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Dios Mios

Does the Spanish phrase “Ay Dios Mio” actually translate closer to the plural meaning of “Gods”?  It sounds like it is literally saying “Oh My Gods”.  

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This phrase was made popular for English speakers partially by comedian Fred Armisen. He had a fake "Univision" show on Saturday Night Live that involved his catchphrase, Ay Dios Mio.

Arimsen is half Venezuelan on his mother's side, and speaks Spanish.

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The right way to translate the phrase “Ay Dios mio”, is “Oh my God” because in Spanish, the singular form of the word “God” is "Dios". In the case of the phrase "Oh My Gods", the actual translation would be "Ay dioses míos" because the plural form of the word “God” in Spanish is “dioses”, which in English would be "Gods".

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"Ay Dios Mio" does, as previously stated, invoke "God" and should not be misunderstood simply because the word ends in an s. El Dios means God and is the masculine form -as indicated by "el." The plural is los dioses. Another singular Spanish word ending in the letter s is el paraguas, meaning an umbrella. The plural is los paraguas.  

Spanish words take on masculine and feminine forms, even for inanimate objects; unlike English, were a simple "the" would be the definite article and "a" or "an" the indefinite article. "It" would be the requisite pronoun or adjective (determiner) to describe the object. In Spanish, the equivalent pronoun for the word, it, being ello or ella, is most often omitted completely, not being required. A sentence such as "Donde esta la biblia?" meaning, "Where is the bible?" may be answered by a simple, "Esta aqui," meaning,"It is here." There is no word to represent the it.

Some feminine examples of Spanish words, keeping with the religious theme, are la iglesia meaning church and la fe, faith whereas masculine forms include el Papa being the Pope and el Cielo for heaven.     

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"Dios mio" translates into "my God". The noun "dios" is singular, its plural being "dioses"; "mio" is also singular.

If you switch the word order, this phrase becomes "mi Dios" - which is also a very common exclamation, in fact I use either.

If you want to translate, for instance, the phrase "the Greek gods", you would then use the plural - "los dioses griegos". :)

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This is a fairly interesting question.  The accepted translation of the term comes out to be "Oh, My God."  It is used in a moment of exclamation, something where one is challenged with the particulars of a moment or an instant. However, I think that in being able to articulate a concept of "Dios," there might be an appeal to something larger than oneself.  It is a phrase used in an instant where an individual calls out to the configuration of the divine.  The forms of saints, messengers, diviners, as well as any other extrapolation that represents "Dios." 

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marcellus1 | Student

Ay Dios Mio means Oh my God! The word Dios is singular, its plural is dioses, mío is also singular, its plural is míos, so a plural form of the sentence would be Ay mis dioses, or Ay dioses míos, meaning Oh my gods! but nobody says it in plural, the religion is monotheistic, so the sentence is said in singular form.

atyourservice | Student

The word dios is singular. So oh my god is right