April 2018

Friday, May 11, 2012

Pendiente! An R-rated entry

My English speaking friends who study Spanish, too, have similar issues in confusing words, and they haven't experienced brain trauma, so I don't think my Spanish issues have to do with my brain trauma.

My friend Jerry, exasperated one day, gave in to the Spanish curse word he could think of. "Pendiente!" he shouted, and banged the table with his fists. The outburst did not cause fear and trembling, as he had expected, but laughter. "Pendiente" means "necklace."

Jerry confused the word with another word that can be used as a curse word. "Pendejo" literally means "pubic hair" but is used more like "asshole".

Another time, careful not to yell "Pendiente!" Jerry yelled, "Conejo!"

“Conejo” means rabbit. 

Reflecting on his confusion, Jerry explained, "In some countries it has the same sexual connotation that 'beaver' has in American English. Since “pendejo” is used as we use 'asshole' but is more strictly defined as 'pubic hair', confusing 'conejo' for 'pendejo' is not far off the mark.

"I pride myself in not being very good at swearing so I guess I’ll have to try to stick to 'pendiente'. As far as I know that doesn’t have any sexual connotation although I inadvertently got laughs from the Salvadorans when I said 'pendejo pendiente'. I found out later that “pendiente” not only means “necklace” but also 'hanging'. "

Susan, who takes Spanish classes with Jerry here in the U.S. and sometimes in Guatemala, had similar problems. At a cooking class in Guatemala, Susan explained, "Mi esposo me come todas las noches." She meant to say, "My husband cooks for me every night," but instead she said, "My husband eats me every night."

She got a similar response when she explained that she rode a horse five years ago: "Monte uno caballo con cinco anos." What she said was, "I mounted a horse with five anuses."



  1. Hilarious. (Pendiente, in Colombia where I grew up, also meant: pending. As in "going to happen sometime soon..." but obviously the root word is related to "hanging" -- which is funny, too. I love words. Where did they all come from anyway!?)

  2. Love it! Learning a language can be so humbling and sooo hilarious!


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