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30 Spanish Quotes You Need to Know (and Their English Translation)


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Looking for wise or funny Spanish quotes about life?

You’ve come to the right place! Whether they are quotes by famous Hispanic personalities or traditional proverbs, Spanish sayings cover all areas of life.

If you’re learning Spanish and looking for a new motto, choose it from this post. I’ve gathered some of the best Spanish quotes to help you.

You’ll get to choose from:

  • Spanish quotes about life
  • Motivational quotes in Spanish
  • Spanish love quotes
  • Short Spanish quotes
  • Funny Spanish quotes
  • And more!

5 Spanish Quotes About Life

Good Spanish quotes about life are easy to find. Here are some of my favourites that Spanish-speakers use when talking about their everyday life.

Al Mal Tiempo, Buena Cara – “When the Going Gets Rough, the Tough Gets Going”

This saying’s literal translation in English is “to bad weather, good face”.

Whenever you find yourself in a bad situation, remember this Spanish proverb. Face the difficulty with good spirit.

Mas Vale Pájaro en Mano Que Cien Volando – “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush”

As this Spanish saying says, you better hold on to what you already have. Don’t get too greedy, or you might end up holding… nothing.

A los Tontos No les Dura el Dinero – “A Fool and his Money Are Soon Parted*

Literally “Money does not last for fools”, this Spanish saying is a reminder that you should spend your money wisely.

No one wants to be a fool, right? I certainly don’t want to be a poor one!

La Verdad Adelgaza, pero No Quiebra – “The Truth May Be Stretched Thin, but It Never Breaks”

This quote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, the author of Don Quixote, encourages always saying the truth.

It puts forward the fact that some people may try to distort it to their advantage. But in the end, what is true is true and can’t be changed.

“Errar Es Humano, pero Más Lo Es Culpar de Ello a Otros” – “To Err Is Human, but It Is Even More So to Blame Others for It”

Baltazar Gracian, who said this quote, was a Spanish writer who had human nature all figured out, apparently.

What he meant with this quote is humans are more likely to try to blame others for their problems, than to own up to their mistakes.

3 Motivational Quotes in Spanish

Need a good push to get through your day? Choose one of these quotes to use as your mantra.

Haciendo y Deshaciendo Se Va Aprendiendo – “It’s By Doing and Undoing That We Learn”

This Spanish saying is about trial and error as a way to learn, and that it’s useful to make mistakes and try again. I agree.

In my school days, I learnt more from the questions I got wrong in exams than those I got right.

It may have stung to get them wrong, but I wanted to make sure it’d never happen again.

El Que No Arriesga, No Gana – “He Who Doesn’t Risk Doesn’t Gain Anything”

This is a great saying to remember when you have to face a fear.

Are you too frightened to do it? But you won’t get any result if you hold back.

Go for it. Risk it. Get it.

I should write my own motivational quotes book… 😉

La Acción Es la Clave Fundamental para Todo Éxito – “Action Is the Foundational Key to All Success”

This is a quote by famous Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. Did he take the above saying and put it in his own words? Perhaps.

But hey, it’s a Picasso.

3 Inspirational Quotes in Spanish

Some Spanish quotes inspire you to live your life fully

Inspirational quotes are similar to motivational quotes. Except instead of giving you a push, they’re about building a positive mindset.

Here are some great positive quotes in Spanish.

El Hombre Que Se Levanta Es Aún Más Grande Que El Que No Ha Caído – “The Man Who Stands Up Is Greater Than the One Who Hasn’t Fallen”

Concepción Arenal, a Spanish writer and sociologist of the 19th century, left us this important quote.

The words más grande in it could be translated both as “taller” and “greater”. In any case, the point of the quote is to praise those who are strong enough to pick themselves up after a bad moment in their life.

El Arte de Vencer se Aprende en las Derrotas – “The Art of Winning is Learnt Through Losses”

Simon Bolivar, the man who played a capital role in South America gaining independence, knew a great deal about winning. This quote was born out of his experience.

“Tal Vez Sea Verdad: Que un Corazón Es lo Que Mueve el Mundo* – “Perhaps It Is True: It Is a Heart Which Moves the World”

This is a beautiful quote by Dámaso Alonso, a Spanish poet.

It’s one of my favourites. Every time I hear it, it inspires me to try and do something for the greater good.

3 Spanish Love Quotes and Proverbs

Spanish is rich in quotes and proverbs about love. After all, it’s a romance language. (See what I did there?)

Check out these cute Spanish quotes about love.

El Amor Todo lo Puede – “Love Conquers All”

This saying literally translates to “love can anything”. It makes more sense if we define it as “with love, everything is possible”.

La Belleza Que Atrae Rara Vez Coincide Con la Belleza Que Enamora – “The Beauty That Attracts Rarely Matches The Beauty That Makes You Fall In Love”

We owe this quote to Jose Ortega y Gasset, a Spanish author. He talked about the truth in love: very often, what attracts you first isn’t what will make you fall in love.

Think of it this way: you may decide to flirt with someone who looks good. But it’s their personality and values that determine if you’ll click or not.

El Amor No Respeta la Ley, Ni Obedece a Rey – “Love Laughs at Locksmiths”

Love is stubborn. It “doesn’t respect the law nor does it obey the king”, as Hispanics say.

The heart wants what it wants.

3 Family Quotes in Spanish

3 cool Spanish quotes about family

Hispanic families tend to be big. Maybe that’s why there are a lot of Spanish quotes and proverbs about family.

Cuando Seas Padre, Comerás Huevos – “You’ll Understand When You’re Older”

This is an interesting saying that comes from the times when people in the working class didn’t have much food. If there were any substantial dishes in the house, most of all proteins like meat or eggs, they would go to the father. The logic behind it was that he was the one maintaining the family and making physical effort outside the house.

Mothers would hence explain to their children why they couldn’t eat the eggs by telling them they would when they grew up. At least, the boys.

The meaning of the sayings has slightly evolved. Nowadays, it is used to children talk about things that only parents can do.

De Tal Palo, Tal Astilla – “Like Father/Mother, Like Son/Daughter”

This saying literally translates to something close to “from the stick comes the splinter”. Another English equal for it is “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. Just to keep it in the nature department.

Lo Importante En una Familia No Es Estar Juntos Sino Estar Unidos – “What’s Important In a Family Is Not to Be Together, It’s to Be United”

There is a différence between being together and being united. What matters in a family is that no matter what distance separates us from our loved ones, we still support each other.

As I have travelled a lot, I know the importance of maintaining a solid relationship with the people you love who live far from you.

3 Friendship Quotes in Spanish

Friendliness is a core characteristic of Hispanic culture. Here are some Spanish quotes and sayings to illustrate this.

Dime Con Quién Andas y Te Diré Quien Eres – “You Are the Company You Keep”

This saying’s literal translation is “Tell me who you hang out with and I will tell you who you are.”

The people you surround yourself with have a huge influence on your life. This Spanish saying reminds you of that.

La Soledad Es Muy Hermosa… Cuando Se Tiene Alguien a Quien Decírselo – “Solitude Is Very Beautiful… When You Have Someone Whom to Tell It To”

19th-century Spanish poet Gustavo Adolfo Becquer was onto something when he created this quote.

Humans are a social species. We need to interact with each other to be in a good mental place.

Yes, it’s nice to be alone sometimes. But we still need to interact with someone else, from time to time.

Hoy Por Ti, Mañana Por Mí – “You Scratch My Back, I’ll Scratch Yours”

What’s true of real friends is that they’re always there to support you. No matter the situation, a good friend will have your back. Or scratch it, in this case.

The literal translation of this saying is “today for you, tomorrow for me”. In a way, it means “I know you’ll be there for me, so I’m here for you”.

There’s no counting of favours, though! Real friendships isn’t about numbers.

3 Short Spanish Quotes

If you’re just starting your Spanish journey, you can do two things.

First, check this list of best Spanish resources on the internet. It includes Spanish Uncovered, an awesome course for beginners that our Fi3M team member Elizabeth reviewed right here.

Second, learn these super short Spanish quotes.

Más Vale Prevenir Que Curar – “Better Safe Than Sorry”

The literal translation of this saying is “it’s better to prevent than to cure”.

Why wait until something bad has happened to take care of it? It’s better to be prepared in advance and avoid any bad situation altogether.

El Tiempo Todo Lo Cura – “Time Heals Everything”

Like in English, Spanish people say that time heals everything. Is it true? It depends if you want to believe it.

A Lo Hecho, Pecho – “What Is Done Is Done”

Hispanics advise you to puff your chest at what has already been done. In fact, the chest is associated with shielding.

The saying means that you shouldn’t worry about the past anymore, because it has already happened.

3 Funny Spanish Quotes

Who said Hispanics aren’t funny? Let me prove them wrong with these quotes and sayings.

El Amor Es Como Don Quijote: Cuando Recobra el Juicio Es que Está Para Morir – “Love Is Like Don Quixote: When It Regains Its Judgement, It’s About to Die”

This quote is by Jacinto Benavente, a Spanish author of the 19th-20th century. He apparently didn’t think love is very rational. He compared it to the fictional character Don Quixote, known for his craziness.

It makes for a funny metaphor!

Si Hay Trato, Pueden Ser Amigos Perro y Gato – “If There Is a Deal, Even a Dog and a Cat Can Be Friends”

This Spanish saying talks about friendship for convenience. It uses the example of cats and dogs because they don’t usually get along unless they have a common interest. (“How about chasing away the neighbour’s cat?”)

Dame Pan y Dime Tonto – “Give Me Bread and Call Me a Fool”

Does this saying make much sense to you? I didn’t understand it at first, but now I love it.

Its meaning is something along the lines of: as long as I get what I want out of you, I don’t care what you think about me.

3 Frida Kahlo Quotes in Spanish

Frida Kahlo created some of the best Spanish quotes.

Famous Mexican painter and popular icon Frida Kahlo is known throughout the Hispanic world also thanks to her wise sayings.

Donde No Puedas Amar, No Te Demores – “Where You Can't Love, Don't Stay Too Long”

Kahlo didn’t have a smooth romantic life. It’s from her own experiences that she draws this sensible quote.

Enamórate de Ti, de la Vida y Luego de Quien Tú Quieras – “Fall in Love With Yourself, With Life and Then With Whoever You Want”

Another one of Kahlo’s quotes related to love that encourages you to be the boss of your own happiness.

Si Actúas Como Si Supieras Lo Que Estás Haciendo, Puedes Hacer Lo Que Quieras – “If You Act as if You Knew What You Were Doing, You Can Do Whatever You Want”

I guess what Kahlo was trying to say here is “Fake it until you make it.”

La Historia Nunca Dice “Adiós”. Lo Que Dice Siempre Es un “Hasta Luego” – “History Never Says ‘Farewell’. What It Always Says is Goodbye”

This quote by Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano is our goodbye for today.

But hey! Before you go, here’s an idea. Now that you’ve chosen one or several favourite Spanish sayings, learn how to say goodbye in Spanish.

Or maybe now you feel like learning some Italian sayings. You can never have too many exotic mottos!

author headshot

Benny Lewis

Founder, Fluent in 3 Months

Fun-loving Irish guy, full-time globe trotter and international bestselling author. Benny believes the best approach to language learning is to speak from day one.

Speaks: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Esperanto, Mandarin Chinese, American Sign Language, Dutch, Irish

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