Idioms about balls and pelotasLa pelota (the ball) is one of the most important inventions of human beings, along with the wheel, the airplanes or the internet. Is this statement an exaggeration?

Spanish-speaking countries are a good proof of it. Wherever you go, you will see kids, teenagers or even adults playing with una bola, un balón, un cuero, un esférico, una bocha…, in short, una pelota. Football is not only a sport for Latin American people, but something deeper and Spaniards are not far behind.

When a concept is very important in a culture, it usually leaves its mark in the language. Pelota has done it in Spanish although not in the way you think. Today, we are going to learn the origins of some popular idioms.

Estar en pelotas

Used to express that somebody is naked. Originally, el pellote was a kind of medieval tunic worn just at home. The pronuntiation and spelling of the term evolved into the word “pelota”, but nothing to do with the spherical object. The evolution also affected the meaning, because from “clothes to wear at home” it changed into “wearing no clothes”.

Hacer la pelota / ser un pelota

A ball is often passed from hand to hand. Many people grabs it when they play a game. Because of that, metaphorically (and maybe in poor taste), prostitutes were formerly called pelotas. In order to get clients, these women had to adulate men. Nowadays, we use this idiom pejoratively to refer to a person who flatter the others.

Ser un pelotudo / boludo

This Argentinian insult has a warlike origin. During the Independence Wars, los gauchos argentinos (a kind of South American cowboys) fought against the Spanish army. They used to set up in three lines: los pelotudos (whose weapons were small balls of stones), los lanceros (armed with spears) and finally los boludos (with bigger balls of stones). Los pelotudos used to get the charge of the royal cavalry, so they were considered both brave and dumb. Nowadays, the pejorative meaning has prevailed.

In conclusion, if you are going to work in Spain and you can’t speak in Spanish, you might feel like if you were en pelotas. So, if you don’t want to hacer la pelota to your boss for not being fired, no seas pelotudo and learn Spanish on Reserve today a free trial class here. From home, using Skype, at any time you need, it will be as easier as jugar con una pelota.