Spanish word of the day: ‘Corto’

Today's word of the day is corto. You'll have probably seen this as an adjective, which means 'short', but it has tons of other meanings.

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

Short, brief:

  • Los días son más cortos en invierno

        Days are shorter during the winter


It can also mean low on funds: 

  • A final de mes estoy corta de dinero, no puedo salir a cenar fuera.

        At the end of the month I'm low on funds, I can't go out to dinner.


If you say atar en corto, it means to control somebody or to keep them on a short leash: 

  • Los padres tienen que atar en corto a sus hijos y enseñarles modales.

        Parents have to keep their children on a short leash and teach them manners.


Corto de vista means to be myopic:

  • Desde pequeña soy corta de vista y necesito gafa.

        Since I was a child I've been short-sighted and I need glasses.


The expression 'Ni corto  ni perezoso' means to be as bold as brass:

  • Ni corto ni perezoso, salió sin pedir permiso

        As bold as brass, he left without asking for permission.


Another  expression 'quedarse corto' means not to come up to scratch:

  • Ella me dijo que mi trabajo se había quedado corto.

          She told me my work wasn't up to scratch.


Corto, as in English also means a short film and this is the Spanish short Nominated for the GOYA Awards this 2019: El Tesoro



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.

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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 that was popularised by a 90s’ kids show on TV called Telebuten, but it’s now a rather outdated way of saying ‘cool’ in Spanish.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.