The variant of Spanish spoken in Chile includes many words that are only used in the country and that reflect its idiosyncrasy. Their presence in Chilean everyday language has led Real Academia Española (Spanish Royal Academy, RAE) to include these words in the different editions of their official Spanish Language Dictionary.
This year, at Feria Internacional del Libro (Chile’s International Book Fair, FILSA) that took place a couple of days ago in Santiago, the Spanish entity launched this new version that had previously been presented in October. RAE’s director, José Manuel Blecua and the director of the Chilean Academy of Language, Alfredo Matus, attended this new launch ceremony.
The Chilean words included in RAE’S Spanish Language Dictionary previously amounted to 1.882, a number that has now increased to 2.214; and they constitute 1% of the total words present in the compilation. The words vary and range from everyday words to colloquialisms. Here, we invite you to learn the meaning of some of them in the following list.
Fome means that something is boring. The origins of the word are not very clear, but it is believed that they go back to the Portuguese word “fome”, which means hunger. The relation between the two meanings is given by the fact that in Chile, considering that something is boring implies that we are not satisfied with it, similar to when one is hungry. However, in Chile, the word “fome” is only applicable when it refers to entertainment.
The word has mapuche origins and it means “to be naked”. It also refers to a typical type of baby clothes used in Chile which do not cover the arms or the legs. This kind of clothes are used in hot days in a similar fashion to underwear. “Pilucho” adds up to the stock of words with Mapuche origins that had been included in previous editions of the dictionary, such as “guata” (belly), and “quiltro” (dog).
This word also has Mapuche origins. The root “traipi” means “chili”. In this case, it refers to the stinging sensation that comes after eating a chili, similar to that felt when one chokes. In this new edition, RAE defines trapicarse as “choking with a liquid or pieces of food”.
This adjective means “to impose by force”. Its origins go back to the word “matón”, which refers to a person that “intimidates the rest”. This two words derive from the verb “to kill” (matar in Spanish).
Colemono is a Christmas’ typical beverage in Chile. As RAE defines it, it is “a drink made with liqueur, milk, coffee and spices”. It is believed that the name comes from Chile’s former President Pedro Montt and two particular anecdotes that relate to him. One refers to the fact that during a social gathering at the time of his term, somebody named a drink “Colt de Montt” in his honor, which later derived into “Colemono”. The other one refers to the time when Montt lost the presidential elections to Germán Riesco in 1901. There, an ice-cream man named an ice-cream melted with liqueur “Cola de Montt”.