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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Spanish word of day: ‘Alegría’

With the weather warming up and summer just around the corner, we thought that this word is very appropriate for this time of year! It means happiness.

Spanish word of day: 'Alegría'
Photo: nito103/Depositphotos

Let's have a look at some of its meanings in Spanish and how to use it:

 

  • La subida de las temperaturas después del invierno siempre es un motivo de alegría.

        The rise in temperature after the winter is always a reason to be happy.

 

  • Aparenta alegría pero está atravesando un mal momento. 

        He feigns happiness but he is going through a bad time.

 

  • Su hija de 2 años es la alegría de la familia.

       Her two year old daughter is a blessing for the family.

 

  • Cuando le dieron la noticia de su ascenso lloró de alegría.

      When they gave her the new about her promotion she cried with happiness.

 

  • Los niños saltaron de alegría cuando se enteraron de que iban al parque de atracciones.

       The kids jumped with joy when they found out they were going to the theme park.

 

Here we have a beautiful poem from Uruguayan poet Mario Benedetti. It has social and political resonance and discusses complex issues in his typical style of using simple language.

 

Defensa de la alegría

 

Defender la alegría como una trinchera 
defenderla del escándalo y la rutina 
de la miseria y los miserables 
de las ausencias transitorias 
y las definitivas 

defender la alegría como un principio 
defenderla del pasmo y las pesadillas 
de los neutrales y de los neutrones 
de las dulces infamias 
y los graves diagnósticos 

defender la alegría como una bandera 
defenderla del rayo y la melancolía 
de los ingenuos y de los canallas 
de la retórica y los paros cardiacos 
de las endemias y las academias 

defender la alegría como un destino 
defenderla del fuego y de los bomberos 
de los suicidas y los homicidas 
de las vacaciones y del agobio 
de la obligación de estar alegres 

defender la alegría como una certeza 
defenderla del óxido y la roña 
de la famosa pátina del tiempo 
del relente y del oportunismo 
de los proxenetas de la risa 

defender la alegría como un derecho 
defenderla de dios y del invierno 
de las mayúsculas y de la muerte 
de los apellidos y las lástimas 
del azar 
y también de la alegría.

 

                                               Mario Benedetti

 

Pronunciation: 

A-le-gree-a

 

Check out our other word of the day posts

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.

READ ALSO: Eight tips for learning Spanish successfully

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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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