Editions:  Austria · Denmark · France · Germany · Italy · Norway · Spain · Sweden · Switzerland

Ten colourful Catalan phrases you should learn right now

Share this article

Ten colourful Catalan phrases you should learn right now
Castellers build a human tower in front of Barcelona's Sagrada Familia. Photo: Quique Garcia / AFP
09:31 CEST+02:00
To celebrate La Diada, Catalonia's National Day on September 11th, The Local takes a look at ten of the most colourful colloquialisms from Spain's northeastern region.

1. DÉU N'HI DO! - There's no literal meaning, but this common exclamation means Wow! or Amazing! - in a good OR a bad sense.

Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP

2. FOTEM UN CAFÉ? Literal meaning: Let's 'make love' to a coffee. Real meaning: Let's go for a coffee. Used when you really, really want a coffee.

Photo: Tetra Pak/Flickr

3. S'HA ACABAT EL BROQUIL - Literal meaning: There is no broccoli left. Real meaning: The game is up. Used when you have uncovered someone's dastardly plans or you are putting a stop to their unacceptable behaviour.

Photo: CPB Photography/Flickr

4. SALUT I FORÇA AL CANUT! - Literal meaning: Good health, and strength to your purse. Real meaning: Good health, and strength to your balls. A canut was a purse made from a bull's scrotum so this common toast also wishes virility for its lucky recipients.

Photo: bushcraftusa.com

5. HE BEGUT OLI - Literal meaning: I've drunk oil. Real meaning: I've failed. Used after any visit to a government office in an attempt to complete an official procedure or file paperwork.

Photo: Bradley Gordon/Flickr

6. FER-NE CINC CÈNTIMS - Literal meaning: Make it five cents. Real meaning: Give me the short version. Used when you want a quick summary of something because you don't have the time (or patience) to chat.

Photo: Ellie LoNardo/Flickr
7. ANEU A ESCAMPAR LA BOIRA - Literal meaning: Go and escape the fog. Real meaning: get lost or leave me alone. Used to make it clear you're no longer interested in someone's company.

Photo: Billy Voon/Flickr
8. FER PASSAR BOU PER BÈSTIA GROSSA - Literal meaning: To pass old beef off as prime meat. Real meaning: To make something cheap or shoddy look better than it is. Used when covering up poor workmanship or a rushed job or, less kindly - when referring to people's Facebook profile photos.

Photo: Alpha/Flickr
9. QUATRE GATS - Literal meaning: Four cats. Real meaning: Only a few people. Used to express surprise at a small turnout or crowd attendance.

Photo: Caleb Lost/Flickr
10. SENY - Literal meaning: Common sense. Real meaning: The self-defining Catalan concept of levelheadedness. Often used in contrast to its opposite - rauxa - which means wild abandonment, especially when making excuses for how boring the sardana (national dance) is to watch.

Photo: Katherine Price/Flickr

By Steve Tallantyre a journalist based in Barcelona 

Get notified about breaking news on The Local

Share this article

From our sponsors

The French business school helping students craft more meaningful careers

Two MBA graduates from EMLYON Business School explain how their studies helped them to land their dream jobs working for international organisations.