Spanish Word of the Day: ‘Chiringuito’

Here’s one of the most summer-themed Spanish words out there, so you need to add it to your vocab. 

Spanish Word of the Day: 'Chiringuito'
Apart from being the word for a beach bar, "chiringuito" has another interesting meaning in Spain. Photo: Francesc Romero/Pixabay

When Spaniards think of summer, they often picture vacaciones (holidays), sol y playa (sun and beach) and tinto de verano (red wine mixed with soda/lemonade and ice – don’t diss it until you’ve tried it). 

And the place where they’re most likely to enjoy all these placeres del verano (summer pleasures) is at a chiringuito

Un chiringuito is essentially a beach bar. 

They’re usually small establishments that serve drinks and food to beachgoers during the sweltering summer months, meaning that many don’t open for the rest of the year. 

You’ll get the more rough and ready ones, wooden huts with dried out palm leaves providing shade as the radio blasts los éxitos del verano (the summer hits), to the more refined chiringuitos that are essentially like upmarket beachside gastrobars serving up plates of sardines as if they were haute cuisine. 

The word chiringuito (pronounced chee-reeng-gee-toh, the u in silent) was brought to Spain by los Indianos, the name given to Spaniards who emigrated to South and Central America in the 19th and 20th centuries and then returned to Spain, often with a lot more money under their belt. 

They would order a chiringuito when they wanted un café, a word used by Cubans who worked on sugar plantations to refer to how the coffee they made would filter through a stocking squirted out like a stream (chorro or chiringo).

The first beach kiosk to be dubbed a chiringuito was in 1949 in the coastal Catalan town of Sitges, where many wealthy Indianos settled. 

Then came the hippie movement in the sixties, the explosion of tourism in Spain and the hoards of beachgoers needing refreshing drinks to get some respite from the sun.

In 1983, chiringuito made it into the Spanish dictionary and in 1988 French pop singer Georgie Dann hit the charts with El Chiringuito.

These simple wooden beach huts were now officially part of Spanish culture.

But chiringuito has another meaning in Spain which pays heed to the informal nature of these establishments. 

Nowadays, chiringuito is often used to refer to a shady business, a government department born from cronyism, a bunch of cowboys basically.

Headline in Spanish right-wing news website OK Diario reads “Sánchez increased shady public enterprises (chiringuitos) by 10 percent as GDP plummeted due to the coronavirus”.

We certainly know what kind of chiringuito we prefer.

There’s also the expression “cerrar el chiringuito”, which means to finish a duty and leave.


Vamos a tomar unas cañas y un pescaito al chiringuito.

Let’s go and have some beers and some fish at the beach bar. 

Si quieres mantener tus inversiones a salvo has de alejarte todo lo lejos que puedas de lo que se conoce como chiringuito financiero.

If you want to keep your investments safe you have to get away as far as you can from shady companies.

Ya es tarde, habrá que pensar en cerrar el chiringuito e irse a casa.

It’s late, time to finish work and go home.

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Why ‘cojones’ (testicles) is the most versatile word in Spanish

The Spanish word with the most derivative meanings is apparently 'cojones', slang for testicles. Here are 22 hilarious examples reflecting how versatile it is in colloquial speech in Spain.

Why 'cojones' (testicles) is the most versatile word in Spanish

Cojones, from the Latin word coleo (meaning a leather bag), is a noun that certainly makes it into conversations in Spain very often.

It’s one of several Spanish slang words for testículos (testicles), a list which also includes huevos (eggs), pelotas (balls) or bolas (bowls). 

But cojones reigns supreme in Castilian Spanish, not least because, just like just like the F-word can be used in all manner of ways in English, cojones can be transformed into different nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, idioms and interjections.

It can imply something positive or negative, surprise or anger, even the number of cojones can transform the meaning completely!

Un cojón: A way of saying something is expensive (literally – one ball)

Example: Vale un cojón. It costs an arm and a leg.

Dos cojones: An exclamation to imply bravery and bravado (literally – two balls)

Example: ¡Con dos cojones! Get stuck in!/You can do it!

Tres cojones: A way of showing disdain (literally – three balls)

Example: ¡Me importa tres cojones! I couldn’t give a damn!

Tener cojones: To be brave (literally – to have balls)

Example: Tiene los cojones bien cuadrados. He’s very brave.

No tener cojones: To be a coward (literally – to not have balls)

Example: No tienes los cojones de pegarme. You don’t have the balls to hit me.

Poner los cojones encima de la mesa: idiom for ‘to show who’s boss’ (literally – to put your balls on the table)

Example: Puso los cojones encima de la mesa. He showed them who’s in charge.

Tocar los cojones: To annoy or be annoyed by someone (literally – to touch balls)

Example: ¡No me toques los cojones, pesado! Don’t bother me, you bore!

Tocarse los cojones: To be lazy (literally – to touch one’s balls)

Example: Deja de tocarte los cojones y trabaja. Stop lazing about and work.

¡Tócate los cojones!: Exclamation to imply frustration (literally – ¡Touch your balls!)

Example: Se ha pirado. ¡Tócate los cojones! He’s left, for fuck sake!

¡Cojones! Interjection to express surprise or anger

Example: ¡Qué me dejes en paz, cojones! Leave me alone, for fuck sake!

¡Manda cojones!: Another interjection to express surprise (literally – send balls!)

Example: ¡Manda cojones! Bloody hell!

Acojonante: Adjective for ‘incredible’, ‘shocking’ or ‘frightening’ 

Example: ¡Fue una experiencia acojonante! It was an incredible experience!

Acojonado: Adjective for ‘scared’

Example: ¡Estoy acojonado! I’m very scared!

Acojonar: Verb for ‘to scare’

Example: ¡Deja de acojonarme! Stop scaring me!

Cojonudo: Adjective for ‘fantastic’, ‘great’

Example: Es un tío cojonudo. He’s a great guy.

Descojonarse: Verb for ‘to laugh out loud’

Example: No puedo dejar de descojonarme. I can’t stop laughing. 

De cojones: Bloody well or bloody (literally – of balls)


Me salió de cojones. It went bloody great.

Hace un calor de cojones. It’s bloody hot. 

Por cojones: Definitely, without a doubt (literally – by balls)

Voy a aprobar por cojones – I’m definitely going to pass, even if it’s the last thing I do.

Hasta los cojones: Fed up (literally – up to my balls)

Example: Estoy hasta los cojones de ti. I’ve had it up to here with you.

Tener los cojones de corbata: Expression to imply one is scared (literally – to wear your balls as a tie)

Example: Llevaba los cojones de corbata cuando la vió. He was scared out of his mind when he saw her.

Cojones morados: To be cold (literally – purple balls)

Example: Tengo los cojones morados del frío que hace. My balls are frozen, it’s that cold.

No me sale de los cojones: To not want to bloody do something (literally – to not come out of the balls)

Example: No me sale de los cojones ayudarte. I don’t want to bloody help you.

READ ALSO: ¡Joder! An expert guide to correctly using the F-word in Spanish