Discovering Spanish. Me tienes frito.


This is the first episode of the Discovering Spanish with Spain Uncovered series. The episodes are all in Spanish, but the corresponding posts are in English. Enjoy!

I do love this one – literally it means, “you have me fried”. It’s what you say when someone is really annoying you.

I love the image of something sizzling in a pan and therefore, getting angrier and angrier. For me, this expression evokes continuous pestering, ongoing annoyance. It’s not just that you’ve annoyed me today or for a small while, the annoyance is growing and growing, like something that’s frying.

So, if you’re a man, you’ll say me tienes frito and if you’re a woman, you’ll say, me tienes frita.

And this expression reminds me of another one, Vete a freir espárragos. Literally, “go and fry asparagus”. It’s another dismissive one – it would be interesting to see whether there are any sentences with the word “fry” in it which don’t have a negative connotation. It basically means, “go and take a hike”. Apparently asparagus take ages to fry – as opposed to boiling – and so, if you ask someone to go and fry them, you’re asking them to leave you alone for a while.

I was looking for the origins of this on the internet and gave up. There’s a post which is duplicated and referred to in lots of forums which says the sentence means, “leave quickly” as apparently when you boil asparagus, there comes a point when you have to take them out of the water really quickly. Mmmm, I much prefer thinking that someone needs to stay away from you while they go through the long process of frying asparagus. Besides, this last one is the explanation given by my father, who, although a man of science and not arts, is a much more reliable source than Google nowadays.

puñetas pictureWhile we are on phrases dismissing other people by asking them to go and do something that takes ages, how about this one: Vete a a hacer puñetas. Go and make puñetas. The puñetas is the lace, the embroidery, worn by judges on the end of their sleeves, the cuffs . They are full of lace and must take ages to make. So, if you ask someone to go and make them, you know they’re going to be away for a long time. Puñeta comes from puño, fist, as they fall a little bit on your hand.

And from puñetas, (you see what happens once I get going…) you can also say someone is puñetero, which means they’re annoying you or annoying someone constantly. It has connotations that they’re doing it maliciously, or at least with the aim of annoying others.

So, those are my three phrases for today: Me tienes frito, o frita; Vete a freir esparragos and Vete a hacer puñetas.


Esparragos photo credit: jlastras via photopin cc
Puñetas photo credit: Chema Concellon via photopin cc

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  1. Alison Orr

    Fantastic! Not too long, not too fast and interesting to boot. Thanks – I look forward to the next one!

    • Thanks very much for your comment, Alison. I’ve got some fun ones coming soon, featuring monkeys and donkeys!

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