Odd Spanish Expressions: Subirse a las Barbas

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The Spanish and their facial hair-related idioms are like the Kardashians and their children’s names. We don’t know how they came up with them, but hate them or love them, they’re there! Just because it’s accepted doesn’t make it seem anymore normal for us foriegners when we hear an expression such as “Subirse a las barbas”, which literally translates to “rise up on one’s beard”. Like a lot of these types of phrases, it can be used for a plethora of situations. You might hear for example “El Madrid está subiendo las barbas del Atleti” from a commentator when Real Madrid is starting to cut a goal deficit in a Derbi versus cross-town rivals Atletico de Madrid. In the past, the idiom was frequently used when someone was gaining a higher social position at the expense of another person or group. Nowadays, however, it would be far more common for a father to say to his son “¡No te me subas a las barbas! if his son tried to drive his brand new car. And if he crashed it, well, you might need to go back to that Swearword section and look for some “milk” related Spanish words.

– Parker

Leah has been living in and exploring Madrid since 2013 when she moved to the city for a simple summer abroad. After falling in love with Madrid, she started the Citylife Blog in 2014 with the goal to share everything there is to know about her favourite place on earth! In her spare time you will find Leah at some of Madrid's many museums and cultural exhibitions.

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