Monday, October 5, 2009

Oscar Wao: Capítulo Tres

achiote – rusty colored seed from the annatto tree, used in Caribbean and East Indian cuisine

alizé – the trade winds that blow across Africa and the Caribbean

Anacaona – the Golden Flower, a Taino queen, the book explains her story more, she’s compared to Mexico’s La Malinche, Cortes’ interpreter and lover and is generally considered a traitor while Anacaona is considered a heroine

azaroso - risky

azuana – someone from Azua, a region in the DR

baká – an evil spirit of Haitian voodou, able to take on various forms, children, dogs, etc.

cacique – a Taino word for their own leaders, applied by the Spanish and Portuguese to any indigenous leader

caracaracol – a Taino word, means scabby, still don’t understand the context in the story

chabine - a racial term meaning a person of black and white descent who has freckles, light hair and sometimes light hair, the creature in the story has light eyes

chacabanas – guayabera, the embroidered, button-down shirt popular throughout the Caribbean

chancletas – sandals, slippers

chulo – cool, pimpin’

chulería – coolness

cibaeña – someone from the Cibao, a region in the DR

ciguas – cigua palmera, the nationa bird of the DR

clavo saca clavo – one nail pulls out another, the Gangster uses Beli to make him forget past failures

colmado (superstar) – a Latino grocery store

comparona – someone who feels better than everyone else

criada – a maid, but more than that, a girl who has been sold into domestic service young in life by poorer relatives or neighbors

cuerpazo – a huge, sexy body

cursí-ness – tacky-ness to the point of vulgarity

diabluras – prank, but in the context of the story it seems like something much darker

DoYos – Dominicans from New York

escopeta - shotgun

Guacanagarí – a famous cacique in present day Haiti that housed Columbus after the Santa Maria was wrecked

guagua - Caribbean Spanish word for bus

guaraguao (este guaraguao ya no comerá más pollito) – hawk (this hawk won’t be eating anymore chicken) it is possible pollito was a code word for a resistance group in the DR

habichuelas Caribbean Spanish word for beans, as opposed to frijoles

Hatüey – a Taino Cacique from Hispaniola that went to Cuba to try to prevent the Spanish from taking over that island too, he is considered a hero for defying the Spanish

huevos (comehuevo, mamahuevo) – balls, testicles (ball-eater, ball-sucker)

jiringonza - some think this word is mispelled and should be jeringonza, a child’s word game, but in context in the book, that doesn’t really make sense, it seems like it’s a mess, it’s a the air

ladronazos – big thieves

ladroncitos - little thieves

lana – wool, slang for money

mamón - papaya

moncadistas – those who fought with Castro in the assault to Moncada Garrison in 1953

muelas – in context of the story it seems sweet nothings, but it also means a molar

mujerón – grown-ass woman

Oyá-souls – Oyá is the orishá of hurricanes, tornados, chaos, destruction and change. Beli is an Oyá-soul, “allergic to tranquilidad”

página en blanco – a reference to the blank page Trujillo’s minion Balaguer left at the end of his memoires to be filled in with the truth, a central theme to the book’s other characters is filling in those blank pages

pechonalidad – pechos + personalidad, a girl with personality-defining breasts

pegao – dancing, grinding

pendejada – foolishness, bullshit

perico ripiao – a merengue band

pipa (all pipa and no culo) – belly (all belly and no ass)

pista – dance floor

plátano curtain – the banana curtain, a play on the Iron Curtain, describes the DR under the shadow of Trujillo

plepla - nonsense

porra (hijo de la porra) – giz, it’s Portuguese slang too

popóla - pussy

prendas – gifts, treasures

prieta – a very black girl

reconquista - reconquest, but has a deep memory of the Christians taking Spain back from the Moors, and the possibility of Mexico taking back the southwest from the U.S., or in this case, the DR taking back baseball

rípio (Jack the Rípio) – dick, a play on Jack the Ripper

quemagoma – burns rubber, may have something to do with leftist student groups

sinvergüencería - shamelessness

tacaña - stingy

tertulia – a literary salon in the Hispanic world

tetúa - breasts

tetatorio - again with the breasts, this could be a combination of tetas and emporio

tirapiedra – rock thrower, may have something to do with leftist student groups

toto (podrido) – pussy(rotten)

Trujillato – the Trujillo regime, something bigger than Trujillo the man

yolas - small wooden boat used in fishing and, increasingly, illegal migration and narco-trafficking

zángana – a drone

Original Post


Anonymous said...

ahhh i'm so glad this exists! thanks so much! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this! But two small corrections.
Tetúa means big breasted (same as tetona)
Zángana does mean a drone bee, but in the context of the book it's a lazy person. It's also a common insult meaning a fool (masc. is zángano).