Today, I’m going to tell you about one of my favourite Spanish expressions. It was my second year in Spain and I was having coffee with a friend when we bumped into an acquaintance of his.
My friend ushered him over to join us and just 15 minutes later, I was already starting to form a negative impression of him.
He seemed to be pretty proud of himself and to the point of arrogance. Being confident is one thing — it’s attractive and enchanting. But that wasn’t it with this guy.
After he left, my friend said to me, “lo siento, le dije que se sentase con nosotros por educación, pero es que el tío no tiene abuela.”
You must know where I’m going with this.
For someone who’s never heard of this expression, you can imagine what I thought my friend meant — the literal meaning of “no tener abuela”.
Bewildered, I obviously didn’t know how that was related to his arrogance. But after my friend clarified, it made SO much sense!
I’d LOVE to be able to use this expression in English. But, unfortunately, I don’t think anyone would understand. So for now, I’ll have to resort to its English equivalents:
En inglés, una persona que no tiene abuela es…
→ full of oneself
I hope that helps! 👵
Soy el director de Daniel Smith + Partners. Tengo más de 15 años de experiencia enseñando inglés a españoles.