Why is a beer known as a lagarto ("lizard") in Cuba?

lagarto: (uso vulgar) cerveza (Cuba).

Neither the DLE entry (6.) nor the Diccionario de Americanismos one (V. 1.) explain the etymology.

1 Answer 1


Another older word for beer in Cuba is láguer1. Lagarto came to be used as a synonym solely due to its phonetic similarity to laguér; the word has nothing to do with lizards in this context:

La motivación puede ser a veces puramente fónica, sin que medie ninguna relación semántica entre la palabra sustituida y la sustituidora. En el ejemplo presentado podría también considerarse que entra en acción un procedimiento de derivación mixta (véase a este respecto § 3.4.4):

lagarto [ampl. de láguer] m. cul. vulg. gen. cerveza [sin. véase en fría]

1. Though láguer clearly derives from the English lager/German Lagerbier, in Cuban Spanish this refers to any type of beer, not just lagers.

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