Slang phrases with animalsOne of the first contents of vocabulary that children learn when they start the nursery school is animals. Los animales hold a fascination for children. They idealize them in such a way that a bear or a dinosaur can be lovely and no scary.

At we work with this topic at A1 level on our Spanish for different levels course. However, our intention is not providing a list of animals in Spanish with their translation into English to you. There are hundreds of sites on the Net with that information.

Let’s learn some slang phrases that use animals to describe people on two aspects: the masculine and feminine forms.

1. Pájaro vs pájara

  • Ser un pájaro / una pájara (literally, to be a bird). Althouth it can seem a positive description, it’s actually not. It refers to those people who are very clever but also unscrupulous. ¿Tu jefe no quiere hacerte un contrato? ¡Menudo pájaro es!
  • Tener una pájara (to hit the wall). It’s used mainly in sports, when athletes lose energy and cannot continue. El campeón del mundo ha tenido una pájara y va a retirarse.

2. Zorro vs zorra

  • Ser un zorro (literally, to be a fox). In this case, the attribute ‘clever’ is positive. Eres un zorro. Nadie puede engañarte (cheat or fool you).
  • Ser una zorra (to be a bitch). An awful expression to be said to a woman. However, it doesn’t always refer to sexual habits. It can be used to describe a woman as a bad person. Eso que hizo tu amiga es horrible. ¡Es una zorra!

3.Perro vs perra

  • Ser un perro (literally, to be a dog). Look out with this false friend! In English, to be a dog can describe skirt chaser men. In Spanish is not so strong. It refers to men who are very lazy. ¡Levanta de la cama ahora mismo! ¡Eres un perro!
  • Ser una perra (to be a bitch). It’s a synonym of ser una zorra. Again, women take the brunt of it. ¿Cómo puede hablar así de mí? ¡Vaya perra que es!

4. Moscón vs mosquita

  • Ser un moscón (literally, to be a blowfly). We use it with annoying people. ¡Cállate ya! Eres un moscón.
  • Ser una mosquita muerta (literally, to be a dead little fly). As an immobile fly can seem dead, but suddenly it can fly away, the same way, we use this phrase to describe a woman that seems to be very naive, but actually she is not such a good person. ¿Sabes que María le fue infiel (unfaithful) a su marido? Parecía la esposa perfecta pero es una mosquita muerta.

5. Gallito vs gallina

  • Ser un gallito (to be a cocky guy). Men who like to be a leader and think themselves a big shot can be described as gallito. Eres muy gallito en Internet pero en la calle seguro que eres un cobarde.
  • Ser un gallina (literally, to be a chicken). Poor hens and chickens, which are always compared with coward people. Si no te arriesgas no ganas. No seas gallina.

As you can see, the duality of genders are not very well balanced in Spanish. Here we can see examples of sexism, something that is fixed in language as it’s still fixed in our culture.

Now, it’s time to study Spanish. No seas un perro and reserve a free trial lesson on Spanish is not so difficult, and via Skype is even easier… or maybe ¿eres un gallina?