Curious words in Spanish are many, however, some of them cause strangeness even among native speakers. Either because of their strange pronunciation or because of the difficulty in finding their origin, today we offer you some of these curious words in Spanish that may attract attention. Unfortunately, all of them also have a rather pejorative meaning. So, use them with caution.

Curious words in Spanish: No Tengas un Rifirrafe

According to the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy, rifirrafe is a light and inconsequential quarrel or brawl. This means that this quarrel will not have serious consequences. The curious thing about this word is in its origin.

There is really no consensus about the etymology of the term. Most experts maintain that rifirrafe is an onomatopoeia, a reproduction of a sound. We could think that the vibrating sound of the “erre” and the fricative sound of the “efe” imitate the noise provoked in a fight.

On the other hand, another theory proposes the Arabic origin of the term. It could be the evolution of the verb rafrafa, palpitation or agitation in English.

Ayer tuve un rifirrafe con mi jefe, pero al final nos pusimos de acuerdo.



Don’t Be Tiquismiquis and Surprise Yourself with This Word

Another curious word in Spanish is tiquismiquis. What may be a defect for some, for others it is a virtue. Tiquismiquis is a person who worries about unnecessary details in an obsessive way.

The sound of this word is very funny. However, the most curious thing about it is in its origin. In Latin, the dative case forms of the personal pronouns ego and tu were mihi (for me) and tibi (for you). In the Middle Ages, both words underwent a change due to a pronunciation error: michi and tichi, for me, for you; this is what the very suspicious merchants said when they made a delivery. This is how the word tiquismiquis came to our days.

No seas tiquismiquis y confía en tu profesor de Spanishviaskype.

Curious Words in Spanish: Don’t Be a Mequetrefe

Among the curious words in Spanish, mequetrefe is one of the most unknown insults in terms of its origin. Mequetrefe is an insignificant person, of little importance, either physically or intellectually.

Even today, experts do not agree on the etymology of this word. For some, this term entered Spain through the Portuguese meco (libertine man) and trefo (clever, cunning). However, others defend the Arabic origin. Mequetrefe might come from the word mogatref (arrogant and proud person). Be that as it may, it is best that no one calls you mequetrefe.

¿Tú vas a pegarme? ¡Pero si eres un mequetrefe!

Don’t Let Them Call You Enclenque

Finally, let’s analyze another of the curious words in Spanish, closely related to the previous term. This time, it is strictly related to a bad physical condition or a bad shape. We are talking about the word enclenque. This qualifier designates a weak person or a person with a very thin physical constitution.

As with the rest of the curious words in Spanish in this article, its origin is very uncertain. One theory holds that enclenque comes from the Latin clinicus and this, in turn, from the Greek kliniké (in bed). It could refer to a person who is always sick. On the other hand, its origin could be in the Provençal clenc (weak or sickly person). In any case, it’s not nice to be enclenque.

Así no puedes jugar en la NBA. Eres un enclenque.

We hope you liked these curious words in Spanish, even though they are quite pejorative. If you want to learn more vocabulary of this kind, don’t hesitate and book a class on Spanishviaskype. Do you want to try it first? Of course, contact us to reserve a trial lesson: no matter if you’re a mequetrefe, a tiquismiquis or a enclenque, we’ll never have a rifirrafe.