I have heard the expression:

¡Que oso!

It is used to express embarrassment by a former acquaintance from Colombia, but I have never met another Spanish speaker who uses this expression.

My questions:

  1. Is this a common expression?
  2. If so, can the "oso" terminology used in other ways, to say for example, "Don't embarrass me", or "I don't like to be embarrassed"?
  • 3
    If you are a man I wouldn't recommend you to use it, teenage girls commonly use it. – Luis Carlos Nov 18 '11 at 4:47
  • Yes, it is a very common expression in Colombia and it is used exactly as Alfredo O explained in his answer. – Gonzalo Medina Nov 19 '11 at 21:50
  1. It's a common Mexican expression but it's informal. Used among friends, more often used by female speakers than male speakers.
  2. The "oso" must be accompanied by the "Que" (Que oso) and it means: "That is/was embarrassing" or "This is/was embarrassing" depending of the context.

In short the phrase is "Que oso" and oso by itself doesn't mean embarrassed.

I just remembered that there is another popular phrase that includes the word "oso":

Hiciste el oso

You made a fool of yourself (Hiciste el ridículo).

Hice el oso

I made a fool of myself (Hice el ridículo).

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  • How cute! (-: I can't remember if I've heard it or not. – hippietrail Nov 17 '11 at 15:14
  • Just a FYI for non Spanish speakers: Que Oso translates literally in "what a bear" lol – isJustMe Nov 17 '11 at 15:45
  • Thanks - does it also work with other expressions? Like, can you say, "Estoy el oso" for "I'm embarrassed!" etc. – razlebe Nov 17 '11 at 15:47
  • 1
    @razlebe updated the answer. – Alfredo Osorio Nov 17 '11 at 16:00

I believe this expression is primarily used by Mexican people, I never heard it anywhere else. It is very common among them (you just need to take a look at the great amount of available Mexican TV programs), but other than them, you won't hear it used anywhere else.

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  • Thanks - clearly need to add some Mexican TV to my week :) – razlebe Nov 17 '11 at 15:48
  • 2
    Of couse it's used outside Mexico. Nearly every Colombian teenager uses it. – Gonzalo Medina Nov 20 '11 at 20:35

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