18 Meanings of ‘Cuenta’ in Common Spanish Idioms
Cuéntame (tell me), are you looking for Spanish idioms with the word cuenta? Perfect!
You landed on the right page!
People use cuenta to say multiple things like the word “account,” as in bank account, or to realize, to count, to tell, after all, and many more. So it’s important to know the difference between each to expand your language knowledge and sound like a native Spanish speaker.
Many of these phrases seem to have nothing in common. However, the truth is that the origin of all of these is the same, which is to count.
In this article, you will find a list of Spanish idioms with three examples each to see them in context.
Let me contarte (tell you) more ahead!
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1. A cuenta gotas – Drop by Drop
A cuenta gotas is a very common phrase in Spanish.
You can translate it to “drop by drop.” It refers to when you use a dropper, and you can easily “count” the drops since they fall slowly.
Natives use it when something happens gradually, unhurriedly:
Me está pagando a cuenta gotas lo que me debe.
She is paying what she owes me drop by drop.
Está haciendo todas sus tareas a cuenta gotas.
He is doing all of his homework drop by drop.
Él ya empezó a pintar los cuadros, pero a cuenta gotas.
He has been getting started on the paintings, but drop by drop.
2. A cuenta de – At the Expense of
Someone invited you to the movies and paid for everything? Then you went to the movies a cuenta de that person.
But the expense is a spectrum. So you can use this phrase when you’re invited to the the movies or when you’re talking to the worst free-loader.
Here are some examples:
Él vivió en esa casa a cuenta de otros.
He lived in that house at the expense of others.
El representante local compró un auto a cuenta de los contribuyentes.
The local representative bought a car at the expense of the taxpayers.
Ella comió en el restaurante a cuenta de Erika.
She ate at the restaurant at Erika’s expense.
3. A fin de cuentas – After All
This is one of the most common Spanish idioms from this list.
A fin de cuentas translates to “after all,” but it means: “After taking everything into account.”
No me pagó a fin de cuentas.
He didn’t pay me back after all.
Terminamos de ser amigos a fin de cuentas.
We stopped being friends after all.
Estudié Derecho a fin de cuentas.
I studied Law, after all.
4. Amiga, date cuenta – Friend, Realize or Friend, Open Your Eyes
Amiga date cuenta is the newest addition to this list.
You can find plenty of content on TikTok inspired by this pop culture phrase. It was meant for girls who couldn’t realize they were being played or that their crushes weren’t really that much into them.
Today people use it for everything that needs an alarm ring:
Él no está tan interesado en ti, amiga, date cuenta.
He’s not that into you, friend, open your eyes.
No vas a poder estudiar para siempre, amiga date cuenta.
You will not be able to study forever, friend, realize.
Ese dinero no es suficiente, amiga date cuenta.
That money is not enough, friend, wake up.
5. Cuenta conmigo – Count On Me
We really like this one because you can translate it literally, and it works perfectly!
Cuenta conmigo is something you can tell a friend or family member in case of an emergency, when something sad happens, or whenever you need to show support.
Si necesitas de alguien que te lleve al aeropuerto, cuenta conmigo.
If you need someone to take you to the airport, count on me.
Si necesitas un hombro donde llorar, cuenta conmigo.
If you need a shoulder to cry on, count on me.
Si necesitas escaper, cuenta conmigo.
If you need to run away, count on me.
6. Cuéntame – Tell Me
Let’s remember that contar is “to count.”
So this Spanish idiom probably comes from when people counted money or other things out loud. Now we use it to say, “Spill the beans.”
Cuéntame lo que te dijo Margarita.
Tell me what Margarita told you.
Tell me everything!
Cuéntanos lo que pasó ayer.
Tell us what happened yesterday.
Do you remember the “Tell me more, tell me more” phrase of Grease’s Summer Nights?
Listen to this live version in Spanish by the Mexican band Timbiriche, and practice it in your spare time. Bit of a spoiler, the lyric translates to, “Cuéntanos, cuéntanos.”
You can listen to the following song by Lucero, entitled Cuéntame.
7. De mi cuenta corre – It’s Up to Me, It’s On Me, I Will Make it Happen
This is a very dramatic Spanish idiom, as it almost sounds like a threat.
Be sure to use it when making a bold statement and assuring others you will make something happen.
De mi cuenta corre literally translates to “It runs from my account,” and it means, “I’ll pay for it,” “put it on my tab,” or “I will deal with it.”
You can also say corre por mi cuenta if you want to be less dramatic.
De mi cuenta corre que te vas a casar hoy.
It’s up to me that you will be getting married today.
Voy a hacer que estudies tanto que te gradúes con honores, de mi cuenta corre.
I will make you study so hard that you will graduate with honors. It’s on me.
Te van a escuchar en el congreso, de mi cuenta corre.
You will be heard at congress; I will make it happen.
8. Depositar en cuenta de alguien – On Someone’s Account
This Spanish idiom is more literal than others from this list. People use it when they’re making a deposit on someone’s account.
Here are some examples:
¿Puedes depositarme 1000 pesos en mi cuenta?
Can you make a 1000 pesos deposit in my account?
Necesito que le deposites dinero a Juan en su cuenta.
I need you to deposit money in Juan’s account.
Depositaste en la cuenta errónea. Lo siento.
You made a deposit to the wrong account. I’m sorry.
9. Darse cuenta de algo – To Realize, To Be Aware
Darse cuenta translates to “give account,” and it means to “realize” or “be aware.”
Me di cuenta de algo: mi departamento no es tan chico en realidad.
I realized something: my apartment isn’t as small as I thought.
Date cuenta de cuánta luz entra en el cuarto.
Be aware of how much light enters the room.
No me di cuenta y pagué con el billete equivocado.
I didn’t realize it, but I paid using the wrong bill.
10. Haz de cuenta – Pretend
Haz de cuenta que ya eres un experto en español. That means, “Pretend you are an expert on Spanish already.” If that’s true, then you can use haz de cuenta like this:
Haz de cuenta que no pasó.
Pretend it didn’t happen.
Hagamos de cuenta que sí llegamos a tiempo.
Let’s pretend we arrived on time.
Haz de cuenta que no fue mi novio.
Pretend he was never my boyfriend.
11. Hazme cuentas / Hagamos cuentas – Let’s do the Math
This is the Spanish idiom you would use if you lend some money or ask someone for your change:
Te di 100 quetzales. Hazme cuentas.
I gave you 100 quetzales. Do the math for me.
Te debo dinero. Hagamos cuentas.
I owe you money. Let’s do the math.
¿Cuánto gastaste? Hazme cuentas.
How much did you spend? Let’s do the math.
If the cuentas aren’t on your side and you feel a bit embarrassed, then read this article: 20 Ways to Say You’re Embarrassed in Spanish
12. Llevar la cuenta de algo – To Keep Track of Something
Llevar la cuenta de algo literally translates to “keeping the account” or “keep counting.” It really means “keeping score” or “keeping track.”
Estoy llevando la cuenta de lo que te debo.
I’m keeping track of what I owe you.
¿Me llevas la cuenta de lo que he comido?
Can you keep track of what I ate?
Llevé la cuenta de la administración de la casa.
I kept track of the house administration.
13. Más de la cuenta – More than Necessary
Más de la cuenta can mean “more than expected” or “more than necessary.”
However, Spanish speakers use it either to stop unwanted conduct that has gone too far or to express gratitude to someone who has helped more than necessary:
Ya te ayudé más de la cuenta.
I have already helped you more than necessary.
Has ido al doctor más de la cuenta.
You’ve gone to see the doctor more than you had to.
Se quedaron esperando más de la cuenta.
They waited for more than what was necessary.
14. Me di cuenta – I realized, I noticed
You are already familiar with a similar Spanish idiom. Realizing or noticing something is to take something into account:
Me di cuenta de lo mucho que te quería.
I realized how much I loved you.
Gracias a que me di cuenta de la luz roja, paré el coche.
Thanks to the fact that I noticed the red light, I hit the brakes.
No me di cuenta de que habías llamado.
I didn’t realize you had called me.
15. Ni en cuenta – Didn’t Even Realize, Didn’t Even Notice.
An alternative is no me di cuenta. However, ni en cuenta will help you sound like a native Spanish speaker:
Ni en cuenta de lo tarde que era.
Didn’t even realize how late it was.
¿Ya llegó Raquel? Yo ni en cuenta.
Has Raquel arrived yet? I didn’t even realize.
Empezó a llover y tú ni en cuenta.
It started raining, and you didn’t even notice.
16. ¿Qué me cuentas? – What’s up?
It seems like a casual phrase, but it’s more complicated than you think.
It is a conversation starter and the axis of the gossip culture in Latin America. Here are a few examples:
– ¿Qué me cuentas?
– Nada, ¿y tú?
– What’s up?
– Nothing much, what about you?
– ¿Qué me cuentas?
– Que Andrea ya se va a casar.
-Andrea is getting married.
-¿Qué me cuentas?
-Nada. Mejor cuéntame tú cómo te fue con tu mamá.
– What’s up?
-Nothing. But tell me how it went with your mom.
Read also: Chismeando: How to Spread Gossip in Spanish
17. Va por mi cuenta – It’s On Me
This may seem similar to “de mi cuenta corre” but is much less dramatic.
This one sounds more like a loving offering than a threat and like another person can politely say no.
La siguiente ronda va por mi cuenta.
The next round is on me.
Tu educación va por mi cuenta.
Your education is on me.
Lo que cueste tu vestido, va por mi cuenta.
Whatever your dress costs, it’s on me.
18. Ten en cuenta – Keep in Mind
Ten en cuenta literally translates to “take into account,” but it means to” keep in mind.”
Let’s look at some examples:
Hace frío afuera, ten en cuenta que estoy enferma.
It’s cold outside; keep in mind that I’m sick.
No te tardes, ten en cuenta la hora.
Don’t be late, keep in mind the time.
Tengan en cuenta lo mucho que me gusta ese pastel.
Keep in mind how much I like that cake.
Read this if you need to use the word cuenta to ask for the check!
Cuéntanos, ¿qué te pareció la lección?
Do you know what that means? It means, “Tell us what you think of the lesson?”
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