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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: ‘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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