16 Spanish Phrases and Idioms about Moving, Standing and Resting

How do you say “to crawl on all fours” in Spanish? In this article I have collected 16 frequent phrases and Idioms in Spanish that have to do with body positions, or with ways of resting, moving, running, crawling, etc. I hope you find it useful, and if you have any doubt, you know, just leave a comment 🙂

  1. De pie. Standing. Estaba tan borracho que apenas podía ponerse de pie, he was so drunk he could barely stand up.
  2. A pie. On foot. Ella tuvo que hacer el camino hasta su casa en Alameda a pie, she had to make her way to her home at Alameda on foot.
  3. En cuclillas / acuclillado/a. Crouching, crouched down. Lo único que pude hacer es ponerme en cuclillas (acuclillarme), cubrirme la cabeza y esperar, all I could do is crouch down, cover my head and wait.
  4. De jarras / en jarras. Hands on hips, arms akimbo. Su madre estaba esperándole en la puerta con los brazos en jarras, his mother was waiting for him at the door with her arms akimbo.
  5. Por pies / por piernas. Running, quickly moving away. Also, salir por pies (colloquially: to take to one’s heels, running away). Cuando llegó la policía, el ladrón tuvo que salir por pies, when police arrived, the thief had to take to his heels.
  6. A cuatro patas/pies / a gatas. Crawling, on all fours. El túnel era tan bajo y estrecho que tuve que pasar a gatas, the tunnel was so low and narrow that I had to pass on all fours.

  7. Boca arriba / boca abajo. Face up / face down. Prefiero dormir boca abajo, pero desde el accidente tengo que dormir boca arriba, I prefer to sleep face down, but since the accident I have to sleep face up.
  8. De espaldas (a). With one’s back turned (to). No vi el avión porque estaba de espadas a la ventana, I did not see the plane, because I had my back turned to the window.
  9. De puntillas. On one’s tiptoes. ¿Por qué caminas de puntillas?, why are you walking on your tiptoes?
  10. De rodillas, arrodillado/a. Kneeling, on one’s knees. Francisco cayó de rodillas sobre el césped, Francisco dropped to his knees on the lawn.
  11. A la pata coja. Hopping. “Mira, Papá”, dijo Suzy, entrando en la habitación a la pata coja, “look, Dad”, Suzy said, as she entered the room hopping.
  12. Dormir a pierna suelta / como un tronco. To sleep quietly / like a log. Aquella noche dormí como un tronco, I slept like a log that night.
  13. No pegar ojo. Not to get a wink of sleep. Anoche no pegué ojo. I didn’t get a wink last night.
  14. De lado. On one’s side / sideways. Los cangrejos se mueven mucho más rápido cuando andan de lado. Crabs move much more quickly when walking sideways.
  15. A hombros. On one’s shoulders. Bob llevaba a su hija a hombros. Bob Carried his Daughter on his shoulders.
  16. Llevar a caballito. To give a piggyback ride. Bobby llevó a su hermana pequeña a caballito. Bobby gave his little sister a piggyback ride.


  1. learner
    May 8, 2009

    good, I like it.
    can you post how to say
    “he is standing” “he is sitting”

  2. Edu
    May 12, 2009

    Of course:

    “He is standing” = “Él está de pie” / “Él está en pie” (mainly the first one).
    “He is sitting” = “Él está sentado”.
    “She is sitting” = “Ella está sentada”.
    “They are sitting” = “Ellos están sentados”.

    Thanks for your comment! Cheers!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top