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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


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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For members


Spanish Word of the Day: Bisiesto

Today is a special day in the calendar, so let’s go over a word in Spanish that explains it. 

Spanish Word of the Day: Bisiesto

There’s only a February 29th every four years, which explains why 2024 is a leap year. 

In Spanish, a leap year is called un año bisiesto. You can also refer to a leap day as un día bisiesto.

The word bisiesto originates from the Latin bis sextus dies ante calendas martii (sixth day before the month of March). 

This corresponded to a day between February 23d and 24th brought in by Roman general Julius Caesar in 49BC after coming across a more accurate calendar in Egypt as a means of synchronising the calendar with the solar year. 

This Roman calendar meant to ensure seasonal accuracy was later perfected by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 – hence the name Gregorian calendar – which still stands today.

The simple reason why leap years play a pivotal role in matching our calendar with the Earth’s orbit around the sun is that it takes 365.24 days for the planet to complete one revolution around the sun, so every 365-day year is a quarter of a day short of the complete orbit.

Generally speaking, Spain considers the leap year as a whole, and the itself day, to bring bad luck.

A few Spanish proverbs sum it up:

Año bisiesto, año siniestro – leap year, sinister year

Año bisiesto y año de pares, año de azares – leap year and even year, random year

Año bisiesto, ni casa, ni viña, ni huerto, ni puerto – Leap year, no home, nor vineyard, nor orchard, nor port.

The chances of being born on a leap day are 1 in 1,461. 

Funnily enough, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is the most famous Spaniard to be born on February 29th, which means that today he actually turns 13 (okay, he’s really 52).


El 2024 es año bisiesto, lo cual quiere decir que habrá 366 días en el año.

2024 is a leap year, which means that there will 366 days in the year. 

Cumplir años el día 29 de febrero es una putada, sólo lo puedes celebrar oficialmente cada cuatro años. 

Having your birthday on February 29th is a real shame, you can only officially celebrate it every four years.

La Tierra tarda 365 días, 5 horas, 46 minutos y 48 segundos en dar una vuelta completa al Sol, lo cual explica porque existen los años bisiestos.

Planet Earth takes 365 days, 5 hours, 46 minutes and 48 seconds to complete orbit the sun, which explains why leap years exist.