There are many Catalan expressions and idioms that may be hard for someone who did not grow up speaking Catalan to understand. Every language and culture has its own special sayings used frequently in conversation that do not have direct translations. For example, in the United States, if you tell someone to break a leg, an outsider might think you are wishing them harm when really you are wishing them luck. So you can speak like a Catalonia local, I am here to spill the beans so you learn these 9 Catalan expressions that are a piece of cake.

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9 Catalan phrases and idioms to use in Barcelona

There are different Catalan sayings and slang used in Barcelona that will help you fit in with the locals. Follow along to see how these 9 Catalan expressions translate and what they all mean. 

"Qui no s’arrisca, no pisca"

Qui no s’arrisca, no pisca in Catalan translates to no guts, no glory in English. This phrase refers to when you need to be brave and have confidence to reap the rewards and get the recognition. The literal meaning in English is no risk, no reward

"Si fa no fa"

A phrase that translates across Catalan and English is si fa no fa, which means more or less in English. In both languages, this saying is very common and is used when something is roughly or approximately what it should be. 

"S’ha acabat el bròquil"

The literal translation of s’ha acabat el bròquil is there is no broccoli left. But this Catalan expression actually means that the game is up, signifying an end to bad behaviour or deception. This phrase also exists in the US, but in the form of the jig is up

"He begut oli"

The Catalan expression he begut oli translates to I have drunk oil, but it really means that I have messed up or I did something I should not have done - like drink oil. 

"Fer-ne cinc cèntims"

If someone is telling you a story, but you don't have a lot of time, you can say fer-ne cinc cèntims, which literally means make it five cents. But the real meaning is to keep it short

"Déu n’hi do"

A popular short phrase in Catalan is déu n’hi do. Although it does not directly translate to English, its literal meaning is something similar to God forbid! But it's used for those moments when an English speaker would say wow - to express that something is incredible or impressive. 

"Bufar i fer ampolles"

Just like the English saying of a piece of cake, bufar i fer ampolles also means that something was easy and did not require a lot of effort in English. The literal translation in Catalan is blow and make bottles

"Bon vent i barca nova"

Bon vent i barca nova literally translates to good wind and a new boat, but when Catalans say it, what they mean is good riddance. It signifies getting on a boat and blowing away in the wind to never see them again. 

"Salut i força al canut!"

To send someone off with a toast, the Catalan expression salut i força al canut is used in celebration when you want to wish someone well. It directly translates in English to health and strength to your balls, but is used when you want the best for someone.