Tag Archives: laziness

Mexican Slang – El Huevon Trabaja Doble

Do you have, umm… like a saying, or a riddle, from when you were growing up?


“One of the popular ones there that came, comes to mind right now is, uhh… Whenever you use, somebody entrances you to do something, uhh… umm… almost of any kind, any kind of task, and uhh… you just, uhh, careful, you’re careless, you just want to finish something like right away, you just say, uhh, you just do it, you know, really fast, kinda shoddy, so… they send you back to do that kind of thing again, they say, ‘El huevon trabaja doble.’


Which is, uhh, pretty much like, lazy people have to do double the amount of work, because they don’t do it carefully in the first place.


So it’s an old saying that everybody knows this, it was applied so frequently when I was growing up, and you know, so, it was in a way it was a message for you to do things right the first time.”


So it’s kind of like the English saying ‘measure twice, cut once’?


“There you go! Very, very similar to that.”


Analysis: This is a very straightforward proverb relating to laziness. It essentially proclaims that laziness doesn’t pay dividends, as the lazy man will inevitably need to do more work anyway to make up for being lazy. Proverbs like this, and their equivalents in English, are very common in more rural areas like that which the informant hails from, and it seemed very well-known to the informant years later, implying its frequent use. It is also worth noting that the Spanish word ‘Huevon’ is a very derogatory term for someone who is so lazy that they are incapable of holding their testes above the ground.

Los Ociosos Trabajan Doble

This is a Spanish proverb my informant’s Puerto Rican mother would say to him. Translated it means “the lazy work twice as hard” meaning that lazy people, to avoid having to exert themselves, will end up putting more effort into finding a shortcut than it would have taken to just do the work in the first place.

The example my informant gave was that he would be in bed and want to turn off the light. Instead of getting up and taking a few seconds to walk across the room, he would throw his shoes and whatever else was at hand at the light switch in an effort to flip it. Before long, it became apparent that the far simpler solution would have been to gather the resolve to momentarily get out of bed. Situations like this would prompt my informant’s mother to recite the proverb.

A clever and simply stated way to chide lazy people that actually offers a practical reason to stop procrastinating and do a task (for the purpose of exerting less effort in the long run). Normally I’d expect a moral impetus behind a proverb like this, but that doesn’t seem to be the thought process.