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One of my favorite idioms spoken around here. First of all, because it’s a poetic way of insulting someone. Second, because it’s a good sample of the way we speak in Mexico1 both in its articulate description of a situation and on the use of Anglicisms. It’s a good illustration of the shared life between us and our neighbors up north, where the idiom’s setting comes from.

But the situation it’s used on is most likely universal and language-independent. Comparing idioms is a fascinating window into other cultures, not just because of the imaginative use of language across peoples and cultures.

At the same time, idioms have been one of the hardest obstacles in my path of learning. Their literal meaning is more often than not different from the intended one, and cultural differences also separate metaphors and commonplace phrases that help understand a new phrase when its heard for the first time.2

With that in mind, I’ll try to share some of the most interesting idioms I know, so that you can share in this beautiful language too.

So, what does it say?

If you ever find yourself among Spanish speakers, it’s best that they don’t use this phrase when talking about you. It’s not rude, but it’s not a positive description, either.

(He/She) doesn’t pitch, doesn’t catch and doesn’t make room for batting.


elevator pitch ⇐ Part of Brevity Quest 2020Kunai


References

Césarman, Eduardo. 2002. Dicho En México. México, D.F: Gernika.

Martínez, Herón. 2002. Los Refranes Del Hablar Mexicano En El Siglo Xx. Zamora, Michoacán, México México, D.F: El Colegio de Michoacán Consejo Nacional para la Cultural y las Artes, Dirección General de Publicaciones.

Mendizábal, Max. 1996. Refranero Popular Mexicano. México, D.F: Selector.


  1. Note that it cannot be claimed that it’s a “Mexican idiom” or “Mexican proverb”. There’s a detailed discussion in the references about it, but we can summarize: “idioms have no nationality and need no passport to—while on transit trough the cultures—stay whenever they are welcome…” (Martínez 2002, 9)

  2. Remind me to share with you an easy way of creating double entendres in Spanish.