Sobre todo or Sobretodo? – Spanish Spelling- Elinqua Blog
November 18, 2013
Spanish gestures and what they mean
December 13, 2013

The other day one of my students asked me about the meaning of  the expression ‘menudo marrón’. She was telling me how, now thats she’s living in Madrid, she’s constantly hearing expressions that she never learnt in her Spanish lessons in the US. That is totally normal, since Spaniards (and any other Spanish speakers) use a lot of slang and collocations when speaking informally. Some of these expressions are related with food; others with different parts of the body; many of them with colors. Today we are going to focus on Spanish expressions with colors. I hope you find them helpful!

I am going to organize the Spanish expressions with colors in groups of colors, so it makes it easier to memorize them. We are going to see expressions with ‘marrón’ (brown), ‘rojo’ (red); ‘rosa’ (pink), ‘verde’ (green) and ‘blanco’ (white).


– ¡Menudo marrón!, ¡Vaya marrón!: This expression is similar to ‘what a bummer’ in English. We say this to express that we consider a situation unpleasant (a situation that ourselves or someone else we know is involved in).

e.g.: ¡Vaya marrón me cayó! = What a mess I got stuck with!

Comerse el marrón: To be the one who deals with a problem.

e.g.:  En mi trabajo, siempre soy yo el que se come los marrones. = I am always the one who has to deal with all the problems at work.


– Ponerse rojo/roja: To get red with embarrassment.

e.g.: Cuando era adolescente me ponía roja con facilidad. = When I was a teenager I was so shy that I got red with embarrassment the whole time.

– Estar en números rojos: To be overdrawn.

e.g.: Fui al cajero y vi que estaba en números rojos. =  I went to the ATM and I found out that I was overdrawn.


– No todo es color de rosa: Not everything is nice and easy as it may seem it is.

e.g.: La gente cree que tengo el trabajo perfecto, pero no todo es de color de rosa. = People think that I have the perfect job, but not everything is that nice.


 Ser un viejo verde: To be a dirty old man.

e.g.: Mi vecino es un viejo verde. Siempre está espiando a las chicas por la ventana. = He’s always spying the girls through the window.

Poner verde a alguien: To criticize someone strongly. Another Spanish expression with the same meaning would be “poner a parir a alguien”.

e.g.: Se supone que éramos amigas, pero me enteré de que me había estado poniendo verde a mis espaldas. = We were suppossed to be friends, but I found out that she had been criticizing me when I was not present.


– Quedarse en blanco: To blank out. We use this expression when we loose our thought for a moment.

e.g,: Justo en la mitad de mi presentación… ¡me quedé en blanco! ¡Qué mal lo pasé! = Right in the middle of my presentation… I blanked out! What a horrible moment!

Estar sin blanca: To be broke. We say ‘estoy sin blanca’ when we are out of money. Another popular Spanish expression with the same meaning would be ‘estoy sin un duro’ (this way to say it is even more popular than the first saying).

e.g.: – María, ¿me puedes prestar 20€? = María, could you lend me 20€?

          – Jo, pues no, lo siento. Aún no he cobrado y estoy sin blanca. = Aww, I’m sorry. I haven’t gotten paid yet and I’m totally broke.

*All these Spanish expressions with colors might be used in different Spanish speaking countries, but they are mainly from Spain.