Wao Wow!

If you didn’t need this glossary:

Asqueroso: dirty person (masculine)

Abuela: grandmother

Ande: to go, to travel

Abrazo: hug

Alegre: happy

Azaroso: unfortunate, disgraceful person (masculine)

Algiuen: someone

Arroz: rice

Amor: love

Azabaches: a fossilized form of wood that is black in color and is carved and polished into pieces of jewelry to protect against the evil eye

Asesino: killer

Acabaron: finished

Acabar: finish

Aqui: here

Bueno: good

Buenmoso: handsome

Blanquito: white boy

Barrio: neighborhood

Brutos: stupid people (masculine)

Brutas: stupid people (feminine)

Bebe: baby

Que dios te bendiga: God should bless you (response to "bendicion")

Bendicion: blessing

Bacalao: dried salt cod

Bachata: a type of music

Braceros: migrant worker, laborer

Burbuja: bubble, blister

Bailarina: ballet dancer

Bella: beautiful

Bochinche: gossip

Boca: mouth

Bien: good

Ciguapas: mythological creature of Dominican folklore. They are commonly described as having human female form with brown or dark blue skin, backward facing feet, and very long manes of smooth, glossy hair that covers their otherwise naked bodies. They supposedly inhabit the high mountains of the Dominican Republic.

Cuidate: Take care

Cuero: slut

Correa: belt

(el) cuco: a mythical monster, a ghost, witch; equivalent to the boogeyman found in many Hispanic and Lusophone countries

Coje: take

Culo: butt (slang)

Cabeza: head

Chancletas: slippers, sandals

Caramba: exclamation of surprise or dismay, darn! heck!

Cibaeños: northern Dominicans, from el Cibao

Chinos: Chinese people

Con: with

Candela: candle

Comunista: communist

Chulo: sexy guy

Caracol: snail, seashell, ringlet

Capaz: capable

Clavo: nail

Comparona: snotty girl

Ciclon: cyclone

Capitalenos: people from the capital

Campesinos: country-dweller

Colmado: store?

Cabana: hut

Capitan: Captain

Comeme: Eat me

Campo: countryside

Compañero: companion

Cochinos: dirty people (masculine)

Coño: damn

Chacabana: type of shirt

Cuarenta: 40

Cojones: testicles, courage

Carajito: the most common way a Dominican would refer to a child whose name he or she doesn’t know

Corona: crown

Callejon: alley

Culenado: ?

Chica: girl

Dale: give

Dique: like

Diosa: goddess

Dios: god

Diablo: devil

Dentista: dentist

Diario: diary

Digas: speak

Desgraciado: disgraceful person (masculine)

Dura: hard (feminine)

Diaburlas: ?

Dulces: sweets, candies

Dejame: leave me

Doña: title of courtesy preceding a woman’s first name

Dime: tell me

Dio: gave

Delincuencia: delinquency

Dolores: pains

Dos: two

Esta: this, these

Eres: are

El: he

Ella: she

Existe: exists

Exigente: demanding

Esponja: sponge

Esa: her, that woman

Esposa: wife

Esto: this

Encendida: passionate, burning, flushed

Entiendes: understand

Educado: educated

Fuku: ? I think he made this up?

Fua: bam!

Fea: ugly (feminine)

Flaca: skinny female

Fulano: that person, that someone

Feminino: feminine

Fuera: away, outside

Fuego: fire

Guapo: handsome male

Guapa: handsome female

Galletazo: great big slap

Gordo: fat male

Gran: big

Ganas: desires

Gallo: chicken

Gallear: to show off

Gringo: white male

Hombre: men

Hija: daughter

Hijo: son

Hambre: hungry

Hermanita: little sister

Hamaca: hammock

Haitianos: haitians

Infierno: hell

Insuperable: insufferable

Jodido: screwed (masculine)

Jurona: savage animal?

Jefe: boss

Jodiendome: bothering with me

Jodas: f–k

Jipeta: jeep

Junta: military government coalition

Llamas: calls

Lambesacos: see document

Muchacho: boy

Muchacha: girl

Maldito: maldito:

Meteselo: Shove it

Moreno: dark-skinned male

Mio: mine

Mami: mom, sexy girl

Madre: mother

Malecon: street along the seawall

Maestra: teacher

Mesera: waitress

Mas: more

Mujer: woman

Monita: monkey girl

Mataron: killed

Madrugada: early morning, day break

Maldito seas: damn you, dammit

Mamahuevo: see document

Muy: very

Maricon: faggot

Mariconsito: little faggot

Muchachita: little girl

Merengue: a type of music

Mirador: lookout

Madrinas: godmothers

Malapalabras: bad words

Negra: black female

Nino: boy

Negrita: little black female or affectionately black female

Novio: boyfriend

Norte: north

Numero: number

Puta: slut

Perrito: little dog

Puerca: pig female

Paliza: beating, pummeling

Pariguayo: weak man, coward

Pequena: small (female)

Pulperia: small grocery store

Princesa: princess

Paso: pass


Parque: park

Pista: trail

Popola: female sexual organ

Pela: beating

Prendas: jewelry

Primavera: Spring

Palacio: palace

Pendeja: moron, idiot (feminine)

Plataneros: people of the plaintain

Politicos: politicians

Preocupas: preoccupied

Peledista: (According to helpful commentator, Joe) a member of the Dominican Liberation Party. The PLD, as it is known in Spanish, is the political party of current president Leonel Fernandez Reyna.

Pobre: poor

Paja: straw

Plantado: planted

Pulpo: octopus

Pollo: chicken

Pana: corduroy

Paloma: dove

Pueblo: people, village

Semana: week

Santa: saint

Senora: woman

Sancocho: to parboil, traditional soup/stew

Santisimo: sacred?

Sindicatos: union, guild

Saca: to pull out

Sueno: dream

Sola: alone (female)

Senorita: young girl, young woman

Surenos: southern

Serio: series

Supermercado: supermarket

Sientase: felt like

Sacrificio: sacrifice

Tio: uncle

Tia: aunt

Tu: you

Tuya: yours (feminine)

Tesoro: treasure

Tengo: have

Tranquilidad: tranquility

Tetas: breasts

Tetua: big breasted female

Todavia: still, yet

Tienes: have, has

Taza: cup

Tormenta: turmoil, storm

Traquila: tranquil female

Todopoderoso: all powerful

Tranquilisate: calm down

Toto: derogatory term for vagina

Taxista: taxi driver

Uno: one

Una: one (female)

Unica: only (female)

Vayanse: leave!

Veras: you will see

Ven: come

Verguenza: disgrace

Viejos: old males

Vieja: old females

Zafa: to loosen

Zangana: drone

Lo siento: I’m sorry

No lo pareces: you don’t look it

Poco hombre: barely a man

Pan de agua: bread of water

Gente de calidad: quality people

Fuera de serio: out of series

Posted by Aliza "La Jewminicana" Hausman at 12:01 AM

Labels: chronic pain/fibromyalgia, culture/multiculturalism, family, grandparents, hair, Hispanics/Latinos, Junot Diaz, Oscar Wao


LatinBlog said…

I can’t believe you guys did that! Well done Alys. After this, I might just refuse to speak to you in English ever again!

7:05 PM

Aliza "La Jewminicana" Hausman said…

It’s just a shame how many people are complaining that they feel they’re not ‘getting’ everything in the book because they don’t understand the Spanish. There really should have been a glossary. It’s been helpful to hear all this feedback though since I want to use Spanish in my book and I want to make sure it is understood.

12:38 PM

Anonymous said…

Thank you so much for doing this. I really have felt I’ve missed a lot in the book so far. Without actually understanding the language, the effect of having all those Spanish-language phrases is just sort of cute but irritating. I can’t believe that’s the effect Diaz wanted.

3:26 PM

Aliza "La Jewminicana" Hausman said…

No problem. Hope it’s helpful. If there are any words I didn’t catch, just let me know. I’ll get you the translation. Everyone should fully enjoy Oscar Wao, it’s quite the book.

7:07 PM

Jori said…

Terrific! Thank you!

12:54 PM

Joe said…

Peledista is a member of the Dominican Liberation Party. The PLD, as it is known in Spanish, is the political party of current president Leonel Fernandez Reyna.

6:50 PM

Mel said…

I just stumbled across your post when I was looking for a definition of "galletazo," which nicetranslator couldn’t understand. Thanks so much for this! I was beginning to worry I’d miss half the book at this rate, since I’d already stopped to look up about ten things in the first 15 pages. Thank goodness my husband knows comic book characters, or I’d need those definitions, too.

9:18 PM

Kim Flournoy said…

This post has been removed by the author.

1:03 AM

Kim Flournoy said…

Darn, I wish I’d seen this page earlier! I went ahead and created a site for the book, including all the pop culture references, which I thought would be helpful to people as well, but the Spanish was definitely hard to track down! http://www.annotated-oscar-wao.com

1:20 AM

Aliza "La Jewminicana" Hausman said…

Sorry, Kim! It certainly does help that Spanish is my second language.

7:15 AM

Anonymous said…

Thank you for this! It’s awesome! -karla jane

8:43 PM

Anonymous said…

your title should be "you’re"

just saying, if you want to write a book and all.

4:06 PM

Anonymous said…

You’re awesome for this, thank you!

11:41 AM

Aliza "La Jewminicana" Hausman said…

I have changed "your" to "you’re." It was a typo, Snarky McSnark.

12:38 PM


Provided by a member, Judy, you might have enjoyed/appreciated our last book more. Judy found a website that provided this ‘study aide". I left the comments (after the glossary) on because they add texture to our discussion.

Some of our members thought the book was worth the trouble to read. Others read it to see what the troubled characters were going to do, how it was going to unwind. Oscar’s life was a teribble waste, he courted disaster and consummated the relationship. What a family he had, and what was the pull of the Dominican country on them? Was it a fuku, curse? It sure seemed like one. Is a difficult, depressing, sad story worth a Pulitzer? I think not. What were they thinking?

Jana hosted like a grand Hotel: fruit, veggies, dips, cheeses, crackers, and a fine cake with hand whipped cream, and a fine collection of drinks. We won’t forget the  police action either!  

We discussed the schedule, skipping May, and trying a set 2nd Saturday regular meeting.

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