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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Spanish Word of the Day: ‘Caliente’

Prepare yourself for this Word of the Day! What does the Spanish word caliente mean? It has many translations, ranging from mundane weather talk to to, uhm, something a little more racy.

Spanish Word of the Day: 'Caliente'
Photo: nito103/Depositphotos

Caliente means hot or warm.

Warm/hot:

  • ¡Ten cuidado, el té está caliente!

        Watch out, the tea is hot!

  • Mi comida no está caliente.

        My food isn’t warm.

You can also use caliente when talking about something that's new, just like we use 'hot' in English for exclusive or some breaking news.

  • Es una noticia caliente.

        It's hot off the press.

You can also use the verb calentarse to talk about when someone gets hot tempered:

  • Me calenté cuando me dijo que ya no quería ser mi amigo y le grité.

       I got mad when he told me that he didn't want to be my friend and I shouted at him.

Now we get into the more risqué examples. Caliente can get you into hot water if you don't understand when and how to use it. If caliente means hot then 'I am hot' (as in temperature) would translate to estoy caliente, right? Well, no.

  • Estoy caliente.

        I'm horny (turned on)

As you can see, this false friend could lead to some rather awkward office small talk with Juan from finance, so make sure that you're using caliente right when talking about temperature. When using caliente to talk about being turned on, we use ponerse:

  • Su voz me pone caliente.

       Her voice turns me on.

  • Me pones caliente.

       You turn me on.

Pronunciation:

kah-lee-yen-te

READ ALSO: Five tricks to help you sound like a native in Spanish

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

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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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