There's "Espana Cani," and Ana Cani, the Mexican-American singer on the Lawrence Welk show.

Google translate gives me "gypsy."

Somehow, that seems too literal, because it seems like a "diminuitive." But it might refer to a dark skinned person.

Is it a diminuitive, and what does it mean?


Cani, as it is, sounds to me as a diminutive of canijo, but is also a urban tribe (refers to people from the suburbs, violent and without much education. Is more or less what some people address by "white trash").

Cañí, with the 'ñ' is indeed an adjetive, that means both "gypsy" and "typical or folklorical"

La España cañí is a set phrase that refers to folkloric Spain and is sometimes used derogatorily. It must be distinguished from cani, a violent urban tribe of Spain.

Source: Wikipedia

So, cañí can used refer to gypsies, but I have never heard it to actually call somebody "gypsy" if they are not (Also, probably we favor gitano to designate the race, although could be be referred as calé as well. They call the non-gypsy people payos).

  • 1
    In spite of what Wikipedia says, I would never consider canis as violent. Loutish, OK, but not really violent. Cani can be quite accurately translated to English as chav.
    – Gorpik
    Sep 14 '15 at 6:33
  • @Gorpik to British English, at least. I'm not sure a good American translation. Absolutely agree that cani doesn't really imply violence Sep 14 '15 at 9:51
  • @guifa Sure, chav us only British English. White trash may indeed be an American version, but their behaviour is quite different. Chavs, on the other side, are almost exactly the same, as far as I know.
    – Gorpik
    Sep 14 '15 at 12:01
  • @Gorpik, I think that when they are described as "violent" is more like "verbally aggressive" than prone to get into a fist fight. See how they are portrayed in that entry to the Urban Dictionary, addressing each other with a rather harsh language (were they are described as chavs, BTW). Although I don't consider them "white trash" the word has some pejorative connotations in Spanish, and I could not find anything better to convey it in English.
    – Diego
    Sep 14 '15 at 13:29
  • @Diego White trash is also the best American equivalent I can find. The social group is more or less the same, though their general behaviour is not. As for the origin of the word cani, it can very well be what you propose. Apart from this meaning, Cani is a more or less common nickname usually applied to short or youngish people.
    – Gorpik
    Sep 15 '15 at 6:11

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