Ex. “María siempre consigue lo que quiere. Es de las que le echan morro.”
Translation: “María always gets what she wants. She’s a real go-getter.”
What does it mean?
According to the RAE (Real Academia Española) morro is a colloquial term meaning descaro and desfachatez, both meaning to be “cheeky” or to “have nerve or gall.”
In Spanish, it’s very common to say “tienes mucho morro”, meaning, “You’ve got some nerve!” which has a negative connotation. However, this expression can also be a good thing in Spanish, as it’s common to say: “Hay que echarle morro”, meaning, you just gotta have balls/nerve or be cheeky to get something done.
Morro is used with two verbs — tener (to have) and echar (to give/put). When someone has nerve or is cheeky, you say, “tiene morro.” If you should use your nerve or cheekiness to get something you want, you say “échale morro,” meaning something like, “be bold” or “go get it without fear.”
Other variants of morro (if you can’t pronounce the double “r”) include cara or jeta. You can use all three versions interchangeably, although we find morro to be the best.
What’s the origin of this expression?
Morro literally means snout; the mouth of an animal. Although this a variant of the original expression, “tener cara”, which literally translates into English as: “to have face.”
Another example for the road:
Ex. “A Juan no para de escaquearse en el trabajo. ¡Tiene demasiado morro!”
Translation: “Juan slacks off at work all the time. He’s got real nerve!”