Halloween and expressions about deathDanny Elfman hammered away at us in the movie The nightmare before Christmas, with that tune. Now, schools, nightclubs and malls do the same: today is Halloween.

We’ve already talked about the origins of this festivity. It’s not been familiar to Spaniards until the last decades. In Spain, the tradition is going to the cemetery with family to pray for their dead relatives. The atmosphere is not as festive as in Mexico or USA.

What we have in common is the memorial to death. Today, you will read a terrifying article… if you dare.

Death is the protagonist this day and we want to show you a collection of 7 phrases, proverbs and expressions in Spanish, which revolve around the black figure.


1. Morir con las botas puestas

Many people think that this expression comes from the movie They died with their boots on (1941). However, it’s much older. If a soldier died with his boots on, meant that he was in the right place, ready and fighting. So, he died fulfilling his duty. The fact of dying barefoot meant that he was catched with low guard. Today, it’s used with the meaning of doing your duty although a failure is expected.

Mi equipo de fútbol perdió 3-0 pero los jugadores murieron con las botas puestas.

2. Estar de muerte

Even though the concept of death brings to mind negative or pessimistic ideas, if you hear this expression describing something you have, maybe you cooked or even a event, it has the sense of ‘great’ or ‘fantastic’.

¡Qué fiesta has organizado! Está de muerte.

3. Esto revive a los muertos

Similar to the previous phrase but more specific, it’s used to describe a delicious meal, that can even revive a dead person.

¡Qué buena está esta sopa! ¡Esto revive a los muertos!

4. De mala muerte

Unlike the two previous phrases, de mala muerte refers to a ‘shitty place’; maybe a restaurant where you would never go again, or a house where no humans could live…

¿Me piden mil euros por el alquiler de este apartamento de mala muerte? ¡Increíble!

5. Estar muerto/a de…

Metaphorically, of course, we like to exaggerate our feelings and emotions using this phrase. It’s only a way to emphasize the following noun. The most used are sueño, cansancio, hambre, sed, vergüenza…

Estoy muerto de sueño. Llevo sin dormir un día completo.

6. Hasta que la muerte nos separe

We don’t actually use this sentence in our daily life. Only when we get married and when we need to remind our spouse that we are still married. The only intention to bring it here is that it’s maybe the most known one. Nowadays, many people adapt it to modern times saying “hasta que la hipoteca (mortgage) nos separe”.

7. A vida o muerte

If we understand it literally, it refers to a matter that can entail danger of death. Figuratively, it can show a situation that has a real importance.

La operación de corazón será a vida o muerte. / La reunión con los clientes asiáticos de hoy será a vida o muerte.

Some people say that if you read this article three times in front of a mirror, a DELE examiner will appear and he will say that you failed your exams. Don’t worry, if you reserve lessons at www.spanishviaskype.com, you will have nothing to fear. Reserve a free trial lesson via Skype first and check it out. Meanwhile, don’t read this in front of a mirror… just in case.

This is Halloween by Danny Elfman (Spanish version).