Spanish Word of the Day Archive
Sunday November 17, 2013

gato, noun:

In English there are many colorful phrases referring to cats, such as ‘to let the cat out of the bag’, and ‘to play cat and mouse with somebody’. Today we’re looking at some proverbial Spanish phrases and expressions using gato.
If you’re suspicious about a situation, you might say:

Aquí hay gato encerrado.
There’s something fishy going on (word for word, there’s a cat cooped up in here).

While that phrase is rather different from English, the next one is very similar:

De ahí que patronos y empleados tengan* que jugar al gato y al ratón.
That’s why employers and employees have to play a cat and mouse game with each other.

After a bad experience that we don’t want to repeat, in English we say ‘once bitten, twice shy’, which could refer to dog bites. In Spanish you use an image from the feline world:

El gato escaldado del agua fría huye.
Once bitten, twice shy (word for word, the scalded cat runs away from cold water).

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