Verle la cara a alguien

Taken literally, verle la cara a alguien translates “to see someone’s face”, but the meaning it carries is quite different. This is, in fact, a fairly common but not intuitive expression which means “to take someone for a fool” or “to rip someone of”. It’s used a lot in Mexican Spanish but, from my research, appears to be widely understood. It’s often said as verle la cara de idiota, tonto, pendejo, etc. a alguien. Here are a few examples:

  • Todos me ven la cara de idiota. = “Everyone thinks I’m an idiot.”
  • Nos han estado viendo la cara de idiotas a todos…ahora nos toca a nosotros vérselas a ellos. = “They’ve been taking all of us for fools… now it’s our turn to take them as fools.”
  • Yo sé que tú estabas en combinación con ella para verme la cara de idiota. = “I know that you were plotting with her to pull one over on me.”

You can be creative and even sarcastic with this expression, as the following example demonstrates…

  • ¿De qué me viste la cara? ¿Tengo la cara de ventanilla o qué? = “What do I look like? An information booth or what?”

And, of course, the phrase stands alone without the “de + something”:

  • Que no te vea la cara. = “Ensure that they don’t rip you off / pull one over on you.”
  • No le quiero ver la cara a nadie. = “I don’t want to rip off / cheat anyone.”

An insinuation in this expression is that when someone is deceived, fooled or ripped off, it’s because of their own innocence or naivety. It’s never a compliment when someone te ve la cara. Use the phrase sparingly, or to warn someone that alguien le quiere ver la cara

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