[#017] Pasame el coso

Which is the Spanish word in the River Plate area that means both nothing and everything at the same time? Any clue? Look at the following picture:


Yes, today’s word is “coso“. Of course, nothing in the room in the previous picture is actually called “coso“, yet everything could be referred to using that word!

This word sure looks like the masculine form of the word “cosa” (“thing”), but it doesn’t work just like that. It is mainly used in the following special situations: when there is something that doesn’t have a clear name, or when you don’t know/remember the name of something in particular. And that is precisely why this word can be very useful to learners of Spanish, too!

A typical example of something that is usually referred to with this word in Spanish is the pizza saver: that thingy that prevents the cheese from sticking to the pizza box.


If you do some research online, you will see that some people say it is (or should be) called “guardapizzas” or “trípode“, but I assure you that calling it just “el cosito de la pizza” is way more common! To us it’s just “that little thingy on the pizza”, you know?

But as I said before, a “coso” doesn’t necessarily have to be something that doesn’t have a clear name. Suppose you see something in the distance and you have no clue what that could be. In that case, you could tell someone: “¡Mirá ese coso! ¿Qué será?” (Look at that! What could it be?)

Or suppose you’re talking about a very common object or simple thing, but you just can’t remember the word for it at the moment: “Pasame el coso… Ese coso. ¿Cómo se llama? No me sale. ¡Ay, el sacacorcho!” (Give me that thingy… That one. What’s it called? I can’t remember. Oh, the corkscrew!)

What’s more, “coso” can even replace the name of a person: “Anoche vi a… Coso. Tu amigo. ¿Cómo se llama? El de rulos.” (Yesterday night I saw… Hmm, your friend. What’s his name? The one with curly hair.)

You may also come across this word if you go to a ferretería or hardware store. Look at the following picture:

Cosito Del Coso

Apparently, when we go to ferreterías to buy something, we don’t always know/remember the right name for that thingy we need (nut? screw? bolt? washer?) that goes attached to the other thingy… And so we resort to our multifaceted friend, “el coso“!

And last, but not least, “coso” may also be used as a muletilla or filler word, very much like “so” or “well”, but only in very informal contexts. In these cases it refers to nothing in particular; it just helps us connect different utterances or start a new one.

Bueno, coso 😉 To bring this entry to an end, let’s now have a look at the following comic strip:


Buenas” is an informal way to greet someone and it can be used at any time of the day, and “botón” doesn’t mean “button” in this context. In Rioplatense Spanish, someone who is referred to as “botón” is actually a tattletale, or just someone who discloses information that should not be revealed.

So, any clue what that thingy on the man’s head is? If you have no idea like me, no worries. You now know it can just be a “coso“!


[#016] ¡Hijo de re mil P*7@!

To many people studying a foreign language, learning typical insults and swear words is one of the first, fun things to do. We’ve already seen some common insults in Rioplatense Spanish, like boludo and pelotudo, but there’s an interesting video which will help us learn lots of other words, too.

In this video you will see a rioplatófona recording a message for her boyfriend. Here it goes:

Did you understand the message? I’ll add a transcription below, but let’s go over it quickly anyway. One thing is obvious: this girl is really mad (or muy caliente) at her boyfriend… Apparently he left her a note on a napkin saying he wants to take some time for himself and put off the wedding. Lovely, right? This is why she loses her temper and shouts several insults at him by the end of the video. Have a look at the transcription and we’ll focus on the swear words afterwards:

    Hola, mi nombre es Rocío Linares, para los que no me conocen. Hoy a la mañana me levanté y encontré esto:

    Buen día, hermosa:
    Para cuando leas esta carta, ya no voy a estar aquí. Sabemos que los últimos días no fueron lo mejor de nuestra relación. Después de lo que pasó el otro día en la quinta llegué a la conclusión que no quiero ser como todos los demás. Aunque sé que faltan 2 meses para el gran evento, le pido disculpas a tu viejo. Sé que está todo pago, pero bueh… Necesito tomarme unos días/semanas. Si realmente creés en el amor que hay entre nosotros, te pido, por favor, que respetes este tiempo. Esta decisión es por el bien de los dos. No me llames, no voy a atender.
    PD: Me dejé unas cosas. ¿Me las guardás? Va a pasar a buscarlas Fito. Te amo, cucaracha.

    ¡Hijo de puta!
    Esto no es una carta, Matías. Esto es una servilleta de papel.
    ¿De qué quinta me estás hablando? Yo no fui a ninguna quinta, Matías. ¿Qué quinta? No te entiendo.
    Vos, para mí, sos exactamente igual al resto de los hombres que conozco. Unos cagones, hijos de puta, abandónicos. Usan, usan y tiran. Eso es lo peor, Matías Galetto.
    El gran evento, te voy avisando una cosa, Mati, es nuestro casamiento.
    Pero bueh, o sea, yo levanto el teléfono, pero bueh, y le digo a la gente, se canceló el casamiento, pero bueh, ahora me meto todo el casamiento en el culo, pero bueh.
    ¿De qué amor me estás hablando, Matías, si lo único que hay es abandono acá? Vos me estás dejando con una servilleta, Matías.
    Matu, Matías Galetto, con doble T de trava hijo de puta, garca de mierda, chanta, mentiroso, forro. Me estás usando con esto. ¿Cómo me vas a dejar una servilleta? Hijo de puta, ¿qué te pasa? ¿No te sube oxígeno a la poronga? ¿No podés pensar? ¿Qué tenés, mierda, en la cabeza? Hijo de re mil puta. Matías, tenés un día para explicarme qué mierda es esta servilleta que me dejaste. Ya, como quieras. Mandame un mensaje, señales de humo, una paloma mensajera, lo que se te cante el ojete, pero me explicás qué es esto. Y al final mi viejo tenía razón: sos un pelotudo.


The first one is easy: “hijo de puta” means simply “son of a bitch”. This is of course a very common insult. The girl in the video also uses a more emphatic version near the end, though. She says “hijo de re mil puta“. We have already talked about the use of “re” as an intensifier, and now you can see that we can also add “mil” (“thousand”) in some cases too. So this wouldn’t be just any son of a bitch, but the worst son of the worst bitch ever.

Cagones” means “cowards”. The word “cagón“/”cagona” comes from the verb “cagar” (“to shit”), so here we’re literally saying “someone who shits (their pants as a result of being scared)”.

Garca de mierda” brings up a new word, “garca“, which in fact isn’t that new. It comes right from the verb “cagar”, but you just swap the syllables. Changing the order of the syllables is a common thing in lunfardo, the typical slang of español rioplatense. Anyway, “cagar a alguien” (“to shit on someone”) means to screw them over, to do something bad to them. So that’s what someone described as “garca” does. In this case, Matías is clearly being a “garca” towards Rocío.

Trava” is a word usually used in a pejorative way to describe a man who dresses as a woman.

Then, Rocío says “chanta, mentiroso, forro“. These three words are somewhat related. In fact, a “chanta” in the River Plate area is someone who lies all the time, i.e. un mentiroso. And someone referred to as “forro” is simply an “asshole” or a “jerk”. The word “forro” actually means “protective cover” in a general sense and, more specifically, “condom”.

No te sube oxígeno a la poronga” would be something like “your poronga is not getting any oxygen” (“poronga” being slang for “penis”). This would be another version of the less vulgar expression “no te sube oxígeno a la cabeza“, meaning you can’t think/you can’t use your brain.

Lo que se te cante el ojete” means “whatever you feel like doing”, but in a more vulgar way. The word “ojete” means “ass”, so this is basically “what your ass decides (sings) to do”.

And finally, “sos un pelotudo“. But you already know that one.

The only thing left to say is that (fortunately?) this video isn’t real. It’s just the first video of a YouTube series, so they are just acting. You can go and check out how the story continues. Just be careful. You are likely to get bombarded with plenty of Rioplatense slang! 🙂