Understanding the Spanish Idiom: "mandar a paseo" - Meaning, Origins, and Usage

Idiom language: Spanish
Etymology: Literally, “to order [someone] [to go and take] a walk”.

So buckle up and get ready to take a stroll through one of Spain’s most colorful idioms!

Origins and Historical Context of the Spanish Idiom “mandar a paseo”

The Spanish language is known for its colorful idioms, which often have interesting origins and historical contexts. One such idiom is mandar a paseo, which translates to “send someone for a walk”.

The Origins of the Idiom

The exact origin of this idiom is unclear, but it is believed to have originated in Spain during the early 20th century. At that time, going for a walk was seen as a leisurely activity that people did to relax and clear their minds.

Over time, the phrase evolved to take on a more negative connotation. It came to be used as a way of telling someone to go away or leave you alone when you were annoyed with them.

The Historical Context

In addition to its linguistic evolution, the idiom also has an interesting historical context. During Franco’s dictatorship in Spain (1939-1975), public demonstrations were banned and political dissidents were often arrested or exiled.

As a result, going for a walk became one of the few ways that people could express themselves freely without fear of retribution. The act of sending someone for a walk thus took on added significance as it was seen as both an act of defiance against authority and an expression of personal freedom.

Today, while the idiom may not carry quite as much weight as it did during Franco’s regime, it remains popular in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries as a way of telling someone to leave you alone or stop bothering you.

Usage and Variations of the Spanish Idiom “mandar a paseo”

When it comes to expressing frustration or telling someone off in Spanish, one common phrase that you may come across is mandar a paseo. While this idiom may have a literal translation of “send for a walk”, its actual meaning is closer to “to tell someone to go away” or “to dismiss someone”.

Variations of the Idiom

While the basic meaning of the idiom remains the same, there are variations that can be used depending on the context. For example, instead of saying mandar a paseo, some people may say “mandar al carajo” which has a more vulgar connotation. Another variation is “mandar por un tubo” which translates to something like “send through a tube” and implies that what’s being dismissed isn’t even worth walking away from.

Usage in Different Situations

Situation Example Usage
Frustration with Someone’s Behavior “Estoy harta de tus mentiras, ¡vete al carajo!” (I’m sick of your lies, go away!)
Dismissing an Idea or Suggestion “Eso que dices no tiene sentido, mándalo por un tubo.” (What you’re saying doesn’t make sense, send it through a tube.)
Telling Someone Off Politely “Lo siento, pero no estoy interesado. Gracias de todas formas.” (I’m sorry, but I’m not interested. Thanks anyway.)

Synonyms, Antonyms, and Cultural Insights for the Spanish Idiom “mandar a paseo”

One synonym for mandar a paseo is “enviar al diablo,” which literally translates to “send to the devil.” This phrase conveys a similar sentiment of frustration or annoyance with someone’s behavior or actions. Another possible synonym is “despachar,” which means to dismiss or send away quickly.

On the other hand, an antonym for mandar a paseo might be something like “acoger con los brazos abiertos,” which means to welcome with open arms. This phrase suggests a warm reception rather than rejection or dismissal.

In terms of cultural insights, it’s worth noting that many Spanish idioms involve references to walking or movement. For example, another common expression is dar la vuelta al mundo, which means to travel around the world. This emphasis on physical motion may reflect a broader cultural value placed on action and movement over stillness or passivity.

Practical Exercises for the Spanish Idiom “mandar a paseo”

Exercise 1: Role-play

Get together with a friend and role-play a conversation where one person is frustrated with another and wants them to leave. Use the phrase mandar a paseo in your dialogue. Try different scenarios such as at work, in a relationship, or with family members.


Person A: ¡Estoy harto de tus mentiras! ¡Mándame a paseo!

Person B: ¿Qué quieres decir con eso?

Person A: Que quiero que te vayas y no vuelvas nunca más.

Exercise 2: Writing exercise

Write an email or letter using the idiom mandar a paseo. Imagine that you are writing to someone who has been causing problems for you and explain why you want them to leave. Be sure to use proper grammar and punctuation.


Dear [Name],

I have had enough of your constant negativity and criticism towards me. I am tired of feeling belittled by your words and actions. Therefore, I am asking you to please leave me alone from now on. You can consider yourself mandado/a/aos/as a paseo.


[Your Name]

Exercise 3: Listening exercise

Listen to Spanish songs or watch movies/TV shows that use the phrase mandar a paseo. Pay attention to how it is used in context and try to understand its meaning based on the situation presented.

By practicing these exercises, you will become more confident in using the Spanish idiom mandar a paseo correctly. Keep in mind that this expression is used to express frustration or anger towards someone, so use it wisely and appropriately.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using the Spanish Idiom “mandar a paseo”

When speaking Spanish, it’s important to understand the nuances of idiomatic expressions. One such expression is mandar a paseo, which translates literally to “send for a walk.” However, this phrase actually means something closer to “send someone away” or “tell someone to leave.”

While using this idiom can add color and personality to your language, there are some common mistakes that should be avoided. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t use it in formal situations: While “mandar a paseo” can be playful and informal, it’s not appropriate for professional or serious contexts.
  • Avoid using it with authority figures: Telling your boss or teacher to go take a walk might not end well!
  • Be careful with tone: Depending on how you say it, “mandar a paseo” could come across as rude or dismissive.
  • Understand regional variations: Like many idioms, the meaning and usage of “mandar a paseo” may vary depending on where you are in the Spanish-speaking world.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can confidently incorporate this fun and useful expression into your Spanish conversations without making any embarrassing mistakes.

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