What in Spain are ‘domingueros’?

This colloquial Spanish term is used to describe day-trippers, relaxed activities and also as an insult for bad drivers.

What in Spain are 'domingueros'?
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Wisegie/Flickr

Why do I need to know this word?

It is a useful word that doesn’t exist in the English language. When used as an adjective it describes a way of doing a relaxed activity that one might traditionally reserve for a Sundays such as long lunch, a Sunday drive to the countryside, or a lazy afternoon.

As a noun it can be used to describe a city dweller on a trip to the countryside or pueblo like in this add for a rural property:

Esta bonita casa de campo es ideal para domingueros o alguien que no quieren demasiado espacio. Es acogedor, pero se abre hacia el valle – This pretty cottage is ideal for weekenders or somebody who does not want too much space. It is cozy, yet opens up towards the valley.

But is often used in a derogatory way.

No conoces nada de la ciudad porque eres una dominguera. – You know nothing about this city because you are a “Sunday tourist”.

In coronavirus times, the term has come to be used to describe those people who leave a city where there are high infection rates and raise the risk of contagion to outlying areas, such as the towns in the sierra around Madrid.

This headline in El Periodico is a good example:

“Mayors of towns around Madrid overwhelmed by the arrival of Sunday daytrippers.”

And this one in La Rioja online news site Nuevecuatrouna talks about road blocks to prevent people leaving the restricted zones of the city to head for a countryside village:

Access roads to La Grajera blocked to avoid “Domingueros”.


It is also used as an insult to describe a bad driver.

El dominguero que me llevó al aeropuerto estuvo a punto de chocar por lo menos dos veces.

The Sunday driver that took me to the airport almost crashed at least twice.

But when used in a positive way it can mean dressing up in Sunday best (vestido dominguero), enjoying a lazy Sunday or doing something as a hobby.

Mi plan dominguero ideal es ver películas y pedir pizza – My perfect Sunday plan is watching movies and ordering some pizza.

Iremos por nuestro tradicional aperitivo dominguero con amigos – we’ll go out for the traditional Sunday aperitvo with friends.

Sólo soy un pintor dominguero, como otros miles. – I'm just a Sunday painter like a thousand others.

It can be used a verb 'dominguear' –  meaning 'to Sunday' –  to describe doing something at a relaxed pace or to have a chill, fun Sunday.

This headline in El Espanol sums it up:

Two brunch plans to have an enjoyable Sunday in Madrid.

So if you are someone who enjoys lazying around on a Sunday, escapes to the countryside from the city or causes other drivers to curse at your lane hogging, then you may find yourself being referred to as an “dominguero” or “dominguera”. 



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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.