[#009] Frutas, turros y verduras

In our previous post, we included a comic strip near the end of the entry. But since it’s a fairly well-known comic strip around here, I felt it deserved a better introduction. So that’s what we’ll be doing today!

The name of that comic strip is Gaturro and it was created by Nik (Cristian Dzwonik). Gaturro is also the name of the main character: the cat. This name comes from the Spanish words “gato” (“cat”) and “turro“, which in this case means something like “mischievous” or “roguish”.

In fact, the word “turro/a” comes from lunfardo, a special kind of slang quite common in the River Plate area. We will probably talk more about lunfardo in a different entry, but let’s just say for now that the word “turro” originally means “a dishonest person”, someone who gets what they want even if that requires cheating others. A kind of trickster. But it also has a lighter or more innocent meaning (like the one mentioned in the previous paragraph) and therefore it can be used in a more playful manner, as in the name of this cartoon character.

Today, I’ll share with you another strip of Gaturro to learn a couple of rioplatense expressions. Here it is:

Gaturro frutas y verduras

So here we have Gaturro, playing with food and using it as a costume or disguise: the Carrot Vampire, Mr. Cucumber, etc.

But then Ágatha comes in saying she is Queen Strawberry and Gaturro doesn’t seem to like that. He uses two similar informal expressions: “mandar fruta” and “cualquier verdura“. These are two idiomatic expressions that can be applied to any situation, so even though Gaturro is covered in food, he isn’t really talking about fruit or vegetables. Or is he? That’s actually the joke, having both the literal and figurative interpretation at the same time.

  • But what do these expressions mean anyway?

The first expression, “mandar fruta” (or “to send fruit”, literally), means to say something that is not actually true, or to talk about something one does not really know much about. Some entries ago, we saw the verb “boludear“, which had two meanings. Do you remember them? One of them was actually very similar to “mandar fruta“. Here you have some other similar ways of expressing what Gaturro is saying.

    No me mandés fruta.
    No me boludees.
    No me mientas.
    No me digas cualquier cosa.
    No seas turra.

A typical example where you can use or hear this expression is after sitting for an exam. Suppose you are talking with a friend about how the exam went and you say the following:

    I hadn’t studied much for the exam and I didn’t know what to write, so in the end… mandé fruta.

This means you wrote anything you could think of, even if you didn’t have a clue, in order to try and get a pass in your exam.

The second expression, “cualquier verdura” (or “any vegetables”, literally), means simply “anything”. So, following the example of the exam, you could tell your friend:

    “I hadn’t studied much for the exam and I didn’t know what to write, so in the end… escribí cualquier verdura“.

Going back to Gaturro now, he could have just said “venía divirtiéndome con cualquier cosa” (“I was having fun with anything/whatever”). But the point here was clearly to play with the words “fruta” and “verdura“, while using these two expressions together. Besides, they also make sense from a literal point of view, as Gaturro was only talking about vegetables until Ágatha came in and mentioned a fruit.

By the way, I hope you noticed Gaturro’s use of tacit “vos” instead of ““, when he says “mandés“, instead of “mandes“.

Alright, that’s all for today! And now that we are at it anyway, don’t forget to eat your fruit and vegetables. 😉

¡Hasta la próxima!

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