[#011] ¡Quedé para el orto!

A couple of days ago I came across a new Facebook page called “Quedé para el orto” and I thought I could explain the meaning of that expression on this blog.


We’ll start with the word “orto“. It’s the same as “culo“, that is to say, “ass”. Now, “culo” in Spain is the ordinary word used to refer to the buttocks, but here in the River Plate area we would normally say “cola” instead. “Culo“, in contrast, is somewhat vulgar here. Some decades ago, it was an awful thing to say, but it has recently become less offensive, though, and now you can use it safely among your friends as if it were any other everyday word. In fact, we have lots of expressions that include “culo“.

But let’s go back to the expression “para el orto/culo” (or also “como el orto/culo“). This means “very bad”, usually in a not so sweet-sounding manner. Here are some examples:

    ¿Cómo te fue en la entrevista? (How did the interview go?)
    Me fue para el orto. (It went really bad.)

    ¿Cómo andás? (How are you?)
    Como el culo. (Pretty bad.)

    ¿Te llegó mi mail? (Did you get my e-mail?)
    No, internet me anda para el culo. (No, my Internet connection sucks.)

    ¿Te gusta cantar? (Do you like singing?)
    No, canto como el orto. (No, I sing awful.)

So going back to the title of the Facebook page, the expression “quedar para el orto” means “to end up in a very bad situation” or “to look really bad”. The idea of that Facebook page is then to share different situations in which people do wrong, embarrassing or ridiculous things, just for fun.

I’ll share one of the page’s posts with you:


Quick translation: A guy in the bus wouldn’t stop looking at me, so I was acting like a diva looking out of the window. Ten minutes later he comes to me, touches my arm, and tells me: “there’s tooth paste on your chin”.

There it is: that person “quedó para el orto” in that situation.

By the way, in that example there are some other words worth-mentioning:

    Un flaco (a guy)
    El bondi (the bus)
    Pera (chin)

The word “flaco“, for instance, actually means “thin”. But when it is used as a noun, it just means “guy”, regardless of the physical appearance of the person it refers to.

Do you remember the word “bondi“? We have seen it in a previous entry of this blog.

And finally, in other Spanish-speaking areas “chin” is translated as “mentón” or “barbilla“, but here we normally say “pera” (just like the fruit “pear”). I don’t really know why, but maybe it has something to do with the fact that we, rioplatófonos, siempre mandamos fruta… 😉

Anyway, if you want to check out the website and have a laugh reading other similar anecdotes, you can click here. There’s lots of rioplatense expressions to practise in there, so… Have fun!

[#002] Colectivo

How would you say in castellano rioplatense “to catch the bus”? For example: “Hurry up! We have to catch the bus!”


I received this comment on the first blog entry, where we discussed how to say “take a taxi” in Rioplatense Spanish. Since the topic is related, I decided to answer straightaway.


If you are familiar with the word “autobús“, that’s fine. Rioplatófonos will certainly understand that term. But in español rioplatense we have a special word to refer to a bus that runs in urban areas. We call it “colectivo“, and its driver is referred to as “colectivero“. These are common, everyday words. But we also have an informal word to refer to these buses, and that word is “bondi“. If you want to have a laugh and learn more about bondis and public transportation in Buenos Aires, I suggest having a look at this funny website called De bondis. You will find lots of Rioplatense expressions there, too!

Now, if the bus you have in mind is a long-distance one, then we will not probably use the word “colectivo” or “bondi” in that case, but “ómnibus” or “micro” instead.

  • But how do you say “to catch a bus” then?

Well, as we’ve seen in the previous entry, in this case we wouldn’t use the verb “coger” at all. We can simply say “tomar el colectivo” or also “agarrar el colectivo“. The latter conveys this idea of catching the bus or having little time to take it with more precision.

In fact, the verb “agarrar” translates better as “to grab”, and if you look at its internal structure, you will spot the noun “garra” in it, which means “claw”. Rioplatófonos don’t really have claws, of course. But hey, we do not need to be Wolverine to use this verb, right? 😉 Anyway, it may be easier for some people to remember the word “agarrar” by making this connection, so that’s why I’m pointing it out.

So, in a nutshell…

    “Hurry up! We have to catch the bus!” = “¡Apurate! ¡Tenemos que agarrar el colectivo!”