A friend of mine had quite a reputation for having a revolving door of girlfriends (como una puerta giratoria de novias) and we’re often teasing him about it. One of the expressions I commonly heard my Spanish friends use to poke fun at him was: a rey muerto, rey puesto.
Now, the first time I heard that was a few years ago JUST as Juan Carlos was abdicating. So having heard the word “muerto”, you can probably guess what I assumed had happened to el rey Juan Carlos.
As quick as I was to assume, my Spanish friends jumped in immediately to clarify the expression: "Ja-ja, no te lo tomes al pie de la letra".
If any of you had tried to translate it to English, you’ll know that it doesn’t quite work, and may even have translated it to: the king is dead, long live the king. But that’s completely different.
The most similar expression that I can think of would be: "out with the old, in with the new". The difference between this and “a rey muerto, rey puesto” is that it simply indicates a change, or a turnover, instead of a “quick” turnover.
Alternatively, you could also use “revolving door”, as I did at the beginning of this post. Even though it’s more informal, it does imply rapid change.
I hope that helps!
Daniel - Tu coach inglés
Soy el director de Daniel Smith + Partners. Tengo más de 10 años de experiencia enseñando inglés a españoles.