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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're a smooth talker in Spain, then you have 'labia'. Photo: Pea/Unsplash

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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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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