Death in popular sayings

By Antonio De Jesús Aguado

Frequently you hear death evoked in popular sayings, both positive and negative, that seem as old as death itself.

Here are some of the sayings that you may hear someday.

“Era más grande el muerto.(The corpse was bigger.) This humorous saying is used to criticize those who wear clothes bigger than their size.

A mí la muerte me pela los dientes.” (Death shows me her teeth.) Whoever uses this phrase is trying to say that he or she is not afraid of dying and certainly will live for many years.

“El muerto al pozo y el vivo al gozo.” (The dead to the well and the living to enjoyment.) This phrase means that when a beloved one has died you should continue enjoying life.

“De aqui a cien años, todos seremos pelones.” (In 100 years we all will be bald.) This means that nobody will live more than 100 years, so we all will be dead. In Mexico, death is referred to as

“La Pelona” (the Bald One). “Donde lloran, alli está el muerto.” (Where people cry, there is a funeral.) This saying is used mostly in relation to economic matters: those who always complain about being poor are actually the wealthiest.

“Cayendo el muerto y soltando el llanto.” This phrase is used in the context of purchasing products or services. It means that you have to get what you bought at the very moment you pay for it.

“El muerto y el arrimado a los tres días apestan.” (The dead and the unwelcome guest stink after the third day). This is a very aggressive phrase, used to gossip about people who are invited to visit but won’t leave, and after a few days the host is uncomfortable having them there.

“Todos nacen llorando y nadie muere riendo.” (Everybody is born crying and nobody dies smiling.)

The meaning of this one is clear.


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