Pillar como pillar puede.

English Translation

Catch as catch can.

Is this a Spanish idiom or just a direct translation?

It’s just a direct translation.

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Thanks, I thought as much. And yet, Chat-GPT has the following to say:

However, the literal translation may not fully convey the meaning of the phrase. The expression is used to emphasize doing something to the best of one’s ability or making do with what one has at their disposal. It’s similar to the English expressions “do what you have to do” or “make it work somehow”.

It’s a rather colloquial and informal phrase and might not be easily understood outside of context or without knowledge of local expressions.

Let’s put it into a practical context:

Imagine someone needs to fix a problem with limited resources, and they are figuring out how to go about it. Someone might say “Pillar como pillar puede” to suggest that they should do their best with what they have, even if it’s not the ideal or standard way of doing things.

In a nutshell, to someone learning Spanish, “Pillar como pillar puede” would be explained as a motivational phrase to encourage improvisation or resourcefulness.

But I’m more inclined to believe a human, native speaker than an AI :slight_smile:

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With AI you need to be careful because it sometimes tell you things that might make sense but it’s not correct at all. As a matter of fact, if you were to ask the AI again it may give a different answer.

This is basically what that expression conveys, but ‘‘Pillar como pillar puede’’ itself makes no sense to me and wouldn’t guess the meaning at best. Darlo todo is probably a better translation if you want to change it.