Mexican Phrase: “Descacharon con manos en la masa”


Informant: You know what masa is? You know that, that doe that my mom uses to make the sopes?

Interviewer: Oh yeah.

Informant: That’s called masa.

Interviewer: Oh yeah, yeah. I know masa.

Informant: So, if you are doing something mischievous, people will say to you “descacharon con manos en la masa.” “They catch you with your hands in the dough.” That means they catch you doing something.


Context– The informant is a middle-aged Mexican immigrant who grew up in Mexico City and then immigrated to Los Angeles in her teenage years. She has many family members still in Mexico City, so she learned many of these legends from those family members both while growing up and during her frequent visits and phone conversations.


Analysis– This metaphor is very similar to the American one about catching a kid with his hands in the cookie jar. Both of these metaphors mean the same thing but have different culture connections. Because chocolate chip cookies and cookie jars are popular cultural imagery of the United States, the use of such imagery would not have the same affect in Mexico. The use of masa is logical as masa is used to make a variety of Mexican dishes. Because masa is so widely use, kids sneaking tastes of it while their mother was not looking would be very common. Therefore, the use of masa in this saying is appropriate.