You may not use this word every day but “duende” is quite an unusual but interesting word for advanced Spanish learners to know!
Supposedly derived from “dueño de casa”- “owner of a house”, it is rather difficult to nail down when it comes to its meaning.
Where do we start?
The word duende itself essentially is a magical creature or spirit: it can be either classified as an elf, leprechaun, or even a goblin. So if you’re a big Tolkien fan, then it will definitely need to be on your vocabulary list.
- Yo no creo en los duendes ni en las hadas.
I don’t believe in elves and fairies.
Things become a little more abstract when we talk about Duende as a term used traditionally in flamenco and other activities that evoke Spanish fiery passion, like bullfighting. It refers to the mystical and powerful heightened state of emotion and expression that the performer gives off that draws in the audience.
- ¡Qué duende tiene Lola Flores!
Stemming from that, nowadays, in some parts of Spain, duende is used more simply as an adjective, meaning that someone is charming or alluring.
- Tiene mucho duende y siempre te lo pasas bien con él.
He’s got lots of charm and you always have a good time with him.
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 their blog for more Spanish!