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Would there be a way to make the joke "Ella es mi amiga vieja, disculpe, mi vieja amiga" work in English?

In British English, I think one would actually double down on the joke, thus making it absurd and therefore more obviously a joke: She is my old friend, and I've known her for ages as well. An "...
Andrew Leach's user avatar
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42 votes

English equivalent of *refrán*, which is less formal than a proverb

I think you just want to use saying (which is used in your definition of refrán): A saying is a sentence that people often say and that gives advice or information about human life and experience. ...
jxh's user avatar
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35 votes
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What happened to the “ch” in moschito?

My answer focuses on how the spelling of mosquito evolved in English dictionaries between 1658 and 1909. In this narrow sense, I’m trying to track the history of the word’s spelling. Walking with the ...
Sven Yargs's user avatar
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27 votes

English equivalent of *refrán*, which is less formal than a proverb

If you don't like saying (which is jxh@'s excellent suggestion), how about an adage: a saying often in metaphorical form that typically embodies a common observation. Example: She reminded him of ...
abligh's user avatar
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24 votes

English equivalent of *refrán*, which is less formal than a proverb

Perhaps mildly obscure in today's language but I'm astonished that nobody has mentioned the word refrain yet. It has two meanings, but it's the noun we're interested in, which appears primarily in ...
NinjaDuckie's user avatar
21 votes

What happened to the “ch” in moschito?

Many different spellings of mosquito appear in English, from the time of the first OED example in 1572 - muskito. But muscheto does not seem to appear until the early nineteenth century. From the ...
WS2's user avatar
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20 votes

What is an English equivalent of 'Colorín, Colorado, este cuento se ha acabado,' a phrase used at the end of stories?

The Spanish phrase is a rhyme which evokes childhood memories because many folk stories used to end in that way. Nowadays, in normal speech, it is used in a humorous way to say that something is ...
fev's user avatar
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20 votes
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Idiom for frustrating someone else's plans by taking what the other person wanted in the first place

I believe the closest idiom is beat someone to the punch. The idiom is originated from boxing, where it literally means a boxer lands a punch before their opponent could. Another version is beat ...
ermanen's user avatar
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18 votes
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Is there more difference between European and American English than between European and American Spanish?

No, there is less difference between American English and European English than there is between American Spanish and European Spanish. The reason for this is that the English were about a century ...
tchrist's user avatar
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18 votes
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What is an English equivalent of 'Colorín, Colorado, este cuento se ha acabado,' a phrase used at the end of stories?

There is a rhyming phrase that can be considered an equivalent phrase in English, used in story endings: Snip, snap, snout, This tale's told out. One of the sources where it is mentioned is a blog ...
ermanen's user avatar
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16 votes

A saying similar to "playing whack-a-mole"

When you're up to your neck in alligators, it's hard to remember you came to drain the swamp might work. It is easy to lose sight of one's initial objective, becoming caught up in subtasks or in ...
Decapitated Soul's user avatar
16 votes

Idiom for Spanish ‘no escupas para arriba’ (i.e., ‘be careful with the harm you do, it could come back at you’)

I can think of nothing phrased as an instruction in the same way, but I think "what goes around, comes around" is a pretty good fit. The idea is that whatever badness you do to others will ...
Mark Foskey's user avatar
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15 votes

A saying similar to "playing whack-a-mole"

"What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important." Dwight D. Eisenhower But your literal translation does sound better.
Ricky's user avatar
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14 votes

What is an English equivalent of 'Colorín, Colorado, este cuento se ha acabado,' a phrase used at the end of stories?

There isn't any widely used phrase. As for something lesser known, the ending of The Iron Stove by the Brothers Grimm fits the format, even matching the rhyme from the Spanish: A mouse did run, The ...
Laurel's user avatar
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14 votes

Idiom for frustrating someone else's plans by taking what the other person wanted in the first place

steal someone's thunder means to do what someone else was going to do before they do it, especially if this takes success or praise away from them. Examples: You have a significant part to play in ...
Graffito's user avatar
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13 votes

What happened to the “ch” in moschito?

It's hard to formulate a convincing argument as to why writers chose to adopt the spelling "moschito" and then abandon it in favor of "mosquito" again. (Per OED, the "mosquito" spelling was used from ...
RaceYouAnytime's user avatar
13 votes

Closest English term for Spanish "merienda"

I think your question contains its answer: snack is both AE and BE, and the first example sentence reported by the Oxford Dictionary is not many people make it through to the evening meal without a ...
Nicola Sap's user avatar
13 votes

Idiom for Spanish ‘no escupas para arriba’ (i.e., ‘be careful with the harm you do, it could come back at you’)

I think "You reap what you sow" is a common phrase that has the meaning you requested. You reap what you sow. I believe it comes from the Bible, Galations 6:7 (KJV) Galations 6:7 - Be not ...
James's user avatar
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12 votes
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What's the difference between Example and Sample?

This is one of those cases where the dictionary definitions aren't very helpful to differentiate the meanings. The difference is a little subtle. Think of a sample as a random selection from a group....
fixer1234's user avatar
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12 votes

rascal etymology

Rascal Etymology Recorded since c.1330, as Middle English rascaile (“people of the lowest class, rabble of an army”), derived from 12th century Old French rascaille (“outcast, rabble”) (modern French ...
banuyayi's user avatar
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12 votes

Would there be a way to make the joke "Ella es mi amiga vieja, disculpe, mi vieja amiga" work in English?

At the opposite end of the spectrum from the doubling-down on the joke that Andrew Leach offered is a kind of doubling where perhaps only the look on your face, or your delivery, would let the ...
TimR's user avatar
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11 votes
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In agriculture, what do you call a section within an orchard?

Cuartel is related to the English word quarter. One sense of one meaning of quarter is indeed barracks, but another is an area of a city (exemplified by Latin Quarter). Spanish has this meaning too:"...
Chris H's user avatar
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11 votes

In which states (USA) can someone “live easily without speaking any English”?

Hardly a neutral phrase, Petrov’s “snapping at the heels of English” ignores three important factors: (1) the history of the states bordering Mexico, which once were part of that country and thus had ...
KarlG's user avatar
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11 votes

How would you name the different types of periods? ~ Translating ‘punto seguido’, ‘punto y aparte’ and ‘punto final’

In English, we can distinguish the sentences within a paragraph, such as the first or opening sentence, the last or closing sentence, and often a topic sentence that states the main idea of the ...
DjinTonic's user avatar
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10 votes
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Equivalent of the Spanish phrase "morir de éxito"

There is a closely related expression, a very transparent idiom, in English: [be] a victim of one's own success From Cambridge Dictionary: be a victim of your own success ​ to have ...
Edwin Ashworth's user avatar
10 votes

"newfangled", "fandangle" and "fandango"

Q. Could fandango have been a corruption of the Middle English term newfangled? The OED thinks not, saying fandango (1766) from "Spanish fandango; alleged to be of African origin". Q. In ...
Hugo's user avatar
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10 votes

What is an English equivalent of 'Colorín, Colorado, este cuento se ha acabado,' a phrase used at the end of stories?

No, there isn't. As you correctly state, the traditional ending that fulfils the same role in English is "... and they all lived happily ever after". While there are other endings that ...
Jack Aidley's user avatar
  • 1,781
10 votes

Idiom for frustrating someone else's plans by taking what the other person wanted in the first place

The metaphorical broadening of 'cut in on' has the meaning 'take another's [rightful / better deserved / established] place': cut in [intransitive verb] [often on someone] 1: to thrust oneself into a ...
Edwin Ashworth's user avatar

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