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While in Chile I heard the idiom venir de maleta. I was told that it means something along the lines of "to be angry," but I'm not seeing any evidence of this online. It's theoretically possible that I misheard, but I don't think so.

Thus, my questions: What does the phrase mean? Does it have shades of meaning not covered by enojarse? And is it used outside Chile as well?

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I had never heard this expression. Upon research I could find that the expression does not only use "venir" but also "estar", "andar", etc.

Then, I found out that DRAE has a mention to it, in which it indicates that it is typical from Chile, no other countries:

maleta3

  1. m. y f. Persona que practica con torpeza o desacierto la profesión que ejerce.

  2. m. y f. coloq. Mal torero.

  3. m. y f. Guat. Persona perversa.

a la maleta

  1. loc. adv. coloq. Chile. a traición. Le pegó a la maleta.

andar alguien de maletas

  1. loc. verb. coloq. Chile. Estar de mal humor.

As you see, "maleta" has this connotation of "dumb", so a translation would be like "acting dumb", which in some cases can be seen as "acting bad tempered".

I don't think it is a synonym of enojarse, since this means to get angry, probably as a result of something. However, in this case is most likely to refer to a continuous feeling: you wake up and feel bad tempered.

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  • 1
    Thanks! Good point; I should have compared it to estar enojado, not enojarse, but this is very helpful. – Nathaniel is protesting Oct 30 '15 at 12:42
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I want compliment the accepted response indicating something that is quite obvious for speakers of Spanish and therefore not specified:

The idiom "andar de maleta" comes from "andar de mal humor" (or "de mala cara"). This is a rhetorical game called paronomasia in which a signifier is replaced with another very similar, in this case "mal humor" for "maleta". It's probably what the English call "pun", I'm not sure.

Paronomasia is really very very very common among Chileans. I do not know if this also happens in other countries, but there are lots of examples that are part of our local dictionary. Examples:

  • Andar de maleta = andar con mal humor
  • ¡Holanda! = ¡hola!
  • ¿Y Bosnia? = ¿y vos? (es irónico: ¿acaso tú no?)
  • ¿Cómo andamio? = ¿cómo andamos? (¿cómo te va?)
  • ¡Albornoz! = ¡ah, vos no! (¿y acaso tú no?)
  • No seas Contreras = no estés siempre en mi contra (Contreras is a surname)
  • ¿Cómo le baila? = cómo te va
  • ¿Qué container? = ¿qué cuentas?
  • Todo viento = todo bien
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  • ¡Interesantísima respuesta! Ninguna de los ejemplos que mencionas se usan en España, a parte tal vez de ¿Qué me estás container? (¿qué me estás contando?). – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Apr 18 '16 at 21:55

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