Posted by: janecronin | June 19, 2011

Spanish language sayings – The land of the blind

“En el país de los ciegos, el tuerto es el rey”.  I find this saying very appealing as it describes the truth rather too often about our own incompetence and that of people around us.  The saying contains a super word “tuerto” which means “one-eyed”.  Don’t you think it’s great that the Spanish have a special word to describe someone who is one-eyed?  Does this reflect a violent history I wonder? 

It’s rather like the word “manco” – one-handed or one-armed.  Cervantes was nick-named “el manco” because he lost a hand in the Battle of Lepante, a fact which rather reinforces my question about Spanish history.

Sorry – back to the point.  The saying we are looking at is   “En el país de los ciegos, el tuerto es el rey” “In the country of the blind, the one-eyed person is king”.   I find this is applicable in many situations, for example when trying to work out what’s wrong with your computer.  Nobody has a clue, but the one person who knows a little bit more than the rest, is hailed as an expert.  That’s what the saying actually means!


  1. Yes – it’s one of my very favourite sayings and, as you say, absolutely spot on re the www, SEO and most things with a plug on!

    To take up your theory re the bellicose history of Spain, in Spanish they do not kill two birds with one stone but rather …………….. (over to you Jane)

    Another one I like and will let you highlight is the Spanish equivalent of “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”

    Keep them coming.

  2. Hi Steve, As you now realize, for me “things with a plug on” are sinks, bidets and baths. You can bring a girl into the 21st century but you can’t make her think in the 21st century.

    “Dos pájaros con un tiro” – two bird with one gun shot. I suppose it reflects a big hunting tradition, still alive and well all over Spain.

    I’ll have a think about “one man’s meat”. Being a non-meat-eater I would probably prefer “one man’s vegetarian quiche …”

  3. As another vegetarian we are in agreement but, “Lo que cura a …..”

    (BTW this blog does not advise the person who left the comment that the moderator had left a response. Apologies for the delayI

  4. No – sorry, don’t know it. I can make it up if you like! “Lo que cura al uno mata al otro” …

  5. “Lo que cura a una persona, mata a otra” …as far as I remember.

    BTW, your notifications are now working so I can plague you faster!

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