¡Guácala!

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].

*****GUACALA**** golosina visual ***nutritiva y saladita

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.

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