Cow Sinner

Nationality: Mexican/American

Primary Language: English

Other Language(s): Spanish

Age: 40

Residence: Los Angeles


“Tanto peca el que mata la vaca como el que le agarra la pata.”


“He who kills the cow sins as much as he who grabs its leg.”


This informant is Mexican/American – his father is from Mexico, and his mother is from the United States. He was born in Mexico, grew up in Los Angeles, stayed in Los Angeles, and visits Mexico for family visits. He was told this proverb by mentors growing up.


This proverb means that if someone participated in a crime or something similar, it doesn’t matter to what extent, because he or she is also guilty. It’s a message about guilt and taking accountability for your actions, and it can be used as a warning or disciplinary phrase. Although the specific content refers to a small group of people killing a cow, when taken non-literally, the proverb also serves as a metaphor for group action, however large or small the undertaking. For example, this proverb can be applied to larger societal issues related to politics, religions, etc. Regardless of their specific role in the matter, anyone who takes part in something should be held responsible for the consequences.