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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 Expression of the Day: ‘Montar un pollo’

If someone accuses you of 'riding a chicken' in Spain, should you be offended?

Spanish Expression of the Day: 'Montar un pollo'

In today’s fascinating Spanish Expression of the Day, we have a saying which may seem a bit confusing or even shocking to foreigners.

Montar un pollo, which in its literal sense translates as ‘to ride a chicken’ in Spanish, actually means to make a scene. 

So if someone is flipping out, running amok, getting excessively angry or boisterous and generally overreacting in a loud and noticeable way, the colloquial way of saying it in Spanish is that they’re montando un pollo.

In fact, there are several other ways of saying that someone is making a scene in Spanish. 

There’s armar un escándalo, hacer un drama, montar una escena and our personal favourite montar un numerito (as in perform a small musical or theatrical act).  

But going back to the ‘riding a chicken’ expression. Even though everyone writes it as pollo, the original expression was with the word poyo with a y, which means stone bench or kitchen counter. 

It originates from the Latin word podium, which is what Medieval Spaniards would bring with them to town squares, assemble and stand on to get the attention of a crowd when they wanted to give a speech, events which no doubt got pretty noisy and lively.

Montar in Spanish can mean to mount/get on (as well as assemble, ride or whip), so montar un pollo can really be understood as ‘getting on or setting up a podium’, which makes sense in terms of the expression ‘making a scene’.

If a person is giving someone a telling-off or berating them, this expression can also be used in its reflexive form by saying montarle un pollo a alguien. Similarly, the expression can be used in its reflexive form when describing a lot of commotion or disruption that’s taking place, as in se montó un pollo.

Examples:

Esa mujer le ha montado un pollo al camarero porque se le olvidó traerle los cubiertos.

That woman flipped out at the waiter because he forgot to bring her cutlery.

Hay unos jóvenes borrachos en la plaza montando un pollo que no veas. 

There are some drunk young people in the square making a scene that you wouldn’t believe.

¿Te quieres tranquilizar? ¡Estás montando un pollo y haciendo el ridículo!

Do you want to calm down? You’re making a scene and showing yourself up!

Se montó un pollo porque el novio le pilló poniéndole los cuernos.

All hell broke loose because the boyfriend caught her cheating on him.

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