According to correspondence theory, if you say or think something that does not correspond to reality then you have said something that is false. While this is an obvious concept learned in childhood, and while is true that we say many things that are false, we seldom say that ‘something is false’ — at least in Spanish. Instead, we distinguish between different types of falsities and use the idiomatic expression most appropriate to the situation.

The guesser falsity

This is similar to what I asked in the previous question. It's a deliberately-made falsity*, but with the subtle difference that it's not planified at all. Out of the blue, you are asked for some information and you answer guessing and giving the impression that you know what you were asked for. It's usually used in exams, as can be seen in these two examples:

No sabía la respuesta a la pregunta, así que le mandé fruta.

I didn't know the answer to the question, so I ‘guessed’.

— ¿Cómo te fue en el examen?
— Ni idea. No creo haber aprobado. Mandé fruta en casi todo.

— How did you do in the exam?
— I don't know. I don't think I'll pass. I ‘guessed’ almost everything.

If I had to tell the difference between this expression and chamuyar, I would say that the fruta is less elaborated, more incoherent and less credible than a chamuyo. If you google the expression, there's a lot of sites that will say that is a synonym of the latter. Often you can replace one term for another; but what is missing in those descriptions is that nuance of insecurity and doubt present in the one who ‘invents the story’. Are there slang expressions or idioms in English that capture this very sense of guessing? I only found to take a stab at, but not sure how and in which contexts it's used.

*: Of course that if you mandás fruta (guess), you can pegarle (succeed) or errarle (miss). But if you didn't study for an exam, 99% of the times you fail. So we could consider this expression as part of the falsities, although strictly is not one of them.


1 Answer 1


The idiom (take) a shot in the dark can be used for a wild guess and it is a good fit for your example about answering questions in an exam. The Free Dictionary citing Farlex has the definition below including a very similar example to yours:

take a shot in the dark
To make a guess or estimate with very little or no assurance as to its accuracy.

I had absolutely no idea what the answer was for the last question on the exam, so I just took a shot in the dark and hoped for the best.

Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. S.v. "take a shot in the dark." Retrieved October 8 2023 from https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/take+a+shot+in+the+dark

Wing it is another idiom that works, especially when you are talking about exams, tests etc.

— How did you do in the exam?
— I don't know. I just winged it.

wing it
To do or attempt something with little preparation in advance; to improvise.

Oh man, I totally forgot that I'm supposed to do this presentation today—I'll just have to wing it.

wing it. (n.d.) Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. (2015). Retrieved October 8 2023 from https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/wing+it

Note: If you want a general verb, make (something) up is a good equivalent as a common phrasal verb that can work in many contexts. It is usually used in the sense to invent, fabricate (a story, lie, word, fictional scene/character, etc.).

I didn't know the answer, so I just made it up.

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