Here's an easy-to-remember expression: sudar la gota (literally, “to sweat the drop”), which means "to worry." Sometimes you may also hear sudar la gota gorda (to sweat the fat drop)! We used a somewhat similar English expression to translate the following example:
Suda la gota cuando ya no la encuentra
He sweats heavily when he doesn't find her anymore
Caption 12, La Vela Puerca - Se le vaPlay Caption
Another funny Spanish expression that also exists in English and is associated with distress is llorar lágrimas de cocodrilo (to cry crocodile tears). It's a funny, kind of ironic expression that is used to indicate that someone is crying without really feeling sad, maybe just a little theatrically. The phrase derives from an ancient belief that crocodiles shed tears while consuming their prey!
No le creo nada, Ivo. Son lágrimas de cocodrilo.
I don't believe anything from him, Ivo. They are crocodile tears.
Captions 43-44, Muñeca Brava - 8 Trampas - Part 2Play Caption
Talking about not believing, have you heard the expression ojos que no ven corazón que no siente (eyes that do not see, a heart that does not feel)? It's very close to the English expression "what the eye doesn't see the heart doesn't grieve over." It's very common to hear Spanish speakers abbreviating this expression:
Igual, ojos que no ven...
Anyway, eyes that don't see...
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Let's see a few more expressions that involve animals. It's no surprise that there are a large number of expressions involving monos (monkeys) and other types of apes. But Spanish uses a few that are really puzzling. For example, the expression dormir la mona (literally, "to put the female monkey to sleep"), which means "to sleep off a hangover”:
Tiene que hablar con la patrona y decirle que sus empleadas duermen la mona.
You have to talk with the boss and tell her that her employees are sleeping their hangovers off.
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Una monada (a monkey-like thing), on the other hand, is used to describe something as very cute or beautiful:
Mira qué monada.
Look what a beauty.
Caption 5, Los Reporteros - Caza con Galgo - Part 2Play Caption
What about expressions that refer to parts of animals? Spanish uses many with the word pata (paw). For example, meter la pata (to stick one's paw into something) means “to make a mistake.” The closest English equivalent is "to put your foot in your mouth," which means to say or do something tactless or embarrassing:
¡No! Pero si eso ocurre en cualquier momento metes la pata.
No! But if that happens, at any moment you'll put your foot in your mouth.
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In Argentina and Chile, hacer la pata (to do the paw) means “to intercede for someone,” usually with sweet-talking:
¿Me hacés la pata con papá? -¿Para qué?
Will you give me a hand with dad? -What for?
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Instead of hacer la pata, Mexicans use either hacer la pala (literally, “to do the shovel”), which means to sweet-talk someone in order to intercede for someone else, or hacer la barba (literally, “to do the beard”), which is used to describe someone who acts pleasantly with a superior in order to obtain his or her favor. English translations vary:
Julia le hace la barba al maestro para sacar buenas calificaciones.
Julia butters the teacher up so she gets good grades.
Hazme la pala con tu amiga para que acepte salir conmigo.
Convince your friend for me so she agrees to go out on a date with me.
Very different is echar flores or tirar flores (to throw flowers at someone), which means “to compliment,” “to say nice things about somebody”:
Gracias, te agradezco mucho las flores que me estás tirando.
Thanks, I thank you very much for your compliments [literally "the flowers that you are throwing me"].
Caption 18, Muñeca Brava - 45 El secreto - Part 1Play Caption