44 Essential Spanish Quotes and Proverbs to Fuel Your Motivation
Spanish quotes, sayings, and proverbs motivate you to live your best life! Plus, they’re beneficial to Spanish learners and language lovers on the path toward fluency.
Oftentimes, proverbs and idioms in one language make no sense if translated directly into another. That’s why I’ve listed the original Spanish quotes with English translation, as well as a brief commentary.
Are you seeking motivation in life and in Spanish learning? Keep reading to access 44 excellent and inspiring Spanish quotes and proverbs!
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Famous Spanish Sayings
1. Más vale pájaro en mano que cien volando. –Proverbio español
This Spanish proverb is akin to “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Literally: a bird in the hand is worth more than 100 flying.”
Be grateful for what you have. Don’t be greedy, or you might end up with nothing.
2. Más vale prevenir que curar. –Proverbio español
The direct translation of this Spanish saying is “it’s better to prevent than to cure.” In other words, better safe than sorry.
Rather than reacting to bad news situations, it’s preferable to be prepared in advance and thus avoid the difficulty.
3. El tiempo todo lo cura. –Proverbio español
“Time heals all wounds.”
Just like in English, people say that time heals everything in Spanish. While this is often true, major wounds like grieving the loss of a loved one are something we must always carry with us.
4. A lo hecho, pecho. –Proverbio español
This Spanish proverb expresses the idea, “What’s done is done.”
Pecho means chest. Spanish wisdom advises you to puff your chest at lo hecho (what has been done).
5. Obras son amores y no buenas razones. –Proverbio español
“Deeds are love, words are not.”
The English equivalent is “actions speak louder than words.” You have to walk your talk, in this case about your love for others.
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Spanish Quotes About Life
6. Al mal tiempo, buena cara. –Proverbio español
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. This Spanish saying translates to “to bad weather, good face.”
Buck up and deal with it, in other words. Don’t fold under the challenge.
7. La verdad adelgaza, pero no quiebra. –Miguel de Cervantes
“The truth may be stretched thin, but it never breaks.”
The famous author of Don Quixote encourages readers of this quote to be truthful. It implies that although some people may try to distort the truth to their advantage, in the end, the truth will shine through.
8. Errar es humano, pero más lo es culpar de ello a otros. –Baltazar Gracian
“To err is human, but it is even more so to blame others for it.”
In our modern, polarized society, it seems more clear than ever that humans are more likely to try to blame others for their problems, rather than take responsibility for their actions.
9. Si actúas como si supieras lo que estás haciendo, puedes hacer lo que quieras. –Frida Kahlo
“if you act as if you know what you’re doing, you can do whatever you want.” It’s Mexican feminist painter and activist Frida Kahlo’s way of saying “fake it until you make it.”
10. Mucho ruido y pocas nueces. –Proverbio español
Literally, “A lot of noise and few walnuts,” this quote refers to making much ado about nothing.
11. El que lee mucho y anda mucho, ve mucho y sabe mucho. –Miguel de Cervantes
“The one who reads and walks a lot, sees and knows a lot.”
Reading and traveling enrich our lives. These activities empower us to “see and know” so much by learning about diverse cultures, beliefs, and ideas.
Spanish Proverbs About Love
12. El amor todo lo puede. –Proverbio español
“Love can do it all.”
Love will find a way. With love, everything is possible. This is a perfect heart-centered Spanish quote on which to base your life’s philosophy.
13. El amor es como el agua que no se seca. –Proverbio español
“Love is like water that never evaporates.”
True love lasts forever. An eternal and poetic truth or a Hollywood movie myth? You be the judge.
14. Tal vez sea verdad que un corazón es lo que mueve el mundo. –Dámaso Alonso
“Perhaps it is true: it is a heart which moves the world.”
This Spanish quote inspires us to benefit others and do something for the greater good.
15. La belleza que atrae rara vez coincide con la belleza que enamora. –José Ortega y Gasset
“The beauty that attracts you rarely matches the beauty that you fall in love with.”
Ultimately, personality and values are more important than good looks alone.
16. El amor no respeta la ley, ni obedece al rey. –Proverbio español
“Love doesn’t respect the law nor does it obey the king.”
Another way of putting it is: love laughs at locksmiths. In the most simple terms, the heart wants what it wants. Romantic love is often inexplicable.
Spanish Quotes About Friendship
17. Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres. –Proverbio español
“Tell me who you hang out with and I will tell you who you are.”
Just like in English, Spanish speakers believe that the people you surround yourself with have a major influence on your life. You not only “are what you eat,” you are the company you keep.
18. La soledad es muy hermosa cuando se tiene alguien a quien decírselo. –Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer
“Solitude is very beautiful when you have someone to talk about it to.”
While it’s good to be alone at times, humans are sociable creatures who thrive on interacting with others from time to time.
19. Hoy por ti, mañana por mí. –Proverbio español
Literally, “Today for you, tomorrow for me.” This proverb in Spanish is akin to the English, “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.”
True friends are loyal and supportive, no matter the situation. In a sense, this quote means “I know you’ll be there for me, so I’m here for you.”
Spanish Motivational Quotes
20. Haciendo y deshaciendo se va aprendiendo. –Proverbio español
“It’s by doing and undoing that we learn.”
Trial and error is the only way to really learn. It’s actually super helpful to make mistakes and try again. There’s really no such thing as “failure,” only feedback.
21. El que no arriesga, no gana. –Proverbio español
“The one who doesn’t risk doesn’t gain anything.”
You have to be willing to take risks and make a leap of faith in order to achieve what you want.
22. Al mejor escribano se le va un borrón. –Proverbio español
“To the best scribe comes a smudge.”
In line with the previous Spanish quote, everybody makes mistakes. Nobody’s perfect.
23. Camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente. –Proverbio español
“The shrimp that falls asleep is carried by the current.”
This one sounds pretty funny in English, but it simply means don’t let the world pass you by. Stay alert and be proactive. Don’t waste your life.
Spanish Proverbs About Happiness
24. Donde no puedas amar, no te demores. –Frida Kahlo
“Where you can’t love, don’t stay too long.”
These wise words are good guidance for people who need to get out of relationships that lack love and care.
25. Enamórate de ti, de la vida y luego de quien tú quieras. –Frida Kahlo
“Fall in love with yourself, with life, and then with whoever you want.”
Don’t look for someone to “complete you.” Instead, take ownership of your own happiness.
26. A falta de pan, buenas son las tortas. –Proverbio español
“In the absence of bread, cakes are good.”
A more Latin American variation is A falta de pan, tortillas.
Or, as another common Spanish proverb goes, algo es algo; menos es nada (something is something; less is nothing). Better than nothing. Half a loaf is better than none. Beggars can’t be choosers!
Common Spanish Sayings
27. El mundo es un pañuelo. –Proverbio español
“The world is a handkerchief,” may not make much sense to a native English speaker, but neither does “the world is your oyster,” when you stop and think about it.
In any case, this Spanish proverb actually means “it’s a small world.”
28. Todos los caminos llevan a Roma. –Proverbio español
“All roads lead to Rome.”
There are multiple paths to reach a certain goal. Life takes unexpected turns sometimes, and this Spanish quote reminds us that we can achieve our dreams, perhaps by an alternate route.
29. Que cada palo aguante su vela. –Proverbio español
“May every mast hold its own sail.”
On a ship, each mast should hold its own sail, independently of the rest. In other words, each individual must accept and handle their own problems. It has an individualist connotation and a similar meaning to “every man for himself.”
30. Zapatero, a tus zapatos. –Proverbio español
“Shoemaker, to your shoes!”
Folks need to stick to what they know, instead of trying to get involved in matters, they know little to nothing about.
31. El hábito no hace al monje. –Proverbio español
Literally, “the habit doesn’t make the monk,” this Spanish proverb is akin to the English saying, clothes do not make the (wo)man.
32. No hay que ahogarse en un vaso de agua. –Proverbio español
“It’s not necessary to drown oneself in a glass of water.”
This Spanish saying is similar to two idioms in English: don’t make a mountain out of a molehill and don’t cry over spilled milk.
33. La cabra siempre tira al monte. –Proverbio español
“The goat always heads toward the mountain.”
The idea here is that people don’t change. The leopard doesn’t change its spots. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Funny Spanish Sayings
34. El amor es como Don Quijote: cuando recobra el juicio es que está para morir. –Jacinto Benavente
“Love is like Don Quixote: when it regains its judgment, it’s about to die.”
Famous fictional character Don Quixote is known for his craziness. He didn’t gain clarity until he was close to death. Love can be pretty funny sometimes!
35. Si hay trato, pueden ser amigos perro y gato. –Proverbio español
“If there’s a contract/deal, even a dog and a cat can be friends.”
36. Nadie da palos de balde. –Proverbio español
“Nobody gives sticks for free.”
If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Remember, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Spanish Quotes About Success
37. A los tontos no les dura el dinero. –Proverbio español
A fool and his money are soon parted. Budget your money mindfully.
38. La acción es la clave fundamental para todo éxito. –Pablo Picasso
Action is the fundamental key to all success.
Sounds like common sense, but sometimes the simplest advice is the most useful. Action leads to success. Write, paint, sing, act, do!
39. El hombre que se levanta es aún más grande que el que no ha caído. –Concepción Arenal
“The man who stands up is greater than the one who hasn’t fallen.”
This Spanish quote praises those who are strong enough to pick themselves back up after a great challenge in their life.
40. El arte de vencer se aprende en las derrotas. –Simón Bolívar
“The art of winning is learned through losses.”
Similar to quotes #20 and #21 on this list, the idea here is that, paradoxically, failure or “loss” is actually the key to success.
41. Haz el bien y no mires a quien. –Proverbio español
“Do good, and don’t look at whom.”
Excellent life advice. Do what you believe is right, no matter what other people think.
Spanish Proverbs About Family
42. Cuando seas padre, comerás huevos. –Proverbio español
This Spanish quote means “you’ll understand when you’re older.” Back when working-class families didn’t have much food, proteins like meat or eggs would typically go to the father (the breadwinner). This proverb literally translates to “When you’re a father, you’ll eat eggs.”
The meaning of the sayings has evolved. Today, it refers to things that only grown-ups can do.
43. De tal palo, tal astilla. –Proverbio español
This Spanish saying translates directly to something like “from the stick comes the splinter.” In English, we’d say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
44. Lo importante en una familia no es estar juntos sino estar unidos. –Proverbio español
“What’s important in a family is not to be together, it’s to be united.”
No matter how much distance separates us from our loved ones, the key is that we love and support one another.
Get Motivated To Learn Spanish
Gaining fluency in Spanish not only improves your life but also enables you to earn a higher income. According to a study conducted by The Economist, you can earn $50,000 to $125,000 extra just by knowing a foreign language. What’s more, interpreters and translators are among the top 5 fastest-growing occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with opportunities expected to increase by 46% between 2012 and 2022.
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