I meant to publish this Puerto Rican slang lesson yesterday for Cultural Tidbits Monday, but of course, LIFE got in the way. I found out I’m a victim of ID theft yesterday. I called the IRS to ask what’s wrong with my taxes, and seems like someone else used my DOB, social security # to file as me. Now I’m swimming in an endless ocean of paperwork, calls, etc. which I honestly have no time to deal with (but will have to anyway).
I hold a 40-hr-a-week management job, in addition to working as a freelance travel writer PLUS maintaining/writing on 3 different blogs. And have a boyfriend. This ordeal has thrown my entire productivity cycle out of whack, but I’m honestly more concerned about the repercussions of this ID theft in the future and how it was University of Tampa’s fault and a massive security breach they are not taking ANY responsibility for. Needless to say I am pissed off.
Thank goodness for my readership, though, I wrote this post before I found out about this mess. The accompanying video I was going to record, however, will have to wait (unfortunately). Hope you still enjoy this Puerto Rican slang post anyway…I did put effort on it…
Click here for Puerto Rican slang video no. uno (directly from the beach!)
Puerto Rican slang: A brief background
As you know by now, Puerto Rican culture is a mix of Arawak Taínos, Spanish conquistadors, and African slaves that rushed in since the island’s discovery in 1493. Naturally, Puerto Rican slang is full of Taíno, Spanish, and African influences, in addition to Arabic as well, due to the Moors invasion of the Iberian peninsula.
Another thing that you should know about Puerto Rican slang is that our Spanish is not as unique as most people think. By that I mean that Puerto Rican Spanish is in fact quite similar to Andalusian Spanish (Wikipedia). For instance, many letters are omitted and/or weakened: The letter S is barely ever pronounced, while letter R is typically substituted or pronounced as the letter L — and I used to think this was simply a Boricua occurrence!
Puerto Rican Spanish vocabulary time!
Ready to learn some new words!? Here’s my second lesson on Puerto Rican slang:
“A cacophony of ahumado,” which actually means smoked (and can be used to described smoked meats, yes), ajumao is the word of choice to describe someone who’s drunk. Meaning, engulfed by the “fumes of alcohol” (Wiki).
Shortened version of the word afrentado, meaning someone who is a glutton, or greedy, in any kind of way. Over-consumption of anything will grant you this adjective in Puerto Rico.
This Puerto Rican slang word actually comes from the Arabic-Andalusian word alqawwád, which was used to describe the person who spread the gossip in town (Wiki). Nowadays in Puerto Rico, however, alcahuete is typically used to describe a person who spoils another one. So, if my boyfriend spoils me rotten, he is my alcahuete!
Algarete / Revolú
If something is algarete or a situation described as a revolú, it means it is out of control, chaotic, disorganized…¡LOCO!
Also the Puerto Rican slang word for sour, amargao is a contraction of the Spanish word amargado, so it has the same meaning. When a Puerto Rican uses it to describe you as a person, he/she means you are a party pooper, a Debbie Downer, etc. (depending on context, you’ll know which applies)
Arrancao / Arranca’
Puerto Rican abbreviation of the Spanish word “arrancado,” which means torn or ripped out. We Puerto Ricans say “¡estoy arrancao!” when we are broke – aka our pockets have been ripped out!
¡A mí plín!
You don’t give a fudge? ¡A mí plín! is the phrase you want to use! 😉 No idea where it came from — you know, one of those phrases.
Anda pa’l sirete / Anda pa’l cara’
Holy crap! Indeed, anda pa’l sirete is one of those phrases you want to use in lieu of cursing. When something is amazing–for good or for bad–you would yell ¡anda pa’l sirete! If you wish to be closer to the original curse phrase (but still not be a potty mouth), you should say ¡anda pa’l cara’! (Want to curse anyway? Then yell ¡anda pa’l carajo! ;))