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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 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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