La Gran Manzana which precedes the English usage, the Big Apple. Una manzana de la discordia is a bone of contention.  

Un plátano is a banana, as well as a slang word for the male organ, as referenced above.

Una pera is a pear. The word occurs in lots of idiomatic phrases, such as: eso es pedir peras al olmo – that’s asking the impossible; esperar a ver de qué lado caen las peras – to wait and see which way the cat  will jump; partir peras con alguien – to fall out with somebody; poner a alguien las peras a cuarto – to tell somebody a few home truths; ser la pera – to be the limit; tocarse la pera – to sit on one’s backside (doing nothing) and, crudely, hacerse una pera – to masturbate.

Una pera can also mean a goatee beard, a light bulb, bonce (head) and a cushy job. Peras, as we saw ealier, can also be used to refer crudely to a woman’s boobs.

Naranja, orange, is also used idiomatically. ¡Naranjas de la China! means No way!; encontrar su media naranja is to meet one’s match); esperar la media naranja, to wait for Mr Right/one’s ideal woman; mi media naranja is one’s better half.

Limón is lemon, although somewhat confusingly in Caribbean Spanish, a lime. Limones are also boobs (presumably small ones).

Una lima is a lime but also a file, eg lima de uñas, nailfile. Dar la última lima a una obra means to put the finishing touches to a work.

Uva means grape. Apart from the different varieties, eg uva negra, uva blanca and uva moscatel, there are also uva pasa (raisin), uva crespa or uva espina (gooseberry), uva de Corinto (currant) and uvas de mesa (dessert grapes).  Uvas verdes are sour grapes, in the figurative sense. Expressions include: de uvas a peras – once in a blue moon; ir de uvas a peras – to change the subject for no reason; entrar a por uvas – to take the plunge; estar de mala uva – to be in a bad mood; tener muy mala uva – to be a nasty piece of work, and estar hecho una uva – to be as drunk as a lord.

UVA = UV (ultraviolet light).

Besides being the tasty sub-tropical fruit, un mango is a handle (eg mango de escoba - broomstick). Un mango is also a good looking lad in Mexican Spanish and dough or dosh (money) in Argentina.

As well as its slang usage for a part of the female body, un melón is a fruit, of course. It is also a slang word for the head. Los melones, a cata means the proof of the pudding is in the eating and estrujarse el melón is to rack one’s brains.

Mandarina is a fruit as well as the language of China. ¡Chúpate esa mandarina! means Get that! or Hark at him!

And finally, el tomate, the fruit that is often accused of being a vegetable. As well as its common meaning, it can also be used for a hole in a sock, a fuss, a row or a set-to, eg al final de la noche hubo un tomate – there was a fight at the end of the evening.  ¡Qué tomate! = What a mess! The expression ponerse como un tomate means to turn as red as a beetroot .....

..... just like I did, when I originally typed the words: tits, prick and wank! So I changed them to more genteel equivalents.

Keep on listening, reading and learning!

Like 5


Jo said:
Saturday, November 27, 2021 @ 12:21 PM

Ha, made me laugh, as well to know these phrases.

PablodeRonda said:
Saturday, November 27, 2021 @ 5:33 PM

Yep! We have to be careful!

lenox said:
Tuesday, November 30, 2021 @ 7:28 PM

Good fun. Many thanks for posting.

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