no hay moros en la costa

No hay moros en la costa.

No hay moros en la costa.

No hay moros en la costa. [expression] The coast is clear.

This expression made me chuckle. We were watching the film Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows (starring the lovely Jude Law and Robert Downey Junior) the other day. The scene takes place on a train. Sherlock, half-naked after removing his lady-disguise, finds himself in the same first class carriage as a shocked-looking elderly couple. The eccentric detective checks the corridor to make sure none of Moriarty’s “baddies” are lurking around, and sends the couple packing, saying, “I think you’ll find second class more comfortable. The coast is clear.” The subtitler translated it as “Creo que en segunda clase se encontrarán más cómodos. No hay moros en la costa.

Obviously the literal meaning, “there are no moors on the coast“, comes from the historical relationship between the Spanish and their southerly neighbours. I vaguely remember that the French have a similar expression regarding the arrival of les anglais, albeit used in an entirely different context. (Google it, language lovers! 😉 ) Anyway, this was a new one on me. My hubby (or “the expert”, as he likes to be known) says it’s quite a common expression, so I’ll be on the look-out for this one from now on.


6 thoughts on “no hay moros en la costa

  1. redesycalles

    Qué interesante tu blog. Hay un trabajo excelente que le puede dar densidad histórica a la expresión “no hay moros en la costa”: “The Return of the Moor: Spanish Responses to Contemporary Moroccan Immigration” (D. Flesler, 2008).

    1. My Little Spanish Notebook Post author

      Hi Linda! Thanks for stopping by. Yum, I love “moros y cristianos”!! Mind you, the novelty wore off when the hubby and I had it almost every day for three weeks when we were travelling in Cuba ten years ago!


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