As some of you will be celebrating San Valentín (sahn bah-lehn-TEEN) on February 14th, we thought it was time to share some of the best Spanish love proverbs we know.
No matter whether or not you and your media-naranja (literally: half orange, meaning better half, or soulmate) like this celebration, it is a good opportunity for us to highlight what Spaniards think about love. These sayings tell us a lot about the relationship Spanish have with their querido/a (darling) and even give us a few pieces of advice and wisdom about el amor.
As you will notice, there seem to be certain sentiments about love that are universally shared, as some of these Spanish proverbs may have English equivalents. However, there are also a few idioms on the list that the English language can’t match…
El amor no respeta la ley, ni obedece a rey.
Translation: Love doesn’t respect the law, nor obeys king.
Meaning: Love laughs at locksmiths, or love will find a way.
Amor de niño, agua en cestillo.
Translation: A child’s affection is like water in a sieve.
Meaning: Young love is fickle.
Más vale pájaro en mano que cien volando.
Translation: A bird in the hand is worth more than a hundred in the air.
Meaning: Be grateful for what you have rather than what you think might be out there. (Obviously, this proverb can be applied in a variety of other situations: gambling…)
No dejes camino viejo por sendero nuevo.
Translation: Don’t leave the old road for a new trail.
Meaning: It’s better to stick with what you already know works.
Amor y celos, hermanos gemelos.
Translation: Love and jealousy are twin siblings.
Meaning: Love is never without jealousy.
La ausencia es al amor lo que al fuego el aire: que apaga al pequeño y aviva al grande.
Translation: Absence is to love what air is to fire: it puts out the small and rekindles the big.
Meaning: Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but only if your love is big enough.
Amor con amor se paga; y lo demás con dinero.
Translation: Love is paid with love and the rest with money.
Meaning: You can buy a lot with money, but love only with love.
El amor entra por la cocina.
Translation: Love enters through the kitchen.
Meaning: The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
El amor es ciego, pero los vecinos no.
Translation: Love is blind; but the neighbours aren’t.
Meaning: There’s always someone around to gossip about lovers.
The latter is especially true if you live in a Spanish village. There is an hilarious Spanish comedy series, played by famous comedian José Mota, about a typical gossip-monger who perches at her window to listen in on the chismes (gossips) of her town.
Watch this side-splitting sketch of ‘La vieja’l visillo’ (literally: ‘the old woman of the lace curtain’) now…