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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Six ways to use the Spanish verb ‘tocar’

Today's Spanish word of the day is a common verb, which means 'to touch' but it also has many more meanings depending on how it's used.

Six ways to use the Spanish verb 'tocar'
Photo: nito103/Depositphotos

Tocar la puerta means to knock on the door:

  • Toca la puerta antes de entrar en su despacho.

                Knock on the door before entering his office.

Tocar a su fin means to get to the end:

  • El partido está tocando a su fin y tu equipo va perdiendo.

               The game is getting to the end and your team is losing.

Tocar de cerca means to have a profound effect on somebody personally:

  • El tema de la salud me toca muy de cerca, prefiero hablar de otra cosa.

             Talking about health really touches a nerve, I prefer to talk about something else.

Tocar un instrumento means to play an instrument:  

  • En el colegio tocaba el piano.

             At school I played the piano.

Tocar fondo means to hit rock bottom

  • Ese día toqué fondo. Al día siguiente empecé a ir a Alcohólicos Anónimos

         That day I hit rock bottom. The following day I started going to AA.

Tocar las narices means to annoy somebody:

  • No me toques las narices y vete de aquí.

         Stop annoying me and go away.

This song is called 'Toca Toca!' Can you guess the meaning according to the context?

Pronunciation:

toh-kahr

Check out our other word of the day posts

This language article 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 MORE:  Eight ways to use the Spanish verb 'poner' 

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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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