Spanish word of the day: Chapuza

A very useful word that but be careful how you use it.

Spanish word of the day: Chapuza
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Wisegie/Flickr

Why should I know this word?

You'll see this Spanish word used to describe a shoddy job, a shambles or a mess left behind whether it's a workman who cut a few corners in his repairs or your flatmate who didnt quite manage to follow the instructions properly when erecting some Ikea furniture.

The word has appeared in headlines this week to describe the botched restoration of a sculpture on the facade of a historic building in Palencia, Castilla y Leon. 

For more about that story read this:  Spain laughs (and groans) at yet another botched art restoration


Who can I use it with?

Chapuza is a word that should be used with extreme caution, as you could cause serious offense if you use it to refer to someone's work!

Show me some examples

Chapuza as an adjective can be used to refer to a “mess”, an “botched or shoddy job”,  or “swindle or trick”. Here are some examples:

  • Todo lo que haces es una chapuza!

         Everything you do is shoddy!


  • No podemos entregar esta chapuza.

        We can't hand in this botched job.


  • El tío tenía muchas ganas de e hizo chapuza en el juego.

        The guy really wanted to win and resorted to playing dirty tricks.


Who can I use it with?

Chapuza is a word that should be used with extreme caution, as you could cause serious offense if you use it to refer to someone's work!


What else should I know?

The verb chapuzar is to put your head under water or to go head first into water:

  • Chapuzó el plato en el fregadero

       He dunked the plate in the sink






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Spanish Word of the Day: Chungo

This adjective is essential slang talk in Spain, a word with lots of meanings, all of them fairly negative.

Spanish Word of the Day: Chungo

Chungo is a colloquial way of saying that something is difficult, dodgy or bad. 

It can be used to describe a variety of scenarios and it’s a great way of talking like a native Spanish speaker. 

You can talk about the weather being chungo if there are ominous black clouds up ahead.

If you’re stepping into a dodgy neighbourhood, then watch out because it’s un barrio chungo

If you bought a hairdryer at the rastro (flea market) and it doesn’t work properly, then it’s clearly chungo, and the seller is just as chungo.

Maybe you’ve just sat an exam with complicated questions, you’d call it un examen chungo.

Or if you don’t feel very well, then you’re the one that is chungo

There’s even an expression to say that things aren’t looking good – la cosa está chunga.

All in all, chungo is a very versatile adjective that you can incorporate into most daily speech even though it’s colloquial. 

Here are some examples to help you get used to using chungo.


Está el tiempo un poco chungo, mejor no vamos a la playa.

The weather isn’t very good today, it’s best if we don’t go to the beach. 


¡Ojo! Es un tío bastante chungo así que no te fíes de él.

Be careful! He’s a pretty dodgy guy so don’t trust him. 


Le has comprado un perfume muy chungo a mamá por el Día de la Madre.

You’ve bought Mum a really crappy perfume for Mother’s Day.


El barrio de El Príncipe en Ceuta es muy chungo, ¡ten cuidado!

El Príncipe neighbourhood in Ceuta is very dodgy, be careful!



Me encuentro un poco chungo, con mareos y nauseas. 

I’m feeling a bit bad, I’m dizzy and nauseous. 


¿Dama de honor cuando el novio es tu ex? ¡Qué situación más chunga!

Maid of honour when the groom is your ex? ¡That’s an uncomfortable situation!


¡La cosa está chunga! El Barça tiene que marcar cinco goles para clasificarse.

Things aren’t looking good. Barça have to score five goals to qualify.