Stop taking the mick out of me

Here are a few common English idioms and their equivalents in French, Spanish, German, Italian and Portuguese.

Kieran Ball
Jun 7, 2019 · 3 min read

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Better late than never

You can use this idiom by itself in English to say that it’s better that something has happened late or that somebody has arrived late rather than it never happening at all.

French
Mieux vaux tard que jamais

In French, this literally means “better worth late than never”. It contains the verb “vaut”, which comes from “valoir” meaning “to be worth”.

Spanish
Más vale tarde que nunca

In Spanish, this literally means “It’s worth more late than never” and it contains the verb “vale”. The infinitive of “vale” is “valer”, and it means “to be worth” or “to cost”.

German
Besser spät als nie

In German, you can translate this idiom word for word. It literally means “better late than never”. The word “als” means “than” German and it’s good for comparing things.

Italian
Meglio tardi che mai

In Italian, this idiom is easily translated. It means the same in Italian as it does in English.

Portuguese
Mais vale tarde do que nunca / Antes tarde do que nunca

The first idiom “mais vale tarde do que nunca” is used in Portugal; it means “it’s worth more late than never”. The second idiom “antes tarde do que nunca” is used more in Brazil. The Brazilian version means “rather late than never”. The word “antes” means “rather” or “before”.


Taking the mick

You can use this idiom in English to say that you’re teasing somebody or mocking them. Another alternative would be “making fun”.

“He’s taking the mick out of me”
“He’s making fun of me”

French
Se moquer de quelqu’un

This means “to mock somebody”.

Je ne me moque pas de toi

Spanish
Burlarse de alguien

In Spanish, there is a verb phrase “burlarse de”, which means “to make fun of”

María se burla de Pablo

German
Sich über jemanden lustig machen

The German literally means “to make fun over somebody”. The adjective “lustig” means “funny”.

Er macht sich lustig über mich

Italian
Prendere in giro qualcuno

This literally means “to take somebody around”. Generally, you put the person who is being mocked on the end.

Maria prende in giro Paolo

Portuguese
Tirar sarro de alguém

This means “to take the crust of somebody” literally; the word “sarro” means “crust” or “fur”.

Sempre tiram sarro de mim


Call it a day

You can use this idiom when you stop working on something. Usually you say things like, “Let’s call it a day” or “I think I’m going to call it a day”.

French
Ça suffit pour aujourd’hui

In French, this literally means “that suffices for today” or “that’s enough for today”.

Spanish
Dar el día por terminado

This phrase literally means “to give the day as finished” and you can conjugate the verb “dar” into any tense.

Doy el día por terminado
Hemos dado el día por terminado

German
Zu Ende bringen

This means “to bring to an end” and you can conjugate the verb “bringen”, which means “to bring”.

Ich muss es zu Ende bringen
Wir haben es zu Ende gebracht

Italian
Per oggi basta

The word “basta” means “it’s enough”, so “per oggi basta” literally means, “it’s enough for today”

Allora, basta per oggi

Portuguese
Terminar por hoje

The verb “terminar” means “to stop” or “to finish”, so this phrase means “to stop for today”. You can conjugate “terminar” into any tense.

Termino por hoje
Terminemos por hoje


So that’s just a few idioms that you can try and slip into your conversations now :-)

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Photo by Dan Cook on Unsplash

The Happy Linguist

Hints and tips to make foreign language learning easier

Kieran Ball

Written by

Teacher and creator of 3 Minute Languages — a series of books and online courses that help you to learn a foreign language quickly and easily www.3minute.club

The Happy Linguist

Hints and tips to make foreign language learning easier

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