Spanish word of the day: ‘Boca’

Today's word of the day is boca and it has plenty of meanings in Spanish, you'll obviously know that it means 'mouth' but here you have a list of all the ways that it's used, which will leave you open-mouthed for a while!

Spanish word of the day: 'Boca'
Photo: nito103/Depositphotos

Apart from mouth it means entrance or exit:


  • La boca del metro estaba llena de gente.

               The underground entrance was really crowded.


A boca de jarro means suddenly or unexpectedly:


  • Nos dieron la noticia a boca de jarro ese mismo día.

               We received the notice unexpectedly just that same day.


A pedir de boca means that something went really well, or that it couldn't be better:


  • Durante su presentación todo salió a pedir de boca.

               During his presentation, everything went smoothly.


Cerrar la boca, use it if you want somebody to shut up (keep in mind it is a bit offensive):


  • En clase le dije que cerrase la boca, no paraba de interrumpir.

              In class I told him to shut up as he kept interrupting.


Buen sabor de boca means you have a good memory of somebody or something from the past:


  • Durante la entrevista me dejó buen sabor de boca, así que es un posible candidato

              During the interview he gave me a good impression so he is a possible candidate.


Boca-chancla  is a colloquial term and it means blabbermouth:


  • Mi  amigo es muy simpático pero a veces habla demasiado y es un boca-chancla.

              My friend is very nice but sometimes he talks too much and is a blabbermouth.


Here we give you a poem from Spanish poet and playwright Miguel Hernández, who died at just 31 years of age in 1942 after being imprisoned for being on the Republican side in the Spanish civil war. You can read more about the meaning of this poem here.


La Boca

Boca que arrastra mi boca:
boca que me has arrastrado:
boca que vienes de lejos
a iluminarme de rayos.

Alba que das a mis noches
un resplandor rojo y blanco.
Boca poblada de bocas:
pájaro lleno de pájaros.
Canción que vuelve las alas
hacia arriba y hacia abajo.
Muerte reducida a besos,
a sed de morir despacio,
das a la grama sangrante
dos fúlgidos aletazos.
El labio de arriba el cielo
y la tierra el otro labio.

Beso que rueda en la sombra:
beso que viene rodando
desde el primer cementerio
hasta los últimos astros.
Astro que tiene tu boca
enmudecido y cerrado
hasta que un roce celeste
hace que vibren sus párpados.

Beso que va a un porvenir
de muchachas y muchachos,
que no dejarán desiertos
ni las calles ni los campos.

¡Cuánta boca enterrada,
sin boca, desenterramos!

Beso en tu boca por ellos,
brindo en tu boca por tantos
que cayeron sobre el vino
de los amorosos vasos.
Hoy son recuerdos, recuerdos,
besos distantes y amargos.

Hundo en tu boca mi vida,
oigo rumores de espacios,
y el infinito parece
que sobre mí se ha volcado.

He de volverte a besar,
he de volver, hundo, caigo,
mientras descienden los siglos
hacia los hondos barrancos
como una febril nevada
de besos y enamorados.

Boca que desenterraste
el amanecer más claro
con tu lengua. Tres palabras,
tres fuegos has heredado:
vida, muerte, amor. Ahí quedan
escritos sobre tus labios.





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: The eleven most annoying Spanish false friends of all time










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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.


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.