20 Hilarious Sayings You Only Hear From Mexican Grandmas
Mexican grandmas share the best advice, use the funniest expressions, and serve hot chocolate for breakfast. If people were ingredients, Mexican grandmas would be the sugar.
Not only are their recipes the best, la abuela (grandma) is often the moral compass of the family. She is perceptive, intelligent, confident, loving, and proud! Abues (another Mexican name for grandmas) know that they’re old and wise. (And don’t you dare contradict them!)
Read this blog post to learn 20 common sayings of Mexican grandmas that speak to the uniquely Mexican sense of humor. After all, laughter is the best medicine.
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20 Funny Things Mexican Grandmas Say
Although different Mexican grannies use different tones to deliver these sayings, most of them sound hilarious to the rest of the family. As the kids grow up, they might even start using them too!
1. Ya empezó mi comedia.
Literal translation: My comedy has started.
What they mean: My favorite soap opera has started, everyone shush!
This line is funny because she’s not actually referring to a comedy but rather a melodrama. Telenovela (soap opera) time is the most important part of the day for many abuelas.
When Mexican grandmas notice that it’s time for their favorite show, they’ll say, “¡Ya empezó mi comedia!”.
In other words, get out of the way and someone give her the remote control ASAP!
Her intention is that you watch the telenovela (soap opera) with her. But, beware. Mexican soap operas are addictive, so proceed at your own risk!
2. Cuando tú vas, yo ya fui y regresé dos veces.
Literal translation: When you go, I’ve already gone and came back twice.
What they mean: I know more than you.
This is a saying that has evolved over time in the funniest way. The original phrase was:
Cuando tú vas yo ya fui.
When you go, I’ve already gone.
Then, someone added:
And I came back.
Afterwards, some funny Mexican grandma continued:
And some even finish it with:
Y hasta si quieres te acompaño.
And if you want, I can even go with you.
Basically, Mexican grandmas have already done it and learned from it, so they now know the way and they can even lead you.
A Mexican grandma uses these words when someone is acting like a know-it-all and she wants to bajarle los humos (to center or humble you).
3. Sáquese a bañar.
Literal translation: Get out of here to take a bath.
What they mean: Get out of here.
Sáquese a bañar has two connotations: a literal one and a figurative one. If your Mexican grandma tells you this phrase while you are secretly tasting the food that is about to be served, that means get out of my kitchen! And you better run!
Now, if you tell a story in which you’re obviously exaggerating, she’ll say ¡sáquese a bañar! or ¡sáquese que! and laugh in a mocking way.
4. Más sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo.
Literal translation: The devil knows more by being old than by being the devil.
What they mean: Trust me, I am older and wiser. I know better.
Once again, Mexican grandmas are the oldest, wisest, most intelligent people you know. Trust and obey them because they know better.
The funny thing about this expression is that you understand it better when you are a teenager. But as a child, you wonder: why does grandma keep comparing herself to the devil?
5. Un día me vas a matar de un susto.
Literal translation: One day you will kill me from a scare.
What they mean: Don’t scare me!
Within Mexican families there is a dynamic where la abuela emotionally blackmails everyone. Everyone knows it but still gives in. When grandma’s gone, this role will be taken over by the next in line.
This expression makes the listener succumb to whatever la abuelita wants. Its purpose is to stop you from engaging in foolish or risky behavior.
6. Guarda esas lágrimas para cuando me muera.
Literal translation: Save your tears for when I die.
What they mean: Stop crying over nothing.
Speaking of emotional blackmail, this expression indicates that someone is crying over something minor or unimportant. You want to cry? Hold it until grandma’s on her way to the pearly gates.
It may sound silly, but it puts things in perspective. And, of course, you will cry when she’s gone, so stop making her angry with your nonsense!
7. Cuando te toca, aunque te quites. Cuando no, aunque te pongas.
Literal translation: When it’s your turn, you can’t escape. When it isn’t, even if you put yourself up there, it won’t happen.
What they mean: No matter what you do, you can’t escape destiny.
Even if you want to avoid a situation, if it’s your destiny, it will happen. And conversely, if something isn’t meant for you, it won’t happen.
Mexican grandmas say this after watching you throw a tantrum over not getting your way. Later in life, you connect the dots and understand that something better was planned for you. That’s when you start using this phrase and sharing the wisdom of la abuela.
8. Como me ves te verás.
Literal translation: How you see me, you will see yourself.
What they mean: You’ll be in my place one day.
The complete sentence is:
Como te ves, me ví, como me ves, te verás.
How you look is how I saw myself, how you see me, you will see yourself.
but the short version is more common.
Stop making fun of your Mexican grandma! You will be in her place one day. If she says this to you you were probably mocking her, for being old, for not hearing too well, or going slow—in a loving way, of course.
But she takes it with great Mexican grandma humor and laughs while she softly scolds you with this saying. It’s okay, she knows karma is coming your way.
9. Hay un dios que todo lo ve.
Literal translation: There is a God that sees everything.
What they mean: You’ll get what you deserve.
When your Mexican grandma says “there is an all-seeing God,” or “there is a God” for short, it means she will not punish you this time, but God will.
That is, she doesn’t have time for your nonsense and can’t reprimand you right now. Nonetheless, she can surely frighten you with these ominous words.
10. Dios nos agarre confesados.
Literal translation: May God grab us having confessed.
What they mean: May we have confessed by the time of our deaths.
If your grandma isn’t crossing herself while saying this, she isn’t Mexican. She’ll usually say this after receiving shocking news. If something were to happen to any of us, hopefully we will have confessed our sins, so the Lord will be fair in the final judgement. Talk about ominous, huh?
Remember that drama is a main component of every Mexican family, and the principal vocal voice of that drama is the Mexican grandma.
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11. Jesús, María y José, Ave María Purísima, Santa Virgen del Cielo.
Literal translation: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Immaculate Virgin Mary, Holy Virgin of Heaven.
What they mean: Oh my God!
Whenever a Mexican grandma gets shocked or scared, she chooses a saint or deity from heaven to bring down to Earth with these expressions.
12. Me tenías con el Jesús en la boca.
Literal translation: You had me praying to Jesus.
What they mean: Why didn’t you call?
Whenever you stay out too late and don’t answer the phone, you will get this phrase from your Mexican grandma. They say it with a suffering or scolding tone that evokes guilt.
What they mean is they kept praying to Jesus while you were gone because they were worried that something bad happened to you.
13. A donde fueres haz lo que vieres.
Literal translation: Wherever you go, do what you see.
What they mean: When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Tone: Wise and fun
This expression is a Mexican grandma’s excuse to behave differently. If you are shocked to see your abuelita drinking too much at a family gathering, she will answer ¡a donde fueres haz lo que vieres, mijito!, (wherever you go, do what you see, my son) and she’s—as always—right.
14. Me van a sacar canas verdes.
Literal translation: You’ll make me grow green gray hairs.
What they mean: You drive me crazy!
¡Ya tengo canas verdes por su culpa!
I already have green gray hair because of you!
Mexican grandmas will shout this at you when you are misbehaving. You will do such damage to them that their gray hair will turn green!
15. No le busques tres pies al gato sabiendo que tiene cuatro.
Literal translation: Don’t look for three paws on the cat, knowing it has four.
What they mean: Don’t make up excuses or look for problems that aren’t there.
The short version of this phrase is no le busques (don’t look for it), as in “don’t look for it or you’ll get it.”
Mexican grandmas often say it accompanied by a gesture that means “continue this nonsense and you’ll see how far it gets you.” It’s threatening and cute at the same time.
16. No me dores la píldora.
Literal translation: Do not brown the pill for me
What they mean: Don’t sugarcoat it. I am not dumb. Tell it straight.
You are dorándole la píldora to someone when you try to soften bad news. You are fibbing to make something bad sound good and perhaps even insulting their intelligence.
Never dores la píldora to your abuela; she knows what you’re doing!
17. Te va a ir como en feria.
Literal translation: It’s going to be like a fair for you.
What they mean: Things are going to get bad for you.
This is a clear threat. Your gentle Mexican grandma is as fierce as a dragon when she uses this expression. It can mean either “You’ll regret it” or “I’ll tell your mom and you’ll regret it.”
The latter is much worse. If you’re not afraid of your Mexican grandma, you definitely are of your Mexican mom, trust me.
18. Uno como quiera pero las criaturas.
Literal translation: We handle things as we can, but what about the creatures?
What they mean: We (adults) can manage a terrible situation, but what about the kids?
Mexican grandmas say this straight from their hearts. They mean that they can live without eating, sleeping, and having a social life, as long as the little ones have what they need.
19. Te va a dar el fresco.
Literal translation: It will give you an air or a wind
What they mean: The wind will hit you… and some terrible thing will happen to you
Mexican grandmas give warnings about the cold wind, and here’s why:
- If it hits you after eating, your mouth will crook and never turn back.
- If it hits you while you are crossing your eyes, you may stay like that forever.
- If it hits you after watching TV, you might be blinded for life.
You know, pretty standard abuelita stuff.
20. Si te sigues portando mal, el señor te va a llevar.
Literal translation: If you continue to misbehave, the man will take you away.
What they mean: You are throwing such tantrums that I am tempted to give you away.
Tone: Threatening yet fun
Either you will laugh at this one or it will traumatize you. It gives you a sense of dark Mexican humor.
Speak the Language of the Abuelitas
Learning from the wise members of a community is a wonderful way to understand their culture, habits, and language. These phrases are a reflection of Mexican society and humor that are ideally experienced in person on a trip to Mexico!
To have a valuable travel experience in Spanish-speaking countries, plan on learning as much Spanish as you can before boarding the plane. You might even get to know an abuelita! Here at Homeschool Spanish Academy, we offer Spanish packages tailored to your goals and interests.
We deliver 1-on-1 classes to more than 24,000 active monthly students. Our flexible scheduling, individualized lessons, and high school credit makes learning Spanish with us effective. Sign up for a free trial class with one of our certified native Spanish-speaking teachers today!
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