Spanish expressions - Leche

Spanish idioms with the word leche

Spanish idioms with the word leche. Leche (milk) is a very common word in Spanish and, even those who have a minimal knowledge of the language are familiar with its meaning. If you have visited any Spanish-speaking country you might have asked for a café con leche.

There are many types of milk: entera (whole milk), desnatada (skimmed milk), condensada (especially for those with a sweet-tooth), evaporada (evaporated) etc. There are even typical desserts from Spanish cuisine such as leche frita (literally, fried milk). And even other types of milk like leche hidratante (body milk) but, apart from all of this, Spanish language has lots of expressions based on the word leche, and all of them have very different meanings.

We’d like to help Spanish students understand all of these expressions that contain the word leche with this guide:

Expressions with the word leche

Mala leche

Meaning: Moodiness / Bad temper

A person can have mala leche as part of their personality or he/she can estar de mala leche for a certain reason.

Examples: Luis es muy serio y tiene muy mala leche (Luis is very serious and has bad temper)

Anoche dormí muy poco y hoy estoy de mala leche. (Last night I barely slept and today I am moody).

Ser la leche

Meaning: To be extraordinary

Someone es la leche when they are very good at something, so we could say this is a positive expression. However, it can also be used with irony or as a complaint.

Examples: Esta serie de televisión me encanta, es la leche (I love this TV-series, it is great!)

Marcos es la leche. Le llamé para recordarle que era tu cumpleaños, pero finalmente se le olvidó felicitarte. (That’s terrible! I called Marcos to remind him about your birthday but he in the end forgot to wish you happy birthday).

Darse una leche

Meaning: To hit.

There are many words for “hit”: porrazo, trompazo, castaña, morrón… and also leche.

Example: El niño no paraba quieto y al final se cayó ¡Menuda leche se dio! (The kid kept moving around and in the end, he fell over. Ouch! What a blow!)

A mala leche

Meaning: With a bad intention.

Once again, leche has a negative connotation.

Example: El examen era muy difícil, las preguntas estaban hechas a mala leche. (The exam was very difficult; questions were poorly posed).

A toda leche

Meaning: Quickly.

A variant of this expression is echando leches.

Examples: Vino a visitarnos, pero se fue echando leches (He came to visit us but left very quickly)

Salí de casa a toda leche y me dejé las llaves. (I left the house so quickly that I forgot the keys).


Meaning: Interjection to express surprise or astonishment. (also in the plural form; leches).

Example: ¡Te he dicho muchas veces que no grites, leche! (I told you many times not to shout, damn it!)

De la leche

Meaning: Very, a lot.

Lastly, the word leche can be used as a quantity expression to indicate a lot/quite/very.

Example: Hacía un frío de la leche (It was quite cold)

Mi perro es la leche de inteligente. (My dog is very intelligent).

As you can see, there are lots of different expressions that contain the word leche. Why don’t you learn some of them and try to use them in a conversation? Just remember, though, that all of these idioms are informal and are used in colloquial conversations.

If you would like to learn more expressions or just put your Spanish skills into practise, you can sign up for our online classes and our language immersion trips.

(Header photo: CallyL – Pixabay)

Author Info

Adrián Lago

I am a journalist and a Spanish teacher. I am passionate about travelling and learning other languages and I always try to relay this to my students.

Leave a Reply