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I am living in Málaga, Andalucia. There's a guy friend always calls me "Kari" when he starts conversations with me.

He told me this use to call some kind of best friend, and it's only used in Andalucia, but Nobody ever calls me that since I've been here.

I am wondering about the real meaning of this word.

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I guess it is not "Kari" but "Cari", or it has this leading K instead of C because of the typical usage of K in internet messages. Either ways, it stands for cariño.

Reading from The Free Dictionary:

4 Se emplea para dirigirse cariñosamente a una persona: ¡hola, cariño!, ¿qué tal el colegio?

So this is way to address someone you feel very much attached to. It may be a friend, but it is normally used between partners in a couple.

You can also hear it in shops, like in the market, where a [normally] older woman can say the following to the next customer in the queue:

¿Qué te pongo cariño?

That being said, it corresponds to a very specific context and I would feel a bit embarassed if some new friend would adress me like this.


As a funny extra, there is a growing feeling that such expressions are quite "ugly", so you can find posts like: Cari, churri, chata... y demás horrores stating that

Los (supuestos) nombres cariñosos son un arma de doble filo. Por un lado tienen un componente de cariño, de confianza, de intimidad, de posesión en el buen sentido de la palabra que mola mucho pero por otro lado son una manera fabulosa de conseguir que alguien te pierda el respeto para siempre jamás.

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  • Thank you so much. He always texts me "Kari"not "Cari, for example Hola kari. That's why I couldn't find the answer. We hanged out together 4 times now. It's related to dating, but I don't want to turn this topic to the love-question topic, so I only asked about the meaning of this word. – aratn0n Dec 4 '15 at 12:30
  • OK :) So just to complete the answer: be aware there is relationship building here since this is not something you would call to all people you just met. Cheers, enjoy Málaga and welcome to Spanish Language! – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Dec 4 '15 at 12:45
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    @aratn0n, I uphold fedorqui's answer. People do all sort of weird things when texting and abbreviating words. "Cari" is a shortened form of "cariño" and your friend is using "K" probably because he finds it fancy, casual or relaxed when texting. Maybe is also a handy way of disguise the terms of "courtship" in the early stages? – Diego Dec 4 '15 at 14:24

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