De noche todos los gatos son pardos / At night, all cats are black
Before we explain this expression we would like you to imagine that you have two cats at home, one white and the other ginger. Now, in the shadows we see that one of them has knocked over your favorite vase from a bookshelf, but…how do you know which cat did it since it was dark? We don't know because At night, all cats are black.
This saying is very, very old. It was first used to describe those people that used the darkness of the night to sell things of very low or bad quality. It was also used to describe those that were up to no good and used the night to maintain their anonymity. But if cats are black(negro) or gray (gris), why do the Spanish use the word pardo?
Pardo is the word used to describe a brownish-red color. Of course, this color in the dark can easily be considered black. What many people may not know is that this word can also be used to describe a cloudy day and, by extension, any animal with a dark coat.
Now, if we keep in mind this definition, was can say that this word refers to anything that lacks clarity, including people that don't have clear intentions. If you own a cat, you already know this—how many times does it seem cat is going to do something and then, at the last moment, does something completely different? Keep this saying in mind when you meet someone for the first time, during the day we are all exposed and transparent but…de noche, todos los gatos son pardos.
Other popular Spanish Sayings
- A la fuerza ahorcan
- De noche todos los gatos son pardos
- Lo bueno, si es breve, dos veces bueno
- "Ya que la casa se quema, calentémonos en ella"
- "The house of the soap-maker is a slippery place"
- "Santo era Pedro y negó a su maestro"
- "Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada"
- "En Carnaval todo pasa, hasta los novios a las casas"