Vernon Vine

Common Sayings in Latin America

 Janelis Velázquez Sánchez, Staff Editor

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Every culture has its unique set of different traditions and customs. Some of the things that define a country are the food, dance, and even the way the people speak! Having this in mind, many countries in Latin America use a variety of phrases that contain a humorous undertone or a hidden message.

In the case of Latin America, multiple countries use these sayings in order to be humorous, or just because they have been taught to use them early in life. Sometimes parents do not teach their children the meaning of these sayings, but they are most likely to be taught by other family members. The sayings  are so common that they have become daily statements with all.

The significance of these sayings is immense in many Latin American countries. Not only do they demonstrate the way a region communicates, but it also shows the way individuals think.

Some of the sayings and their meaning are the following:


 Al mal tiempo buena cara.

 At bad times put up a good face.

This saying in particular is one of the most common. It is known in various Hispanic countries located in South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and even in Europe. It is often used when someone is going through difficult moments in life and they still keep a positive attitude in order to deal with their problems.


Al que a buen árbol se arrima buena sombra lo cobija.

He who holds a good tree gets a good shadow to cover him.

In this case, the intention of the saying is to be funny. This one means that an intelligent person does little, but gets a lot of benefits from that miniature task. Another meaning would be that people who live off of someone tend to be granted multiple things, but at the end they are still dependable upon someone.


Amigo en la adversidad es un amigo de verdad.

A friend in difficult situations is a true friend.

Friendship is something very valuable and it tends to be hard for some people to maintain it. Most of the time, people lose contact or end up breaking a friendship just because they are too busy to make a call. Additionally, the saying reflects that a friend is someone that is present in the moments that he is needed the most. In other words, the main idea of the saying is that a true friend is a reliable one, and that he or she will be present during the difficult and great times.


La probabilidad de hacer mal se encuentra cien veces al día; la de hacer bien una vez al año.

The probability of someone finding a way to do wrong are presented a hundred times per day; however, doing good is something that comes up once a year.

The meaning behind this particular phrase or saying is simple, but the message it brings is powerful. It shows the way life really works when having to make the decision of either doing wrong or deciding to do well. It also means that the opportunity to do something great for someone else might only be presented once in a lifetime. On the other hand, the saying also mentions that doing wrong is something anyone can do because of how abundant the opportunity to do so is.


La palabra es plata y el silencio es oro.

A word is silver and silence is gold.

The overall message of this phrase is that silence might provide money, but speaking might cause death. It involves the traffic of drugs, the government, and the common way of living. What this means is that people in the drug world exchange information for money. Others in the government make money by just giving information away, and in the daily routine, people gossip. Nevertheless, in the end, maintaining a quiet mouth might get one further in life.

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Common Sayings in Latin America