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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Spanish Word of the Day: ‘Viento’

This is a word essential to know as the weather turns colder. But it also has uses to describe other things.

Spanish Word of the Day: 'Viento'

Meaning

As the days are getting colder here in Spain, viento is a word you will come across more often as it means wind.

It also means 'rope' in relations to chords (cuerda) that are used to tie things down (on a tent for example).

Examples

  • Hace viento

        It's windy

  • Hace más frío por el viento.

       It's colder because of the wind.

  • El viento hizo que el árbol se cayera.

       The wind caused the tree to fall over.

Idioms

Here are some handy phrases that use the word viento in Spanish that aren't talking about the weather conditions.

  • ¡Vete con viento fresco!

        Good riddance!

  • Contra viento y marea

       Through thick and thin/against all odds

  • Las palabras se las lleva el viento

        Actions speak louder than words

 

Pronunciation: 

vee-yen-toh

And finally, here is a beautiful poem from Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, which uses the word wind to discussing a man's love for a woman that continues despite the passing of time and in spite of any obstacles.

El viento en la isla by Pablo Neruda

El viento es un caballo: 
óyelo cómo corre 
por el mar, por el cielo. 

Quiere llevarme: escucha 
cómo recorre el mundo 
para llevarme lejos. 

Escóndeme en tus brazos 
por esta noche sola, 
mientras la lluvia rompe 
contra el mar y la tierra 
su boca innumerable. 

Escucha como el viento 
me llama galopando 
para llevarme lejos. 

Con tu frente en mi frente, 
con tu boca en mi boca, 
atados nuestros cuerpos 
al amor que nos quema, 
deja que el viento pase 
sin que pueda llevarme. 

Deja que el viento corra 
coronado de espuma, 
que me llame y me busque 
galopando en la sombra, 
mientras yo, sumergido 
bajo tus grandes ojos, 
por esta noche sola 
descansaré, amor mío
.

READ ALSO: 10 phrases to discuss the weather like a true Spaniard

This word of the day has been contributed by LAE Madrid, the leading Spanish academy in Madrid. Accredited by the Insitituto Cervantes, it offers Spanish courses for all levels and also has Spanish classes for kids and families.

Check out our other word of the day posts

For members

SPANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Spanish Word of the Day: ‘Chachi’

Who would’ve thought that there’s a word used all the time in Spain that has something to do with Winston Churchill? Or so the story goes. 

Spanish Word of the Day: 'Chachi'

Chachi is a colloquial way to express approval for something or someone, in the sense of it/them being cool, awesome or great.

It’s mainly a word used by young people in Spain, so saying it to your bank manager or boss may raise an eyebrow or two, but it’s in no way derogatory or rude.

There’s even the expression ¡Chachi piruli Juan Pelotilla! that was popularised by a 90s’ kids show on TV called Telebuten, but it’s now a rather outdated way of saying ‘cool’ in Spanish. 

Chachi is certainly a rather bizarre sounding word and Spain’s Royal Academy actually has it recorded as deriving from chanchi (which nobody uses).

Linguists are not 100 percent certain about the origin of the word but there are two very interesting theories. 

The first is that chachi was first coined in the southern coastal city of Cádiz during World War II, at a time where hunger among locals and contraband at the port were both rife.

Smuggled goods from nearby Gibraltar were considered of the utmost quality as they came from the United Kingdom, and the story goes that Gaditanos (the name for people from Cádiz) referred to these bootlegged products as ‘charchil’, in reference to UK Prime Minister at the time Winston Churchill.

Over time, charchil became chachi, a slang word which (if the story is true) came to mean ‘cool’ across Spain.

Other philologists believe that chachi comes from Caló, the language spoken by Spain’s native gipsy or Roma population. 

Chachipé or chachipen reportedly means ‘truth’ or ‘reality’ in this language spoken by 60,000 people across the Iberian Peninsula.

This could’ve been shortened to chachi and gone from being used like chachi que sí/claro que sí (of course) to chachi to mean ‘cool’.

Whichever theory is true, chachi is a great word to add to your arsenal of Spanish vocab. 

There’s also the Spanish word guay, which has a very similar meaning to chachi; we reviewed it here.

Examples: 

Carlos es un tío chachi. 

Carlos is a cool guy.

¡Pásalo chachi!

Have a great time!

La verdad es que es juego de mesa muy chachi.

The truth is it’s a very cool board game.

¡Qué chachi! Van a hacer un concierto en la plaza.

How cool! They’re going to hold a concert in the square.

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