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SPANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Spanish Expression of the Day: ‘Hacer su agosto’

Here’s what ‘doing the August’ means in Spanish and why it applies so well to what is happening currently in Spain. 

spanish expression of the day hacer su agosto 1
The next time you want to say in Spanish that someone is raking it in or making a pile of money, don’t forget to use this expression. Photo: Adem Altan/AFP

Hacer el agosto or hacer su agosto is a Spanish expression which is used to refer to a period of time during which someone makes a lot of money without much effort and/or without scruples. 

In the literal sense, it means to ‘do the August’ or ‘do one’s August’, but it can be best translated into English as making a killing or feathering your nest. 

August is the peak of the high season and typically the month when hotels, airlines and business owners that form part of the Spanish tourism industry put up their prices considerably.

So you’d be forgiven for believing that this expression came about from the fact that money-hungry businessmen and companies shamelessly cash in to capitalise on high demand during the month most Spaniards take off for their summer holidays.

But the truth is that this saying has been around for centuries before tourists headed on masse to the Spanish coast in August.

The expression hacer el agosto actually refers to the period when Spaniards would collect their harvest and store it, with August traditionally being the busiest month for this, and therefore when peasants and landowners would have the biggest yield or make the biggest profit.

Nowadays, the saying is used mainly to refer to financial profit, and it doesn’t necessarily have to happen during August for the expression to apply, it can be at any point when someone is making a killing.

So the next time you want to say in Spanish that someone is raking it in or making a pile of money, don’t forget to use this expression, as Spaniards will be impressed. 

Examples: 

Los bares y restaurantes de Pamplona hacen su agosto durante las fiestas de San Fermín

Pamplona’s bars and restaurants make a killing during the San Fermín festival.

Elena está haciendo el agosto alquilando el piso de sus padres en Marbella a turistas ricos.

Elena is feathering her nest by renting out her parents’ flat in Marbella to rich tourists.

Siempre pasa lo mismo en verano, suben un montón los precios porque los empresarios quieren hacer su agosto.

The same thing always happens in summer, prices go up a lot because business owners want to make a killing. 

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SPANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Spanish Word of the Day: ‘Labia’

No, this Spanish word doesn’t refer to a part of the female anatomy as it does in English. 

Spanish Word of the Day: 'Labia'

If you live in Spain or have visited the country, you’ll know that Spaniards have no difficulty in chatting to pretty much anyone, even complete strangers.

They are habladores (talkative), sometimes parlanchines or charlatanes (chatterboxes), and a select few suffer from verborrea, which is the official term for someone who talks excessively.

But how about those who are so good at speaking that they can sweet-talk pretty much anyone into doing what they want? 

There’s an expression used to describe them, although it’s not an adjective. 

If you say that someone tiene labia in Spanish, it means that they have the gift of the gab. 

That’s right, labia does not refer to that part of a woman’s genitalia, which in case you were wondering are called labios vaginales in Spanish. 

Tener labia is generally considered something good in Spain, and refers to a type of loquacity, confidence and charm when speaking that has the capacity to persuade and engage. 

It may be that the person is a bit cheeky (pillo or caradura) but because they’re a smooth talker with labia they can get away with it.

Tener labía therefore doesn’t denote arrogance, it’s choosing the right words, being capable of improvising, of being heard, of making people laugh, all with ease. 

Labia isn’t slang or a colloquial word, so therefore it can be used in all social contexts. Other more formal synonyms are verbosidad, elocuencia or locuacidad, but they don’t have quite the same clout as labia

Examples:

Alberto tiene mucha labia, para él ligar está tirado.

Alberto really has the gift of the gab, he finds it super easy to flirt.

Tienes mucha labia, deberías trabajar de comercial.

You’ve such a smooth talker, you should work in sales.

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