Ask a Mexican

What is your favorite Mexican dicho and why? A little background: Mexicans LOVE their dichos (rhymes with nachos and ponchos). They’re short charming phrases; full of wisdom, often said by the eldest in the family and passed down to the younger generations. Some may contain heavy language but in the least offensive way possible, it’s just that some of them are not the same without swearwords.

1. Diana Lopez 19 years old, student.

Mine is “Del dicho al hecho hay mucho trecho” it translates roughly to “there’s a long way from words to action” and I like it because it’s easier to say one will do something but when it comes to actually doing it, we face obstacles that we didn't know we would encounter. The person who carries out what they said makes an honorable person. It reminds us to fulfill what we say.

 

2. Juan Montes, 55 years old, business owner.

“Más sabe el diablo por viejo, que por diablo.” And it translates to “The devil knows more by being old than by being the devil.” I like it because in this life the one who knows more will always be the eldest rather than the one who thinks he knows it all.

 

3. Mariana Cardenas, 52 years old, housekeeper.

My favorite is “El que por gusto es buey, hasta la yunta lame” (there is a play on words here, “buey” is played as “wey” it sometimes can mean stupid) which literally translates to “He, who by his own liking/choosing is an Ox (jackass, an animal of burden), even the very rope he licks/kisses." I like it because there are some people who we can’t help and there’s no way we can even try because they are comfortable in their mistake, or are being taken advantage of and don’t realize or turn a blind eye.

 

4. Alfredo Hernandez, 30 years old, waste manager.

The one I like the most is “No hay fecha que no llegue ni plazo que no se cumpla,” which translates to “no date is unreachable or deadline is not met.” I like it simply because time is so powerful and flowing, nothing and no one is exempt from its voraciousness. Money, power and social status can’t help either, that makes us all equally human and vulnerable.

 

5. Adriana Hurtado, 41 years old, housewife.

“Ojo por ojo…” which means “eye for an eye” has to be my favorite, because when someone does something to you, you do it right back in the same scale, as revenge. I do not like it though, I don’t believe in doing wrong to anyone, but what I do like is the fact that the actions should be equal.

 

6. Nora García, 25 years old, store clerk.

“Farol de la calle oscuridad de su casa” which kind of translates to “light of the Street, darkness at home” is the best dicho out there, and recently is being more relevant. I like it because lately, I’ve seen women who dress up and do their makeup really nice but their homes are not exactly clean, they live in a mess. ,