Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Word of the Day: Jupa

Costa Ricans will often say "jupa" instead of head in informal situations.

Other informal names for parts of the body are as follows:

nariz (nose) --> trompa
trasero (butt) --> culo (vulgar)
pies (feet) --> cachos (which also means horns/antlers)
boca (mouth) --> pico (which literally means beak, but can also be an informal--and vulgar--way to say penis)

I'll save more for later.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Word of the Day: Despedida de Soltera

Sorry, ladies. This Costa Rican equivalent of the bachelorette party isn't a drunken night out on the town with fallic-ridden props. These despedida de soltera parties are quite tame...so they say.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Word of the Day: Quemado

Besides meaning 'burned' or 'burnt', quemado is also a game of tag (the verb quemar meaning 'to tag').

Another use of the term is for burnt (or burning) trash. Just about everywhere in Costa Rica, except for the larger cities (Costa Rica is still largely a rural society), people burn their trash because of either habit, lack of garbage pickup, or both. If you have ever smelled burnt trash, you won't forget it. When plastic burns it gives off toxic dioxins that are--as far as I know--proven carcinogens. Even in some of the more open environments, the burning of trash can be smelled all around town (remember, these are small towns I'm talking about).

Anyway, back to the point...In Costa Rica you might hear someone say "huele a quemado", which basically means "it smells like something is burning". Whenever I've heard the term quemado for when something is literally burning, it has always been in this context of burning trash.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Word of the Day: Dormilón

Dormilón is a Costa Rican word that means "sleepy head", as in someone who likes to sleep, sleeps too much, or tends to sleep in. This can be dormilona for a woman, which is also a very common weed throughout Costa Rica. It's pretty neat because its leaves appear to shrivel up upon touching them. This defense mechanism--along with its sharp spines--protects it from ruminant animals and makes it a very successful species.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Word of the Day: Cabecera

Cabecera is Costa Rican for 'pillow', as in the one you use to sleep on in bed. The more common Spanish term 'almohada' would likely be understood as well, but be aware that most people just say cabecera.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Word of the Day: Estudiar

Estudiar means 'to study', but in Costa Rica it's used more broadly to mean 'to read'. People would often say to someone trying to talk to me while I read, "Déjelo, ¿no ves que está estudiando"? (Leave him alone--don't you see that he's reading?) Confused by this reference at first, I used to respond, "Don't worry, I'm just reading", which was always met with odd looks.