Spanish Word of the Day: Mileurista 

Here is one of the youngest words in the Spanish language and one that’s particularly handy to know right now. 

spanish word of the day
'Mil' means a thousand in Spanish. Photo: Harry Strauss/Pixabay

The word mileurista was published for the first time in 2005 in Spain’s national daily El País. 

It’s a neologism which has come to refer to around 5 million people in Spain, but what exactly does it mean?

A mileurista is a worker who earns around €1,000 a month, a term which has encapsulated Spain’s ongoing trend of low wages and worker insecurity.

It can also be used to describe a salary, job or other element relating to these widespread low wages. 


Juan es mileurista, le cuesta llegar a final de mes. 

Juan is a low earner (earns around €1,000 a month), he struggles to make ends meet. 

Es un sueldo mileurista con unas condiciones de trabajo bastante malas.

The salary is around €1,000 a month with pretty bad job conditions. 

As you can see, mileurista is usually used in a negative sense, and the term mileurismo describes the problem as a whole. 


El mileurismo en España no ayuda a atraer talento extranjero.

Spain’s average €1,000 wages don’t help to attract foreign talent. 


The Spanish press uses the term to describe a generation of young, (over)qualified, middle-class Spaniards who earn less than their parents, the first time it’s happened since Spanish Civil War times. 

It was in fact coined by a 27-year-old woman called Carolina Alguacil who fit exactly that profile and posted a letter to El País editors titled Yo soy mileurista (I am a €1,000 earner). 

This was three years before the financial crisis began in 2008, so it doesn’t take much to realise why the term stuck and is now in the dictionaries. 

Seventeen years on, Spain’s left-wing coalition government has announced it will raise the minimum wage to exactly €1,000 over 14 payments a year for full-time low earners. 

It’s touted as a positive step towards ending precariousness, but one would be right to expect better from the 14th largest economy in the world.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


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.