Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Spanish a La Calle (Parte 1)

The day I arrived in Spain, I came into contact with colloquial Spanish; that's to say, the Spanish they don't teach you in high school.  Here are just some of those expressions/slang that I like or that I found comical.

Cool expressions/words
  • Rompecabezas: Puzzles, from the Spanish words romper (to break) and cabeza (head).  I did learn this word in high school and it’s probably one of my favorite Spanish words.
  • Comer la cabeza: Loosely translates “to eat your head.”  It’s means "to persuade someone."  
  • Ser mi media naranja: Translates to “to be my half orange.”   It’s used to say “he/she is my better half.”  
  • La peña: Your group of friends.  However your best friend(s) is called un/a colega.
  • Ñoño: Silly, used in a teasing way, as in “no seas ñoño” (don’t by silly).  By far my favorite Spanish word because it has double  ñ’s!. 
  • Pijo: A snob. 
  • Chulo: cocky, arrogant
  • Cuesta la cuesta: Translates to "costs the hill."  It's just something you say when you're walking/climbing up a steep hill.
  • Pip-pip (prounced peep-peep): it’s the sound they make for horns.  I find it funny because we say “beep-beep” and the only thing separating a “p” sound from a "b” sound is that the vocal cords vibrate when making a “b” sound (sorry, the linguistics nerd is coming out in me…)
  • Hacer pipi: As shown above, the Spanish “i” is pronounced like the English “ee.”  Knowing that, say the Spanish word pipi.  Hacer pipi means “to go pee” (literally “to make pee”).  
  • ¡De puta madre!: How young people say “awesome”
  • ¡Hombre!: Means “man” but it’s used to express surprise or “hey look,…….”  For example, you haven’t seen your best friend from high school years and then one day you pass him on the street.  “¡Hombre!, ¿cuánto tiempo ha pasado en no verlo?” (Hombre, how long has it been since I’ve seen you?)  Or let’s say that you’re discussing something with a friend and they say something that you think is incorrect or don’t agree with: “Hombre, no creo que sea esa” (hombre, I don’t think that’s it). Although it literally means “man” it’s used between man-women and women-women in addition to man-man.  You will hear this word all the time.
  • Vale: Spanish version of "ok."  You will use this all the time.

Caution, the following expression are either vulgar or contain content of a sexual nature (mind you, I did learn some of these words in my Spanish language class over here...)  I figured that some of you would get a kick out of learning some of these words, so I'll put them here and you do with them what you want to.  If you are offended by such material, please close your web browser and wait for my next post.

  • Hacer un pis: Literally “to make a piss), but of course it means “to take a piss.”  I laughed so hard the first time Arantza said this (“¿¡Qué has dicho Arantza!?”)
  • Tener culo quadrado: Translates to "to have a square ass."  It's used to describe the feeling when you've been in a chair too long.  Again, gracias a Arantza for that one.
  • Tener una aventura: Transaltes to “to have an adventure.”  It’s used to describe cheating on your spouse, but in the sense that it was only a one-night stand.  However, if you have a lover, then the expression would be tener un/una amante (to have a lover).
  • Amigo con derecho a roce: Loosely translates to “a friend with the right to touch.” It means friends with benefits.
  • Pechuga: Normally it's used to describe the breast of an animal, like pechuga del pollo (chicken breast).  However, it's also used to describe a woman's large rack.
  • Echar un polvo: Loosely translates to “to expel dust.”  In Spain, it’s used to say that you’ve had sex with someone, though I've found that the verb follar is much more common. 
  • Joder: Spain’s f-word.  The word is very interesting to me because it can be used in the infinite form to express surprise/anger/disbelief/astonishment and it can also be used regularly in its verb form.  For example, you’re climbing up a steep mountain and you still have a lot to climb: joder.  You’re describing to a Spaniard that you can’t walk around certain parts of Toledo wearing a certain color because of gangs and the Spaniard responds: joder.  You find out that you’re wife is “echando un polvo” with the milkman: ¡JODER!  Of course, only use this around people you are very close with.
Of course, I will update this list when I come into contact with some more cool expressions and sayings, probably towards the end of my trip (a day I don't want to think about right now).


  1. Hey Sean, this is Rachel in Argentina. Just wanted to comment on some of my favorite words I've learned here:

    amigovio - combination of the words "amigo" and "novio" ...literally means, "more than friends, less than boyfriend/girlfriend", which is, as you said earlier, "friends with benefits"
    boludo - this word is VERY porteño. it has a bunch of different meanings. in a friendly term, it means "dude", like some people in english say, "dude! whats up?" that would be, "che! boludo!" in Argentina. In slightly less friendly terms, it translates to "asshole" or "jackass" or "douchebag"
    putamadre - this is their equivalent of "motherf*cker" or some cases, when you are angry about something and just want to scream "F*CK!" you would say this too. Hope you're having fun in Spain! Can't wait to hear all about it once we get back to the US!!!

  2. hahaha i loooove this! now another list of vocab words i have to study before i leave :p

  3. Rachel, I love your list! I think our equivalent for coludo is cabrón, a very Spanish word. But I see what they did there with amigovio and I LOVE IT!