Understanding the Spanish Idiom: "coger por los huevos" - Meaning, Origins, and Usage

Idiom language: Spanish

While this phrase may seem vulgar or offensive at first glance, it is actually quite common in everyday conversation among native speakers. It can be used in a variety of contexts, from expressing frustration or anger to describing someone who has power over another person.

Origins and Historical Context of the Spanish Idiom “coger por los huevos”

The origins of the Spanish idiom coger por los huevos can be traced back to the medieval period. During this time, Spain was under Muslim rule and there was a significant influence of Arabic language on Spanish.

The word huevos in Spanish comes from the Arabic word “awwaz”, which means testicles. The phrase “coger por los huevos” literally translates to “to grab by the testicles”. However, its meaning has evolved over time and it is now used as an expression to convey dominance or control over someone.

In Spain’s history, there have been many instances where men were physically dominated by their conquerors. This may have led to the development of this idiom as a way for people to express their frustration with being controlled by others.

Today, this idiom is commonly used in informal conversations among friends or colleagues. It is important to note that it can be considered vulgar or offensive in certain contexts and should be used with caution.

Usage and Variations of the Spanish Idiom

The Spanish language is full of idioms that can be difficult to understand for non-native speakers. One such idiom is coger por los huevos, which literally translates to “grab by the eggs.” However, this phrase has a much deeper meaning in Spanish culture.

Variations of the Idiom

  • “Coger por las pelotas” – This variation replaces “huevos” with “pelotas,” which means balls. It has the same vulgar connotation as the original phrase.
  • “Agarrar por el cuello” – This variation uses a less vulgar expression, replacing “eggs” with “neck.” It still conveys a sense of control or domination over someone.

Usage in Context

The idiom coger por los huevos is often used to describe a situation where one person has complete control over another. For example, if an employer mistreats their employees and they are too afraid to speak up out of fear of losing their job, you could say that the employer has them “cogidos por los huevos.”

This phrase can also be used in a more lighthearted context among friends. If one friend always gets their way and makes all the decisions for the group, you could jokingly say that they have everyone else cogidos por los huevos.

It’s important to note that this idiom is considered vulgar and should not be used in formal settings or around people who may find it offensive.

Synonyms, Antonyms, and Cultural Insights for the Spanish Idiom “coger por los huevos”


– Agarrar por las pelotas

– Tomar el pelo

– Controlar a alguien

– Tener poder sobre alguien


– Dejar en paz

– Liberar de la opresión

– Dar libertad

In Spanish culture, this idiom is considered vulgar and offensive. It is not appropriate to use in formal settings or with people you do not know well. The phrase can be interpreted as having control over someone through manipulation or force. It is important to understand the cultural context before using this expression.

It should also be noted that in some Latin American countries, the phrase has a different meaning altogether and refers to grabbing someone by their testicles. This highlights the importance of understanding regional variations in language and idiomatic expressions.

Practical Exercises for the Spanish Idiom “coger por los huevos”

In order to fully grasp the meaning and usage of the Spanish idiom coger por los huevos, it is important to practice using it in various contexts. Below are some practical exercises that will help you understand how to use this idiom correctly.

Exercise 1: Conversation Practice

Find a language partner or tutor who speaks Spanish fluently and practice having conversations with them. Try incorporating the idiom coger por los huevos into your conversation naturally, based on the context of your discussion. This will help you become more comfortable using the idiom in real-life situations.

Exercise 2: Writing Practice

Write short stories or paragraphs that incorporate the idiom coger por los huevos. Focus on creating different scenarios where this expression can be used appropriately. This exercise will not only improve your writing skills but also reinforce your understanding of how to use this idiomatic expression correctly.

Note: Remember that idioms cannot always be translated literally from one language to another, so make sure you understand its meaning and usage before attempting these exercises.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using the Spanish Idiom “coger por los huevos”

1. Literal Translation: One of the most common mistakes people make when using coger por los huevos is taking its literal translation too seriously. The phrase translates to “to grab by the eggs,” which might lead one to believe that it has a sexual connotation or refers only to men. However, in reality, the idiom means something closer to “to have someone by the balls.” It can be used for both men and women and does not necessarily refer to anything sexual.

2. Regional Variations: Another mistake people make is assuming that all Spanish-speaking countries use this expression in the same way. However, like many idioms, there are regional variations in how coger por los huevos is used and understood. For example, in some Latin American countries, the phrase may be considered vulgar or offensive.

3. Context Matters: As with any idiom or expression, context matters when using coger por los huevos. It’s essential to understand where and when it’s appropriate before incorporating it into your vocabulary. Using this phrase casually with friends might be acceptable but could come across as rude or inappropriate in a professional setting.

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