[#023] Faltan 35 horas para Navidad

The countdown to Christmas has already started. And lots of rioplatenses will celebrate it too. So yeah, we can say that Christmas is definitely in the air… And everywhere you look around! Even on your own Facebook home page.

As I was scrolling down on Facebook and seeing my friends’ post, likes and stuff, I came across a Facebook page called Me lo dijo un forro. The idea behind this page is to share phrases or comments made by forros (i.e. assholes). We have already talked about this typical rioplatense insult on a previous entry.

And this is the actual image I came across. It shows a typical dialogue that can take place in an authentic rioplatense family gathered to celebrate Navidad (or Christmas):

Feliz Navidad

Now, here we see the word “boludo” again (used in its mild version, not as an insult). We have already talked about it several times, so if this is the first time you see it, you can click on its tag and read more about it. But what about the word Crónica? As they argue about the exact hour and whether it is already Christmas or not, someone says “poné Crónica” (which means “turn on/switch to Crónica“). Well, this is an important cultural point that I decided to share with you today.

Crónica TV is a well-known news cable channel (and newspaper) in the city of Buenos Aires. It is really popular, but definitely sensationalist. So you can expect all kinds of funny and bizarre news to be broadcast 24/7. This channel is best known for the use of big white letters on red screens to announce “breaking news”. And the typical background music used while telling the news is a US military march: The Stars and Stripes Forever. Why such a choice? I have no fucking clue.

Anyway, I will share now some bizarre news that you can find on Crónica TV, so that you can get a better picture of what Crónica usually means to us, rioplatenses.

This is the kind of news that you are bound to find on this channel. I hope you can understand the news, but if you have any questions, you can leave them on the comment section below. The countdown to springtime is one of the most popular, together with the countdown to Christmas/New Year. That’s probably why in our initial dialogue we find people saying that you should check Crónica on Christmas Eve. If it’s Christmas already you will be seeing lots of crazy fireworks on the screen. Otherwise, you will see huge numbers telling you how many minutes/seconds are left before midnight.

And finally, I’ll give you a bonus video, where you can see some interesting news about a car crash… Well, the interesting part is actually that the only witness was Batman.


[#015] ¡Ahí lo tenés al pelotudo!

After being away for a while, here we have a new rioplatense word that is worth learning: “pelotudo“.


This is a very commonly used word in informal contexts in the River Plate area, and it has actually the same meaning as another word that we have already discussed in a previous entry. Can you guess? I’m talking about the word “boludo“.

Just like “boludo“, the word “pelotudo” has exactly the same literal meaning: “someone with big balls”. But it is used only as an insult, with the meaning of “fool” or “dumbass”. You might remember that “boludo” can also be used to refer to someone in a friendly manner, totally devoid of its negative connotation, just like “dude” or “mate”. However, that is not usually the case for the word “pelotudo“. Even if your friends won’t probably get mad at you for calling them “pelotudos“, remember it will always mean “idiot” or “fool”, with different degrees of aggressiveness, of course, depending on the intonation, situation, etc. For example:

    No seas pelotudo y dejá de llorar.
    Don’t be silly and stop crying.

    Ah, ¡creí que era verdad! Soy un pelotudo
    Oh, I thought it was true! I’m so stupid.

    ¡Qué pelotudo que sos!
    You’re such a dumbass!

I will now share with you a short scene taken from a well-known Argentine comedy film: Esperando la carroza (“Waiting for the Hearse”). This isn’t actually a very recent movie. It’s from 1986, but it has become a cult classic and it very well depicts several cultural aspects and stereotypes of the traditional rioplatense society. So if you want to learn a bit more about rioplatófonos and you don’t mind watching a movie with no astonishing special effects, I highly recommend it!

Anyway, here’s the scene:

And here’s a transcription of the dialogue, plus an approximate translation afterwards:

    —¡Ahí lo tenés al pelotudo! *tocan bocina*
    —¿A mí?
    —¡Cacho! Vos sos Cacho, ¿no? Nosotros somos tus tíos. ¿Te acordás?
    —Uhh… ¡La puta que los parió! Maricones, ahora van a ver… *pincha la pelota* Para que aprendan, ¡hijos de puta!
    —¿La viste a tu abuela?
    *los chicos tiran piedras a Cacho*
    —¡Paren! ¡Paren, carajo!
    —Ya van a ver cuando los agarre.
    —Pará, no te calentés. Pará, escuchame. ¿La viste a tu abuela?
    —Mi madre. La madre de tu mamá.
    —¡Será posible! ¿No sabés lo que es una abuela?
    —¿Dónde está tu mamá?
    —Fue a comprar comida.
    —Bueno, escuchame. Cuando vuelva, que llame urgente a la casa del tío Sergio.
    —¿Cuál tío Sergio?

    —There you have him, the dumbass! *they sound the horn*
    —(Are you calling) me?
    —Cacho! You are Cacho, right? We are your uncles. Do you remember (us)?
    —Ohh… Mother fuckers! Faggots, you’ll see now… *stabs the ball* You’ll know better (next time), sons of a bitch!
    —Have you seen your grandmother?
    *kids throw stones at Cacho*
    —Stop! Stop it, fuck!
    —You’ll see (what I’ll do) when I get ya…
    —Hey, don’t get mad. Calm down, listen to me. Have you seen your grandmother?
    —My mother. Your mum’s mother.
    —Do you REALLY not know what a grandmother is?!
    —Where is your mum?
    —She’s gone to get some food.
    —Ok, listen to me. When she gets back, (tell her to) call uncle Sergio as soon as possible.
    —Uncle Sergio who?

From this dialogue and the way Cacho is characterized in this scene of the movie I guess you can probably gather why they call him “pelotudo“, right?

If there are other words or expressions from this scene that you would like me to cover here, leave a note in the comments section. For now, I just want to focus a bit on the verb “calentarse“. As you can see in the translation provided, when the man says “no te calentés” to Cacho, he is telling him to calm down, to not get mad or angry.

I guess this may not be exclusive to castellano rioplatense, but I still want to point it out as this word may cause some trouble if used in the wrong contexts. Of course, “calentarse” can be used in its literal meaning of “getting hot”. So someone could be “calentándose” if they are next to a heater or in the sunlight. But if someone “se calienta“, it can also mean that they are getting angry, as in the case of Cacho when the kids throw stones at him… Or also that they are getting aroused or turned on! So be careful with these three meanings and how you use this verb.

And to finish this post, we can use the two new expressions together in one sentence: ¡No te calentés, pelotudo! 😉

But hey, more than one translation is possible there…

[#007] ¡Qué boluda!

In the previous entry, we discussed the word “boludo“, its meaning and possible connotations.

Today, I want to share with you a couple of videos where this word is used. These videos belong in fact to a campaign made by the Argentine Red Cross in 2008. The slogan for this campagin was the following:

Campaña Cruz Roja

Can you understand the meaning of this phrase? The words “BOLUDO” and “BOLUDEZ” are used in two different senses here. If we translate this into English, it will probably be difficult to keep the pun between the words. But for this blog entry we just need to understand the meaning of the text, so this could be a literal translation of the slogan:

    In the country where we all call one another SILLY/STUPID, helping had to be EASY.

As you can see, the idea behind this slogan is to encourage people to do something that is considered very easy: make a small donation. If this is a “boludez“, it’s something everyone can do. And if we all call one another “boludo“, you can’t help but feel identified with this campaign.

Here is the first video I want to share. You will see an elderly woman (China Zorrilla, a famous Uruguayan actress) talking about the Red Cross campaign and also about the word “boludo“.

Here is a transcription of the video, plus an approximate translation of what the woman says:

Enviá un mensaje con la palabra AYUDA al 2789.
Send a message with the word HELP to the number 2789.

Donás $1 y salvás una vida.
You donate 1 peso and you save a life.

Eso me encantó. Hasta que lo di vuelta.
I loved that. Until I turned it over.

Y mirá con lo que me encuentro.
And look what I find.

“En el país donde todos nos decimos BOLUDO…”
“In the country where we all call one another BOLUDO…”

¿Pero qué es eso?
But what is that?

No todos nos decimos “boludo”.
Not all of us call one another “boludo”.

Yo no le digo “boludo” a la gente. La gente no me dice “boluda” a mí.
I don’t call other people “boludo”. Nobody calls me “boluda”.

¡Mirá lo que fueron a colocar!
Look at what they wrote!

No, yo el aviso no lo puedo hacer porque yo no digo “boluda”.
No, I can’t do this ad because I don’t say “boluda”.

Ay, me quiero morir. ¡Me quiero morir! Me puse la pollera al revés.
Oh, I want to die. I want to die! I’m wearing my skirt inside out.

¡Qué boluda!
How silly of me!

As you can see, this woman seems to consider this word offensive or vulgar. That’s why she makes it very clear that she doesn’t use this word, and she says that she refuses to do the ad for the campaign. But in the end, to her surprise, she finds herself actually using the word when she realizes she did something silly. She then calls herself “boluda“.

In the second video, in contrast, you will see a man (Mario Pergollini, a well-known TV presenter from Argentina) who has no problem in using this word. Here it is:

I’ll transcribe only the first part:

Hola, boludo. ¡Sí, a vos!
Hi, boludo. Yes, you!

Si los argentinos nos decimos siempre “boludo”.
(‘Cause) we Argentines always call one another “boludo”.

No lo digo yo, eh. Lo decimos todos.
I’m not the (only) one saying it, eh. We all do.

¿Quién es? Araceli
Who is it? Araceli

¡Subí, boludo!
Come on up, dumbass!

Ay, la blusa… ¡Qué, boluda!
Oh, my blouse… How stupid of me!

I hope these videos give you a better idea of the different ways in which this word can be used in different contexts. There are some other videos of this campaign, too. So feel free to look for them on Youtube if you want to.

But don’t worry too much. This word will keep appearing in future entries anyway, so you will be seeing more boludos and more boludeces here soon! There’s no way you won’t end up using it just like a true rioplatófono. 😉

[#006] ¡No digas boludeces, boludo!

Last year, Juan Gelman (Argentine poet, winner of the Cervantes Prize in 2007) was asked to choose one word that would identify and represent all of Argentina. Only one word. He chose “boludo“.

Boludo” is a relatively recent word that started to spread really quickly in the River Plate area. In fact, it is one of the first words you’ll learn here, and since you can hear it everywhere, it is definitely very useful to know its meaning.

It is so much used nowadays, that it has actually become a hallmark of the Rioplatense Spanish variety. It is not used by other Spanish speakers, unless of course they are referring to (or making fun of) us, rioplatófonos.

Here is a picture that I took in the city of Montréal, at the amusement park La Ronde.


The moment I saw this word written on this post, I knew I wasn’t probably the first rioplatófono to visit the park.

  • So what does “boludo” mean?

The word “boludo” comes form the noun “bola” (“ball”) and it simply means “someone with big balls”. But that’s the literal meaning. In reality, when rioplatófonos use this word, we are not (normally?) talking about the size of our testicles. “Boludo” means simply “idiot” or “fool”. Therefore, you don’t need to be a man to be a boludo. Boludas, or silly women, also exist.

It started out as an insult, yes. And a very bad one indeed. If you had received a good education at home, you were not supposed to use such a terrible swear word… Except everybody started using it. It spread really quickly. And the more it was used, the less strong it started to sound. So much so that, for some situations, it eventually lost all its negative connotation. So instead of using this word to refer to a stupid person, all of a sudden it became possible to use this word to refer to just… a person. Yes, the word “boludo” can now also be translated as “buddy” or “mate”.

It can still be used as an insult, though. So you have to pay attention to its context in order to understand its meaning. Do the people using this word know each other? Are they close? What has happened? Are they angry at each other? Knowing this kind of information will clarify the meaning. Here are some examples of the possible ways in which this word can be understood:

¿Qué hacés, boludo? (What’s up, buddy?)
¡No seas boludo, che! (Don’t be silly, man!)
¡Qué boludo que sos! (You’re such an idiot!)
¡Qué boludo que sos, boludo! (You’re so silly, dude!)

Mind you, sometimes it’s all about intonation. The same phrase can imply either a neutral or a negative attitude, depending on the way it is said.

  • Are there other words related to “boludo“?

Of course! We have, for example, the verb “boludear“, which has two meanings. When it’s used on its own (just “boludear“), it means to waste time, to do nothing really important, to mess around. However, when it’s used in the structure “boludear a alguien (someone)”, it means to tell lies to someone in order to deceive them or hide something from them.

—¿Qué andás haciendo, Juan? (What are you doing, Juan?)
—Nada, acá ando, boludeando (Nothing, just here, messing around)
—Dale, no me boludees (Come on, don’t lie to me)

Another related word is the noun “boludez“. It can be translated as “nonsense” or “rubbish”, or it can also refer to something that is very easy to do or solve (or well, something so simple that even a boludo could do it!)

—Todavía tengo que escribir el ensayo (I still have to write the essay)
—Es una boludez, ¡yo ya lo hice! (It’s very easy, I’ve already done it!)
—¡No digas boludeces! Hay que escribir un montón (That’s nonsense! There’s a lot to write about)
—Calmate, boludo, y tomate un mate. ¡Yo te ayudo! (Calm down, dude, and have a mate. I’ll help you out!)

Calm down, boludo

After reading the previous examples, I guess you can now easily understand the title of this entry: “¡No digas boludeces, boludo!“. “Decir boludeces” means to talk nonsense, to say stupid things.

Alright, I guess that’s enough for today. We’ve seen the words “boludo“, “boludear” and “boludez“. Next time I’ll probably share a video with you, so you can listen to these expressions and try to spot the different meanings.

Start practising them! 😉