Famous Costa Rican Sayings

Posted by Oct29, 2013 Comments (0)

Your Guide to the Weird Lingo of Costa Rica Part 1

The language of Costa Rica is Spanish, but practically everyone can speak some English. There are some sayings which might leave you scratching your head. Whilst some sayings have obvious meanings, others have simply been passed down and even those saying them have no clue where they came from or what they were originally supposed to mean.

We take a look at some of the common (and uncommon) sayings around this country so you don’t find yourself confused and befuddled.

Con Luz

Con luz is what a Tico might use to describe a pregnant woman. It means she’s ‘with light’. This has a very obvious rooting in the Catholic faith. At one point, Spain ruled over Costa Rica. It was part of its vast global empire. They brought Catholicism and it remains prominent today.

More and more Ticos are becoming indifferent towards religion, but they still say this. Children are revered and every young person matters here.

Pura Vida

pura vida

This is the one you’ll hear the most. It’s the national motto of Costa Rica. It means ‘pure life’ and it harkens back to this country’s stance on the military and violence in general. They’re a peaceful people who don’t believe in war, which is they don’t have a regular standing army. It’s used as a greeting and a way to say goodbye.

Back in the UK it might be equivalent to ‘chill out’ or ‘relax’. Ticos tend to say it with a big smile on their faces.

Detras del Palo

Now it’s time for one of the stranger sayings in the language of Costa Rica. Detras del palo means ‘behind the tree’. It’s commonly used in conversation when you have no idea what happened. The first image which springs to mind is someone slipped out of a party or a gathering to go to the bathroom behind a tree or in some bushes. They’ve now missed out on what happened.

Another similar expression is mianda fuera del tarro, or ‘taking a pea out of the can’. It seems to mean the same thing, but we can’t even begin to wonder where they got this one from.

Que Pega

Que pega means ‘what a stick’. It’s used to describe someone who’s annoying or boring. In English it’s the equivalent of ‘stick in the mud’. Ticos are very relaxed and know the value of taking some time to relax on the beach or in their homes. Que pega is the exact opposite. It implies someone can’t relax or fit in with the group.

If they’re using this to describe you, it’s time to change your tune.

Lava Huevos

If you want to mock that kiss-ass colleague at work, you can say lava huevos, or ‘wash the eggs’. It basically means someone is always sucking up to the boss and doing whatever they ask as a means to curry favour. We’ll let you work out which part of the human anatomy ‘eggs’ might be referring to!

Do you know any more Tico sayings? Pop over and let us know on Facebook!

Categories : Costa Rica Interest

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