12

In Argentina I often hear the word (or prefix?) 're' meaning 'very/real/really'

Some examples are:

La prueba fue re difícil

La película era re chota

Estoy re bien

  • Is 're' an abreviation of another word? (Maybe realmente?)
  • Is 're' used anywhere else apart from Argentina?
  • Are there any rules regarding the use of 're'?
  • 2
    re = muy = very – César Jan 13 '12 at 14:33
  • 2
    Archi-requete-recontra-riquísimo. – Alfredo Osorio Jan 13 '12 at 18:57
  • It's as common here in Uruguay. – Bruno Stonek Jan 16 '12 at 21:39
  • It's not slang, it's common spanish. – Jaime Mar 18 '15 at 4:38
  • @Jaime In South America, I have only heard "re" as a synonym of "very" from Argentineans and Uruguayans. Nobody use it in Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, so I don't think it is common Spanish. – Alan Evangelista Dec 2 at 1:43
11

It's a prefix. This is what RAE says:

re-. (Del lat. re-).

  1. pref. Significa 'repetición'. Reconstruir.

  2. pref. Significa 'movimiento hacia atrás'. Refluir.

  3. pref. Denota 'intensificación'. Recargar.

  4. pref. Indica 'oposición' o 'resistencia'. Rechazar. Repugnar. Significa 'negación' o 'inversión del significado simple'. Reprobar. Con adjetivos o adverbios, puede reforzarse el valor de intensificación añadiendo a re- las sílabas -te o -quete. Retebueno. Requetebién.

In the uses you provide, it's the third meaning, where it's used to intensify the adjective.

I think in Spain "requete-" is more used than "re-", at least in some cases. In fact, if I hear someone say rebueno I automatically think they're from America.

  • 1
    As a sidenote, sometimes in Argentina, requete- is used as a more emphatic version of re-. In the popular reasoning, it makes sense that it is bigger since it includes the word. :P – Alpha Oct 9 '12 at 22:32
5

Are there any rules regarding the use of 're'?

First, as said in other answer, it's a prefix, not a word.

It should be used only colloquially, in casual speak. It's emphatic and slightly childish. In general, you'll prefer 'muy'.

  • I don't think it is childish in Argentina. I have met a lot of Argentineans in their 20s which use it. – Alan Evangelista Dec 2 at 1:44
4

This is very common in Mexico as well it is considered very improper but it is used very often in social situations to reenforce and remark a word. The most common is

El examen fue redifícil

to say it was not just hard, but really rehard.

  • ¿Absurdo? Qué tiene de absurdo un intensificador, cuando existen precisamente para eso, para intensificar. – Jaime Mar 21 '15 at 18:23
2

Is 're' an abbreviation of another word? (Maybe realmente?)

Sometimes it's used as recontra, especially if used as stand alone word. Not sure of the etymology, my first thought would be bidding in contract bridge where one of translation of double and redouble is contra and recontra. But that just my impression, could be totally wrong.

A derivative of re- is requete- sometimes used to indicate something even more intense, than re-.

Is 're' used anywhere else apart from Argentina?

Yes, it's very typical in Mexico,it is used in other Latin-American countries (eg. in Peru).

  • 2
    In Perú we usually use recontra, re is really uncommon – César Jan 13 '12 at 15:18
  • I have never heard "re" used as "very" in Peru. – Alan Evangelista Dec 2 at 1:48
  • @AlanEvangelista "RCSM" is one clear example very popular in Peru. – vartec yesterday
  • @vartec Thanks for the example, but is "re" ever used outside fixed expressions such as CSM in Peru? In Argentina, it is as usual as "muy", so you hear in everyday dialogue: recopado, rehermoso, retranquilo, etc. And if anyone wondered what RCSM means: diccionariolibre.com/definicion/RCSM/3724 – Alan Evangelista yesterday
  • @AlanEvangelista there are few more like that. It's not used for everything like in Argentina, but it is used. – vartec yesterday
1

Soy de argentina y sí, se usa solo acá. Como dijieron anteriormente, se utiliza para intensificar algo (verbos y adjetivos, sobre todo) Y no, no hay reglas concretas de gramatica porque no creo que se una palabra "oficial"

Te lo comiste a Juan? Sí, me lo re comí. 
Messi es re buen jugador. 
¡Anoche la cena estuvo re linda!
Ese pibe esta re bueno
Aquella montaña rusa es re divertida
Etc

Espero que te haya servido!

1

I am not a native speaker but...

Some other answers seem to be confusing re- as a prefix and re as a word, a slang equivalent of 'muy' (= very). As an example in context (from Gaturro, referring to a smartphone)

¡¡Está genial, re cool, re moderno!!

  • The distinction between a prepositioned adjective and a prefix is almost purely orthographical as evidenced with the changes to ex- in the 2010 Orthography. The standard way to write what you have would be recool and remoderno, just as with other similar prefixed intensifiers: requetemoderno and permoderno. Re as a single word refers to the musical note D – user0721090601 Feb 18 '17 at 3:06
1

Estoy seguro de que esta partícula re (p.ej., "recontar") se oye sólo en la Argentina. Hasta ahora no se puede encontrar de dónde lo sacaron los Argentinos. Re significa "muy" y el también sufijo "-ísimo", igualmente tiene el significado de "gran", "grande", "súper"... En vez de decir : Buenísimo, decimos : Rebueno.

A veces, si queremos ir más allá de la intensificación, el esquema resultará así: Rebuenísimo o Recontrabuenísimo.

Cabe notar que "recontra" se usa frente a una palabra que empieza con la consonante R.

No se dice "rerápido" pero sí "recontrarápido".

Lo empleamos con un verbo casi del mismo modo que si fuera un adjetivo o sustantivo, sólo en ese caso él tomará el significado intensificado del verbo.

ej:

estoy refeliz esta noche.

tengo una relija ( un gran Hambre)

este bondi viaja recontra rápido

esta frutilla, me la recomí anoche. ==== en este caso, significa que : anoche yo me comí la frutilla con muchas ganas, y me la disfruté mucho.

reviajar = viajar mucho y con muchas ganas...

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