Here are a few words and expressions in Castilian Spanish that don’t exist in English, and perhaps could be borrowed. Foreigners speakers of Spanish in Spain certainly use so of them with alarming frequency with other English speakers in Spain, as do our Spanish friends and spouses. The list does not include food terms (covered elsewhere on iberianature) and most cultural terms (architectural, historical, bullfighting terms, etc)
In some cases, a simple word doesn’t exist in English (tuerto – one-eyed man) while in others the whole concept doesn’t exist (consuegros – a child’s spouse’s parents)
More to come
- compaginar: slot together” or “integrate timetables
- consuegros – child’s spouse’s parents
- El de la verguenza – that last tasty morsel (e.g. a biscuit) which everybody feels embarrassed about taking. I suggest from now on calling this the shameful one in English, as members of my family now do.
- enchufe – beyond the simple dictionary definition of plug, enchufe means a connection, knowing somebody, being well connected, knowing the right people, that sort of thing when you want something done. So, if you have an enchufe, it might very well make it easier to get a job.
- estrenar – to try out something for the first time, often in the sense of wearestrenar zapatos. A football team might also estrenar un nuevo estadio Anestreno is the first night of a film.
- gestor – a kind of financial administrator, not quite an accountant, not quite a solicitor.
One word that you will hear a lot in Spain is gestor. The position is difficult to describe, simply because this agency does not exist in many countries. His main role is the interface between the public – in this case you – and the public administration. Generally, in UK you do not need any kind of interface, and when you do, it is clear that you should see a solicitor. In some other countries there will also be some person, or official in this kind of position. From here (continue reading)
- homologar – compare and equate standards of
- lampiño – without a beard or with little hair. Note, also inberbe, a beardless youth.
- lustro – five years
- manco – one-armed man
- mimoso – as an adjective somebody who loves to be pampered/made a fuss of. Also a noun.
- monte – in the sense of wild land (as opposed to just hill) monte does not exist in British English but equates to the Southern African English bush and the Australian outback. Echarse al monte means to take to the hills, and by extension, los del monte, the maquis fighters.
- morbo – a dark fascination
- muda – change of underwear
- palomina: pigeon guano
En la localidad de Oliete (Teruel, España) se recogía la palomina que se acumulaba en la sima de San Pedro, lugar donde crían palomas. Existía una plataforma con torno en el borde de la sima para descender a los que recogían la palomina y luego elevarlos con la carga. Wikipedia
- recogerse – to go indoors in the evening
- resol – Reflected sunshine off the wall, floor, etc. that some Spaniards try to avoid in summer… as in, “We can’t sit at that table” (at a terrazza) “it’s got a parasol, but there’s a lot of resol” (Michael)
- sobremesa – the time spent after lunch sitting round the table and talking
- tertulia – a learned discussion, often as a regular event in a bar
- tuerto – one-eyed man
- zurdo – left-hander
Under debate: cursi, hortero, normalización lingüística, traspaso
Thanks to contributions from Glennie, Francis, Lucy, Michael, Lisa Howe, Patrick and Mónica.