Friday, March 06, 2009

Saying of the Week -- No Sea Sapo

Here is a funny Colombian expression -- related to the theme of frogs that I have been working on this week. NO SEA SAPO.

I include it because it is quaint, amusing, and makes no sense outside of Colombia. But, it can be heard in Colombian Telenovelas or on the street. However, it is kind of low class, so you may not want to throw it out there with your lawyer or the judge.


The literal meaning of SAPO in Spanish is TOAD. But, in Colombia a SAPO can also be a person that is a tattletale, someone who sticks his nose in other people's business, or someone who answers a question when the question wasn't directed at him. The expression is "No Sea Sapo." -- don't be a tattletale or busybody. It can be useful with children -- but note it is strong.


Since it can be rude to call someone a sapo, Colombians have created several humorous expressions that imply that someone is a sapo without having to come right out and actually say that they are a sapo.

For instance, someone might say, "Don't act like an amphibian." (No seas amfibio) or "Would you jump into my hand?" (Salte aqui -- while holding out your hand) or "Are you hungry for a fly?" (Quieres una mosca?), etc.


Colombians assign to animals certain human characteristics. Then, they use the animals to describe human behavior. Here are other examples:

Loro (parrot) = someone who talks too much
Burro or Mula (donkey or Mule) = someone really stupid
Perro (dog) = a womanizer
Lagarto (lizard) = a person who helps someone in hopes of personal gain
Cabra (goat) = a hyperactive kid
Vaca (cow) = a fat person
Marrano (Pig) = someone who behaves like a pig!

4 comments:

Rachelle, Mike, and David said...

I've really enjoyed reading especially the last two weeks--very helpful stuff and interesting stuff! Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

tmabipen usada en Costa Rica esta expresión. Muy genuina y directa!

Henry Espinoza Gutierrez said...

In Costa Rica this expression is used a lot, too. But sometimes we just say "sea sapo!" without the "no".

Henry Espinoza Gutierrez said...

In Costa Rica is used a lot, too. But sometimes we just say "Sea sapo!" without the "no".