What do we mean if we use the idiom Poner el dedo en la llaga?

Poner el dedo en la llaga is quite an easy Spanish idiomatic expression to understand.

Unlike many others, if we translate it word by word its meaning becomes clear.

Literally it means “to put the finger on the wound”.

You can imagine that if you have a wound and someone touches it, it will hurt a lot!

So we could translate this idiom as “to touch a raw nerve” or “to be very straightforward about a sensitive topic”.

Also, depending on the context, it might refer to pointing out specific weaknesses.

The English equivalent is “to rub salt into the wound” or “rub something in”.

For example, it is the perfect idiom to use if you have just lost your job and someone asks you how is it going, or if you broke up with your partner and your friend keeps talking about that.

Have a look at some examples!

Spanish English
No pongas el dedo en la llaga, no quiero hablar de eso. Don’t rub salt into the wound, I don’t want to talk about that.
No le preguntes sobre su ruptura con su novio, eso si es poner el dedo en la llaga Don’t ask her about her breakup with her boyfriend, now that’s really rubbing salt into the wound.
No hace falta meter el dedo en la llaga.
There is no need to rub it in.


So when one of your friends asks indiscreet questions about something, you know what idiom you can use!

Think about other situations where you can use it and make some examples!

If you want to learn other Spanish idioms, follow this link.

Or have a look at our Pinterest board!