Spaniards love to use English in advertisements, to make things sound cooler. Nowadays it’s hip to say things like, “Soy runner” or “Es el manager” instead of using their equivalents in Spanish.
It’s natural that languages adapt words. English wouldn’t be what it is without the myriad of words we’ve borrowed from other languages, most notably French. English has become a very influential language, especially in the areas of technology. It makes a lot of sense to use words like “smartphone,” “Internet,” “click,” and many more. These words have the same meaning in Spanish as in English. However, during my years in Spain I’ve come to realize there are several which have very different denotations in Spanish than in English. Obviously, I love them and need to share them with you. Here are some of my favorites.
Nothing to do with shocking anyone with rays of electricity. Nope, this is your basic channel surfing. In Spain as well as in the US, men are especially gifted at this practice.
Meaning: to go jogging, to go for a run, as Spain’s former prime minister is showing us in the above picture.
(Also known as pantimedias.) My mother-in-law asked me if I needed one of these for a wedding. I was rather surprised to hear the question, as I associate panty with panties—you know, underwear. Nope, un panty is just a pair of pantyhose that also cover you up to the waist. You know, the normal kind, or at least what I considered to be normal. Medias, the word I use, can also mean the kind that only go up to your thighs, so be forewarned, ladies.
Similar to the panty, un body covers even higher up.
A top is an article of clothing for women that has no sleeves or straps, but I’m pretty unsure on this. If you go into any Mango store, you’ll see a section for tops. Maybe my readers can help clarify if this is true!
When I learned Spanish in high school, I learned to say “sweater’” as suéter, a term obviously derived from English. I was very surprised when I came to Spain and learned that the term here is jersey. For me, jersey is the shirt athletes wear, whether it be in basketball, soccer, or football.
This is so funny to me. We do indeed have a smoking jacket, also called “black tie,” so it makes sense that Spaniards call this un smoking, which is alternately spelled un esmoquin.
This is close to the original English meaning, but you’d have to add “lot” for it to make any sense. “A parking” without “lot” is meaningless to me. After all, it could be a “parking space” or a “parking spot” just as easily.
A crack has nothing to do with with our definition of “a slight opening, as between boards in a floor or a wall.” Nope, crack in Spain Spanish usually means a really great athlete. For example, Rafa Nadal or Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. Personally, I’ll go with my favorite, Victor Oladipo.
This has nothing to do with weight. No, a heavy in Spain is a word derived from the music genre of heavy metal. Un heavy listens to heavy-metal music, and lots of it. Some “tips” for being heavy, according to this website, include wearing one’s hair long, wearing spiked bracelets, and saying things like, “Mi rollo es rock.”
Usually spelled friki, it means freak. Yes, it is very close to the English “freak,” but I love that in English this word would be an adjective, whereas here it’s turned into a noun. In 2012, the Royal Spanish Academy which is responsible for regulating the use of the Spanish language, added the word to its latest dictionary edition. If you understand Spanish, I recommend checking out the Wikipedia entry for this term, as it delves into the different levels of “frikismo,” among other things.