The most typical words of each Autonomous Community in Spain

Spanish is a very varied language from which different dialects typical of each region of Spain derive. In addition, each community has a special way of expressing itself, full of localisms, which make our country even richer. As an example of this, we have selected some of the typical words from each autonomous community. Some of the terms you will surely have heard, while others may sound like Chinese to you.

Ceuta

Rather than a list of typical words from each autonomous community, in this case we have selected a term from the autonomous city of Ceuta.

Mojarra: if you try to look up this word in the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy you will have to change the j for the h. Moharra is then defined as ‘spearhead’. Like many of the words in Spanish, this term comes from Arabic, where moharrab means ‘sharp’. In Ceuta, this word is used to refer to gossips, rumours. The expression “darle a la mojarra” is synonymous with criticism.

Galicia

Morriña: used to express a feeling of sadness and nostalgia that is felt when being away from home and loved ones. The simplest translation would be to miss one’s own country. The word morriña comes from the Galician-Portuguese morrinha. Despite the fact that we are talking about words that are typical of each autonomous community, the truth is that the use of this word has spread to other parts of Spain.

Reseso: the bread of the day before in Galicia is called reseso bread.

Community of Madrid

Mazo: it is impossible not to hear this word if you step on Madrid soil. It is used as a substitute for very / very much. The main rule to talk like a local is to include 3 mazos for every five words.

Valencian Community

Del tiempo y natural: if what you want is an iced coffee to withstand the high temperatures of the Levante, then you should ask for a café del tiempo. What in the rest of Spain would be understood as a warm coffee, has a totally different meaning there. On the other hand, if you want water at room temperature you have to refer to it as agua natural.

Ché!: for many it is the Valencian word par excellence. It can be used to show any kind of emotion, be it joy, sadness, anger… Let’s say it is a catch-all word that not everyone can include in their vocabulary in the same way as a local does. Only the Valencians know how to use it in the right way and at the right time.

Melilla

Masiso: if you like a piece of clothing or an accessory or if it suits you, besides looking good in it, a piece of clothing can be “masisa”. In Melilla, masiso is used, therefore, to represent that something fits well.

Asturias

Guaje: among the typical words of each autonomous community, this is one of the best known. In Asturias, children are not children but guajes. Where does the word come from? From something as Asturian as mining. This is what those who washed the coal were called, normally the youngest miners. And why guaje? Because of the English term washer, which would be something like “the one who washes”. The RAE has accepted this word as localism of Asturias and León.

Prao, prau: any piece of land with a bit of green is called prau, even if it is what the rest of Spain knows as grass. Special mention should be made of the Asturian village festivals – blessed prau festivals!

Both guaje and prau are two words that we could not leave out of this list of typical words of each autonomous community.

Basque Country

Potear/ poteo: refers to the act of going from bar to bar, normally with a group of friends or family, to have a pote (drink) in each establishment. If the poteo is accompanied by pintxos, to soak up the alcohol, you already have an unbeatable plan.

Gaupasa: going out in gaupasa is like saying in the Basque Country to go out and not come back until the next day. The term comes from the Basque language gaua: night and pasa: to stay, which means to spend the night. If the sun has not risen, it is not considered gaupasa; and if you have breakfast before coming back, even better.

Cantabria

Espáis: this is the name given to sneakers in Cantabria. It is not known for sure where the term comes from, but a possible origin would be the English word spikes. That is, the spikes shoes used in athletics to increase traction and avoid slipping. It is, of course, one of the most curious words typical of each community.

Navarre

Jarrear: means to rain a lot, as if they were throwing jars of water from the sky. In that case it is easy to end up chirriado, that is, soaking wet.

Majico/a: there is nothing more Navarrese than the suffix -ico. Why not add it to the term majo/a to create an even more affectionate name? It is used to refer to someone or something cute, pleasant or nice. When a Navarrese likes someone, he or she is majico/a.

Extremadura

Acho: without a doubt the word you will hear most in Extremadura. Generally used as “man”, tío in Spanish, is the diminutive of muchacho, although sometimes combined with the same in an “acho, tío”.

Lambuzo/a: according to the RAE, the term refers to a long dog’s snout, but in Extremadura it has a different meaning. A lambuzo is someone who is a glutton who likes to eat a lot. It comes from the Latin term lambere, which means to lick. It is one of the most striking typical words of each community.

Region of Murcia

Pijo: in the Murcian slang it has no other function than to fill a silence. Moreover, whether alone or accompanied, it helps to emphasise something. It gives expressions of speed (ir a pijo sacao: go very fast), serves to express quantity (me pegué una pijá de andar: to walk a lot); it adds charisma to somewhat insignificant insults (tontoelpijo!). If you use this term in any of these ways, you are making it clear that you are from Murcia.

Andalusia

Quillo/a: the universal Andalusian word. It is the abbreviation of “chiquillo” (it can be shortened even more: illo/a). Its meaning varies according to the repetitions, “quillo” being a muletilla or a word to refer to someone; “quillo, quillo” to draw attention especially; or “quillo, quillo, quillo” to express imminent danger.

Dar coraje: the closest meaning could be to express anger (not courage). It comes from the word corajina, which would be an outburst of courage, anger or rage. The expression “no estoy enfadado, pero me da coraje” (“I am not angry, but it gives me anger”) is used a lot.

Balearic Islands

Acotxat: despite the pleasant temperatures that characterise the Balearic Islands, the locals use the word acotxat to refer to being very covered up. The term is mostly used to refer to someone who covers himself with lots of blankets to sleep on.

Canary Islands

Guagua: any good Canarian will be unwilling to use the word bus to refer to the guagua. The drivers of these buses will not be drivers either, but rather guagueros. The term guagua is of onomatopoeic origin and comes from Cuba. It is the result of the phonetic adaptation of the English word waggon, the name given to the large carts which travelled from the United States to the west of Cuba. It is one of the best known typical words of each autonomous community.

Fleje: fleje means a lot of something. What would be a very, much or a lot for the rest of the Spaniards. “I love you fleje”, “there is a fleje (of) children”, “it is fleje hot”… As you see, it has not few uses.

Castile La Mancha

Mangurrián: is one of the most well-known typical words used by the people of La Mancha. It can even be heard beyond their borders. It refers to people who are a bit rough and dumb.

Rochero: Manchegans call their fidgets rocheros. They are people who do not spend time at home, who are constantly out and about.

Castile and León

Marchar: a person from Castile and León does not leave any place: marcha. Marchar is used as a synonym for leaving. It is used indiscriminately whether you go on foot, by car or by any other means of transport.

As it is such a large Autonomous Community, it is difficult to find words common to all its provinces to include in this list of words typical of each Autonomous Community.

Aragón

Maño: maños are Aragonese people or people from Aragón. When used by them, it can also acquire the meaning of guy/boy/girl.

Ir de propio: in Aragon you do not do something specific, but rather “de propio”. It means leaving what you are doing to go specifically to do something.

Catalonia

Burxar: a word that we should certainly include in the vocabulary of all regions. It means to put pressure on or to incite someone to reveal something. It is also used to refer to the action of messing with another person.

La Rioja

Pantaloneta: in La Rioja, the word “pantaloneta” is used to refer to short trousers. Meanwhile, for the people of La Rioja, a Bermuda is a “pantaloneta pija” used to play golf.

Without a doubt, the typical words of each autonomous community can change the meaning of an expression among Spaniards themselves!


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