Mallorcan expressions and idioms

Origins and history of some Mallorcan expressions

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There is a collective consciousness in different peoples and cultures that transmits wisdom from generation to generation. Specifically, these samples of popular wisdom, characterized by their brevity, are idioms and expressions. Next, we leave you a list of expressions from Mallorcan that we explain during our guided tours.

Also, if you want to know more popular sayings, Mallorcan expressions or words, we recommend these posts from our colleagues in Mallorca Free Tour: Mallorcan expressions Part 1 and Part 2.

Mallorcan expressions - Què em som jo de la de'n Berga?

One of the Mallorcan sayings and sayings is Què em som jo de la mort de’n Berga?. Translated it would be: << What am I from the death of Don Berga? ». And it means something like “doesn’t look at me, I don’t know anything.”

Explained on our guided tour about the legends and mysteries of Palma, where we discover some of the modernist characters, legends and buildings of Palma.

This expression appeared in 1619 as a result of a murder… On May 24, 1619, judge Don Jaume Juan de Berga i Sales was killed. This judge was famous for being honest, hard and unbearable for him: before the law that the surname of a family.

He was assassinated in front of his house on May 24, 1619, and a part of the population of Palma was implicated therefore almost everyone was suspected. The entire population was exhaustively interrogated and, although some of these people had nothing to do with the fact, they felt surprised when asked. For that reason, every time they saw an authority approach them or knocked on their door for interrogation, many people said: Què em som jo de la mort de’n Berga ?, that is to say: «Don’t look at me, I do not know anything>>.

Mallorcan expressions
Mallorcan expressions: Què em som jo de la mort de'n Berga?

Mallorcan expressions - Has fet es negoci de na Peix Frit

A curious anecdote from the Old Town of Palma and more specifically from the artisan neighbourhood of the old city, highlighting the goldsmith’s area.

Literally: “You’ve done the Fried Fish business” and it means you’ve done bad business.

It comes up with an urban legend that a woman nicknamed Na Peix Frit (“the fried fish”) bought the fish at the market for 6 and sold it for 4 to the artisans of the city. People did not understand how the naif girl could earn a living, so they began to say the famous expression: Has fet es negoci de na Peix-frit, since it seems that she lost money.

Although the girl was not as ignorant as it seemed. She had a special “trick”. Before leaving his house to go and sell the fish, she smeared the base of the plates with visco, a sticky substance from the mistletoe, and when she came to the workshops, she left the dishes on the table where the artisans worked (his favourites were the goldsmiths).

By the end of the morning, she came back to the workshops to take off the plate … and when she picked it up, she took everything that had been stuck to the base on a plate, such as coins, jewellery or metal shavings. So, in the end, it was a very good business.

In Ibiza, the expression is Has fet es negoci de na Peix Frit, que el venia per quatre i el  comprava per sis, that is to say: “You have done the business of Fried Fish, which sold it for four and bought it for six”.

Mallorcan expressions
Mallorcan expressions - Has fet es negoci de na Peix Frit

Mallorcan expressions - Quaranta putes sagrades

Another of the Mallorcan saying and expression, in this case, used to blaspheme or also to indicate a great surprise. The entire phrase is Quaranta putes consagrades a Déu (“forty whores consecrated to God”).

For its origin, we must go back to 1229, the Christian conquest of Madina Mayurqa by King Jaume I. The Christian army was made up of about 15,000 men (peons, knights and priests), but no women.

The ecclesiastical authorities were concerned about the sexual needs of men and considering that there were only Muslim women on the island; together with the king, they looked for a solution: to bring the “professionals”, so the appetite of the men was calmed and it was avoided that they attacked the women of the island, practised the “vice” alone or sodomy.

Shortly after, forty women arrived from the crown of Aragon and a great religious ceremony was organized to thank God and bless the new forty settlers on the island.

Mallorcan expressions
Mallorcan expressions - Quaranta putes sagrades

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