Of Goats and Men: Chilean Words for People

Welcome back to Chilenismos of the Week!  This week we’re taking a look at common ways to talk about people in general: the dudes, Joe Schmoes, kids, and chicks of Chilean lingo.

Qué gallo.

Tipo/a: Chileans will commonly use tipo/tipa, literally “type,” as an informal way of saying man or woman.  They use it the same way we might use “guy.”  For example:

¿Cómo se llama ese tipo norteamericano que se casó con Beyoncé?  

Translation: “What’s the name of that American guy who married Beyoncé?

Gallo: Some of you may met someone who thinks he’s the “cock of the walk.”  Roosters are known for their bravado, for their swag, you could say, and they have long held an influential place in Chilean folk tradition.  In fact, the national dance, the cueca, is said to be the imitation of the mating ritual of chickens.

So yes, the first use of gallo is the same as tipo—it’s used informally like “guy” would be in English.  And someone who is “gallo,” used as an adjective, is very capable.  Remember, a good rooster will sing in any henhouse.

Cabro/a:  This literally means goat.  I have no clever guesses as to why Chileans started to call each other goats.  But we call our children kids, so I can’t be hating.  It just so happens that Chileans do the same; they call young people or children “cabros chicos.”I'm not a kid!

¡OJO!  In Perú, this is a derogatory phrase for homosexual men.  So be careful.

Mina/o: A sexy lady, a babe; a stud or a hunk—basically, hot stuff.  I’m not going to speculate about the origins of this Chilenismo, but I will point out that mina means mine, as in copper mines, gold mines, etc.  You are welcome to surmise what you will.

Lola/o:  A lola or lolo is an adolescent or young teen.  Does this come from Lolita?  Maybe.  Let’s not think about it.  Because in Chile, any teenybopper is a lola, and it doesn’t have anything to do with sexuality.  It would really disturb me if they actually thought of all their young teen girls as Lolitas.

One thought on “Of Goats and Men: Chilean Words for People

  1. Pingback: We’re All Animals | Chilean Adventures of the Pelirroja Peligrosa

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