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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Spanish Expression of the Day: ¡Que te vaya bien!

If you live in Spain, you’ve probably heard this all the time when saying good bye to people. But what does it actually mean?

Spanish Expression of the Day: ¡Que te vaya bien!
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Wisegie/Flickr

Why do I need to know this expression?

Because it’s one of those expressions that’s used all the time in daily conversation in Spain.

You say “que te vaya bien” when ending off a conversation with someone and wishing them well.

It’s similar to “cuídate” although that’s more specifically like ‘take care’ in English.

“Que te vaya bien” can be used to wish someone good luck or to generally wish them well in life.

Almost like an afterthought which doesn’t necessarily refer to an event that you want them to have good fortune for, just general well wishes when ending a chat.

What do all the words mean?

The closest translation is “I hope it goes well”.

The “que” at the start is a common feature of spoken Spanish when wishing something to someone or giving them an order, such as “¡Que te calles! (shut up) or “¡Qué tengas un buen día!” (Have a good day!).

Then comes the “te” for reflexive verbs. And yes, the verb that follows is in the subjunctive (We can hear the collective groans from here).

When can I use it?

It’s generally considered an informal expression which is used more commonly in conversation.

You wouldn’t generally sign off an email to your Spanish boss with it, unless you wanted to wish them good luck with something specific. So it’s not quite the same as writing “all the best” to sign off.

A good reply to “que te vaya bien” in conversation can be “y a ti también”, to wish them all the best as well.

After saying or writing “que te vaya bien”, you can name the thing you’re well-wishing for, such as “que te vaya bien el examen” (I hope the exam goes well) or “que te vaya bien la cita con el medico” (I hope your appointment with the doctor goes well).

How about some examples?

“¡Venga!¡Que te vaya bien! ¡Nos vemos!”
Okay, take care! See you soon!

“Que te vaya bien con tu hermana”
I hope it goes well with your sister 

If you're having doubts about how to pronounce the words, this song by Spanish pop singer Manuel Navarro should help. 

 
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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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