One of the Spanish words I learnt today was ¡guácala! [ˈɡwa.ka.la], which means yuck! ew! gross! it’s disgusting! and similar exclamations of disgust. It’s used in El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and the Dominican Republic to indicate dislike, disgust, or rejection [source].
It comes from guacal (wooden crate, tub, calabash tree), from the Classical Nahuatl huacalli [kwaˈkalːi] (wooden crate) [source]. Why a word for a wooden crate became an exclamation of disgust is not clear.
Here are some examples of how it’s used (from ReversoContext and Duolingo):
- ¡Guácala! ¡Sabe horrible! = Yuck! It tastes horrible!
- ¡Guácala, casi lo pisé! = Ew, I almost stepped in it.
- ¡No, guácala! = No, it’s disgusting!
- ¡Guácala, mal postre = Euhhh… bad pie
Related words include:
- guácara = vomit
- guacarear = to vomit
Both of which are used in Mexico.
Other Spanish words with a similar meaning include:
- ¡Qué asco! = Yuck! How revolting! How disgusting!
- ¡Puaj! = Ew! Yeech! Blecchh! Yuk! Phooey! Gross!
- ¡Uf! = Phew! Ugh!
- ¡Puf! = Yuck!
Are there other words in Spanish with a similar meaning?
What about equivalent words in other languages?
One of my favourite expressions in Welsh is ych a fi! [əx ə viː], which means yuck! [source].
The word ych, pronounced [ɨːχ/iːχ], also means ox.