¡¡The Day of Atonement… in Chilenismos!!

Today (after sunset) is Yom Kippur in the Jewish calendar, the Day of Atonement, your last chance to get right with Gd before he closes his book of judgment for the year.

To assist you in your attempts of reconciliation this year, we’re going to go over some different Chilean ways of addressing wrongs or mistakes that you’ve committed, both against Gd and man.

To summarize, in honor of the most holy day of the Jewish year, I’m going to be wildly inappropriate and use questionable language.  I guess I’ll have my fair share of reconciliation to do after I hit “Publish.”


If you make an honest mistake that happens to be a clamoring, buffoonish mistake, you just had a condorito.  The beloved, all-around Chilean cartoon character, Condorito, is always making clownish mistakes, after which either he or another character falls flat on his back with a loud ¡PLOP!

She has to ask her husband for permission to go to the movies with him…

The ultimate condoro occurred in 1989, when a flare set off by Brazilian fans during a qualifying match for the World Cup supposedly injured Chilean goalie Roberto Rojas.  After some investigation, it was discovered that Rojas had actually hidden a razor blade in his glove and cut himself to delay the game.  Chile was disqualified from pursuing the World Cup.  Ironically, he was also known as the Condor Rojas, and so mandarse un condorito took on even more meaning.


If you track mud into the house, you make a mess.  If you accidentally mention to your friend’s parents that she’s pregnant before she gets a chance to tell them, you also make a mess.  One way of apologizing is to admit: La embarré, “I messed up.”  For those of you that are genuinely interested in respectfully apologizing, this is an option.  It’s not strong language, and it comes from the idea of getting barro, or mud, all over something.

La embarré oso polar


For this Chilenismo, I like to imagine showing up to someone’s house, trashing everything, handing them a broom, and leaving.  The only good thing left behind was la escoba, the broom.  The origin of this phrase stems from an influential past president, Carlos Ibáñez del Campo, who apparently promised to “sweep away corruption,” but then ruled as a sort of dictator from 1927-1931 and later fled into exile.

Dejar la escoba isn’t the only one of its kind; you can use all of the following synonymously:

Dejar la: crema, embarrada, o cagada (cagá).

In case it’s still not clear, ésta es la escoba:


It’s remarkable how many images of Piñera come up when I search for many of these terms.  Anyhow, while this seems like the second person is dominating this action, Edwin assures me that it really just means, “I’m going to kill you.”  So although the poster in the image below sounds like, “Piñera, you threw yourself!”, it is not actually related to the second image.  It’s a death threat.

More gems from Edwin: “Si un flaite te dice, ‘Te tiraste’, ahí sí tienes que salir corriendo.”


To eff up.  La cagué more literally means “I pooped on it.”  Interestingly enough, though, when someone does something really well, you might also say, ¡La cagó!  This is one of the more frequently uttered Chilenismos, if I do say so myself.

Barros Luco: No Kosher

And finally on our list we have…


Which, according to the Diccionario de Modismos Chilenos, simply means, “La cagaste y en mala.”  You effed up real bad.

For example, “Me tuviste, me perdiste, la vendiste,” which I guess is a common breakup mantra.

So… just found out that my husband forgot his mother’s birthday… which is today.  O sea, la vendió.


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