For members


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
Is the Spanish word 'chachi' a mispronunciation of (Winston) Churchill? Photo: AFP

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 that was popularised by a 90s’ kids show on TV called Telebuten, but it’s now a rather outdated way of saying ‘cool’ in Spanish.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.


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.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Spanish Expression of the Day: ‘No comerse una rosca’

In today’s Spanish Expression of the Day, we look at what not eating doughnuts has to do with sex.

Spanish Expression of the Day: 'No comerse una rosca'

If someone says in Spanish ‘no comerse una rosca’, it means that a person is not having much success with their romantic conquests.

So although no comerse una rosca means ‘to not eat a doughnut’ in its literal sense, it really refers to someone having problems getting laid, flirting and so on. 

It’s just one of a wide array of funny Spanish expressions to do with sex, many of which are included in the article linked just here. 

READ MORE: Ten hilarious Spanish expressions to refer to sex

In case you’re wondering how this odd colloquial expression came about, it’s believed to have originated during Madrid’s famous San Isidro patron saint celebrations. 

During this spring festival in the Spanish capital, it used to be customary to have a rosca in Madrid’s San Isidro Park together with a glass of ‘miracle’ water from the local chapel’s fountain. 

Tradition marked that if a young unmarried woman or man accepted the sugary dough treat from a potential suitor, they were in turn giving them thumbs up for their courtship.

Therefore, if someone wasn’t given a rosca by a potential partner, it was understood that they had not broken any hearts and were going hungry that night, so to speak. 

And so, no comerse una rosca came to be known as ‘not scoring’, in the romantic sense. 

Nowadays, if someone isn’t finding much success in other walks of life – whether it be locating something, passing an exam or making money –  no comerse una rosca can also be used. 

However, it’s mainly used to refer to physical and romantic relationships, or the lack of them rather.

It’s also acceptable to use the masculine form un rosco rather than una rosca, as in no comerse un rosco.


Salgo de fiesta todos los findes pero no me como una rosca.

I go out partying every weekend but I never score.

Si te vistes así no te vas a comer una rosca.

If you dress like that you’re not going to get any. 

El no se come una rosca, pero tú no paras de pillar cacho.

He’s getting absolutely nowhere, but you can’t stop pulling.