Posted by: janecronin | September 17, 2011

Spanish/English expressions – throwing in the towel

I always find it curious when English and Spanish expressions  are direct translations of each other.  Did they come about separately, or is one translated from the other, in which case, which one came first? 

One example is “tirar la toalla” – “to throw in the towel”, meaning to give up, especially in a contest or competition.  Its origin is boxing (and it’s amazing how many expressions come from sport and games) when the opponent admitted defeat, presumably before he got his brains knocked out, by throwing the towel in the centre of the ring.

So – I hope you never have to do it, but if you do, here’s the expression “tirar la toalla”.


  1. Steve no se rinde

  2. Muy bien Steve – me alegro. Yo tampoco ….

  3. How would you say to a Spanish person who, despite all the body language and your idea of how to say it – ¡I give up!!! just hasn´t a clue. I´d love to know as I am sure I will be saying it for years to come!

  4. Hi Sheila,

    Well, it’s “me rindo” but if you wanted to be much more dramatic then it’s “tiro la toalla” !!

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