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The Spanish expression: 'Te vas a poner las botas'





Mary and Paul have been taking classes in the Spanish language and they're very excited about putting their knowledge into practise when they visit Spain together. They've decided not to speak English at all which is why they've chosen a Galician city in the north-west of Spain instead of the Costa del Sol where everyone speaks English.

Galicia is well known for its fabulous seafood. They ask for 'Una mariscada para dos' (Seafood for two) and are served


Lord Sugar


a seafood platter, which includes a variety of seafood (see video below) centollo, langosta, vieiras, cigalas, navajas, langostinos y mejillones (crab, lobster, scallops, crawfish, razor clams, king prawns and mussels), and a bottle of Ribeiro, a Galician white wine.


On the table next to them the waiter serves a young man with a wonderful selection of dishes as his friend joins him in conversation. Mary and Paul listen discretely trying to understand as the young man shakes his finger at his friend saying, 'no, no, no'.

Later in their hotel they recalled the conversation. Mary understood almost everything. However, although she could clearly hear, 'Te vas a poner las botas' – which Mary translated as 'You're going to put on the boots' – she couldn't make sense of it. Paul's only explanation was that the poor chap was about to loose his job as in, 'get the boot'.


See this Galician seafood...


The Spanish use a lot of idioms, expressions and proverbs in their conversations so it's easy to get lost if you are unfamiliar with them, the literal translation not being much help! In this case the idiom, 'Te vas a poner las botas' means to have more than enough food to satisfy yourself.

Where does 'Ponerse las botas' come from?

It is said that good footwear was a hallmark of high social rank. Boots have always been a symbol of wealth and power. Not only were boots more expensive, they were made for riding horses – an unmistakable sign of wealth.

The poor used to wear sandals or shoes, and if someone became wealthy the first thing they did was to 'get the boots'. That’s how this expression became synonymous with obtaining some benefit.

Fresh seafood

'Ponerse las botas'
can also apply to having more than enough of something to satisfy oneself – 'to fill your boots' and it can be used to refer to someone who is receiving more profit than expected, as in 'to strike it rich'.

Speaking in a foreign language is not as difficult as it first appears. You don’t need to be perfect, just make yourself understood. Keep in mind that native speakers will appreciate you trying and will help you as much as they can.




Nowadays we have the Internet everywhere to help us translate but sadly online translation services, like Google's, don't explain idioms. Floating Penguin, native translators at your service.






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