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SPANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Spanish Expression of the Day: ‘¡Al grano!’

Here’s a short but sweet expression that will help you save time when talking to Spaniards. 

Spanish Expression of the Day: '¡Al grano!'
Ir al grano means to get straight to the point, to cut to the chase or to spit it out. Photo: Dan Burton/Unsplash

The word grano has many meanings in Spanish. 

It can refer to a grain, bean or seed, such as un grano de arroz (a grain of rice), un grano de café (a coffee bean) or un grano de mostaza (a mustard seed). 

It can also be used to speak about a zit or blemish that you get on your skin in the sense of acne, such as tengo un grano en la frente (I’ve got a spot on my forehead). 

There’s even the expression aportar tu granito de arena, which in the literal sense means to give your small grain of sand, but actually means to do your bit or to give your two cents. 

But in today’s Spanish Expression of the Day, we’ll focus on another very handy expression which includes the word grano al grano to be exact.

Ir al grano means to get straight to the point, to cut to the chase or to spit it out.

So if you want someone in Spain to stop beating about the bush with what they’re doing or saying and get to the nitty-gritty, this is the expression to use. 

Obviously it’s an informal expression which, just like in English, you should use with someone you know well and can afford to tell them to ‘get on with it!’. 

Examples:

¡Deja de andarte por las ramas, hombre! Vete al grano y dime que te pasa.

Stop beating about the bush, man! Spit it out and tell me what’s up with you. 

¡Ya basta de andarse con rodeos! ¡Al grano!

Enough with the messing around! Get on with it!

Juan ha ido directo al grano y le ha dicho a María que está enamorado de ella.

Juan got straight to the point and told María that he is in love with her. 

For extra brownie points from your Spanish friends and family, you should learn the most famous lines of the catchy (and raunchy) 1991 hit Estoy Por Ti by Spanish pop duo Amistades Peligrosas, who sing: “Pero basta ya de tanta tontería, hoy voy ir al grano, te voy a meter mano” (Enough with all the silliness, today I’m cutting to the chase, I’m going to feel you up). 

Different times the nineties, we’re not so sure that today’s political correctness would have allowed the duo to cut to the chase and sing about their true intentions.

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For members

SPANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Spanish Word of the Day: ‘Chachi’

Who would’ve thought that there’s a word used all the time in Spain that has something to do with Winston Churchill? Or so the story goes. 

Spanish Word of the Day: 'Chachi'

Chachi is a colloquial way to express approval for something or someone, in the sense of it/them being cool, awesome or great.

It’s mainly a word used by young people in Spain, so saying it to your bank manager or boss may raise an eyebrow or two, but it’s in no way derogatory or rude.

There’s even the expression ¡Chachi piruli Juan Pelotilla! that was popularised by a 90s’ kids show on TV called Telebuten, but it’s now a rather outdated way of saying ‘cool’ in Spanish. 

Chachi is certainly a rather bizarre sounding word and Spain’s Royal Academy actually has it recorded as deriving from chanchi (which nobody uses).

Linguists are not 100 percent certain about the origin of the word but there are two very interesting theories. 

The first is that chachi was first coined in the southern coastal city of Cádiz during World War II, at a time where hunger among locals and contraband at the port were both rife.

Smuggled goods from nearby Gibraltar were considered of the utmost quality as they came from the United Kingdom, and the story goes that Gaditanos (the name for people from Cádiz) referred to these bootlegged products as ‘charchil’, in reference to UK Prime Minister at the time Winston Churchill.

Over time, charchil became chachi, a slang word which (if the story is true) came to mean ‘cool’ across Spain.

Other philologists believe that chachi comes from Caló, the language spoken by Spain’s native gipsy or Roma population. 

Chachipé or chachipen reportedly means ‘truth’ or ‘reality’ in this language spoken by 60,000 people across the Iberian Peninsula.

This could’ve been shortened to chachi and gone from being used like chachi que sí/claro que sí (of course) to chachi to mean ‘cool’.

Whichever theory is true, chachi is a great word to add to your arsenal of Spanish vocab. 

There’s also the Spanish word guay, which has a very similar meaning to chachi; we reviewed it here.

Examples: 

Carlos es un tío chachi. 

Carlos is a cool guy.

¡Pásalo chachi!

Have a great time!

La verdad es que es juego de mesa muy chachi.

The truth is it’s a very cool board game.

¡Qué chachi! Van a hacer un concierto en la plaza.

How cool! They’re going to hold a concert in the square.

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