Spanish Idioms and Slang

Tener mala pata


= Tener mala suerte
= to be unlucky, to have bad luck.


Tener = to have
Mala = bad
Pata = an animal’s foot/paw

Literally it means to have a bad foot!
If we think about it, sometimes a rabbit’s foot is used as an amulet or good luck charm (often hung around the neck).
So we could say that having a bad foot would be considered Unlucky.

!Qué mala pata! = ¡Que mala suerte!
What bad luck!


  • ¡Tengo mala pata, pensé que hoy no llovería!
    I’m so unlucky. I thought it wouldn’t rain today!
  • Esta mañana tuve mala pata porque perdí el bus.
    This morning I was unlucky because I missed the bus.
  • Tengo mala pata con ese profesor porque siempre pide la tarea cuando no la he hecho.
    I’m unlucky with that teacher because he always asks for my homework when I haven’t done it.

See some more examples of Tener Mala Pata with one of our cartoons.

Cuéntamos una experiencia de cuando tuviste mala pata.

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