Dichos are proverbs. “Dichos” is a Spanish word for wise sayings, clever maxims, humorous perspectives that can guide you well. Dichos are life coaches, lighting a pathway that, if followed, can make our lives better and less painful. Dichos are nuggets of wisdom that are handed, like gold, from parents to children to enrich their lives. They exist in all languages of course, but here in Texas we get the benefit of having them in English and Spanish. Sometimes they’re similar, but sometimes they’re vastly different in both content and expression.
I’ve collected a few of my favorite dichos to share. I’m grateful to my diaspora of Hispanic friends who sent in an avalanche of suggestions which helped me remember some I’d forgotten, and taught me a few new ones as well.
Listen to all the dichos in the audio player above, or read them below.
There are many dichos about the value of keeping your mouth shut:
“En boca cerrada, no entran mosca”: Keep your mouth shut and no flies will get in.
“El pez por la boca muere”: Fish die through their mouth.
There are many dichos about love, of course. Here are two about long-distance love:
“Amor de lejos es amor de pen#$%&@”: Well, can’t finish that one here, but I’m sure if you know some Spanish you can. Long-distance love is a love for DANG fools.
And there’s a corollary: “Amor de lejos, felices los cuatro”: Long-distance love makes four people happy.
Here are two about the best-laid plans:
“Del plato, a la boca … se cae la sopa”: From the bowl to the mouth, you can lose your soup. Or, “Del dicho al hecho, hay mucho trecho”: From planning to doing, much can go wrong.
Now for a few about being a good person.
“Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres”: Tell me who you run with and I’ll tell you who you are.
“Aunque la mona se vista de seda, mona se qued”: A monkey in a silk dress is still a monkey. Lipstick on a pig.
“El burro hablando de orejas”: The donkey talking about ears – hypocrisy.
And for lazy people, we have these cautionary dichos:
“Camaron que se duerme so lo lleva la corriente,” and, “El flojo trabaja doble”: Sleeping shrimp get carried away by the current, and the lazy one does everything twice.
The devil often appears in dichos:
“Más sabe el diablo por viejo, que por diablo”: The devil is cunning because he’s ancient, not because he’s the devil.
And here’s the five-second rule in dicho form. When you drop food on the floor you will often hear: “Todo para dios, nada para el diablo”: All for God, none for the devil.
Let us end with this timeless jewel:
“Los niños y los borrachos siempre dicen la verdad”: Little children and drunks always tell the truth.
I’ll drink to that. I’m W. F. Strong. Estas son historias de Tejas. Algunas son verdaderas.