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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Ten Spanish slang phrases you never learn at school

There is so much more to learning Spanish than simply mastering the grammar and pronunciation. To really sound like a local you have to pepper your everyday speak with bizarre, hilarious and often down right insulting turns of phrase. Here's 10 of the best.

Ten Spanish slang phrases you never learn at school
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Me cago en la leche

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Translation: I crap in the milk

Spaniards metaphorically crap on all kinds of things when they want to express anger or frustration; from God Almighty (Dios), to 'your' mother (tu madre) and the salty sea (la mar salada). Perhaps the most bizarre thing they choose to mentally defecate on is 'the milk'. All these expressions sound very vulgar in English but in Spanish they're so common most recipients would barely bat an eyelid.

READ MORE: Five ways that 'leche' means more than just 'milk' in Spain

Manda huevos!


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Translation: Send eggs

Unless you’re actually in the business of delivering groceries then this is bound to sound a little peculiar. But 'Manda huevos!', which means something like 'Give me a break!', is the perfect expression for when you're fed up or frustrated by something. 

Llevar los huevos de corbata


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Translation: Wear ones balls as a tie

Another use of huevos but this time not talking about the shell variety but rather male genitalia. To wear your balls as a tie translates as being tense or nervous. In fact, Spaniards will often hold their throat and say 'this is where I have my balls'- con los huevos aquí– when they want to express nervousness or fear.

Que te la pique un pollo

Translation: “I hope a chicken pecks at your dick”

Pretty self explanatory this one. Best reserved for someone who has really wronged you. 

Vete a freir espárragos

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Translation: Go and fry asparagus

This is a polite way of telling someone to fuck off in Spanish. 'Vete a freir espárragos' is a step down from ¡vete por ahí! (get lost) and three down from ¡que te folle un pez! ('May a fish make love to you').

Mojar el churro

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Translation: to wet the churro

Yes, churros: those long, thick doughnut sticks we all love to dunk in chocolate and put in our mouths. Like most stick-shaped food, churros are euphemistically used to described a man's privates. 'Mojar el churro' means to have sex.

De puta madre

Translation: Of the whore's mother.

Best translated in English as It’s the shi*/ the best thing ever!

There are somethings so great that you can only describe them as de puta madre.  “I can’t believe how good that tastes! De puta madre!”

Matar el gusanillo

Translation: To kill the worm

Photo: sdenness/Depositphotos

To kill the worm is to take the edge off your hunger. “A ver si con esta tapa matas el gusanillo.” – Let's see if you take the edge off your hunger with this tapa.

Pollas en vinagre

 

Translation:“Dicks in vinegar”

Use this phrase to call out those who are telling porkies.  It's the Spanish equivalent of saying “bullshit.” 

No seas tan pendejo 

Translation: Don’t be such a pube

Use this when telling someone not to be such an asshole.

READ MORE: Getting explicit: Your guide to how to swear like a Spaniard 

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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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