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I've heard the Spanish slang word "chinga" used in several popular movies/tv shows, as well as by other Spanish speakers, as the English word "f*ck".

My friend denies the notion, saying "chinga" is not a common phrase for the English word mentioned above, and is not used by native speakers. I've heard it's Mexican slang, but am unsure if that's true or not.

I have heard "chinga" used as fck* in the popular TV series "Breaking Bad", as well as "Sons of Anarchy".

My questions are:

  • Who is correct?

  • Where did the word originate from? (when used for my particular meaning)


Let me clarify, I'm looking for the origin and SLANG uses of the word "chinga", not any other derivation of the word.

Since this is considered slang, relating it to dictionary words is pretty meaningless. Slang can be considered a widely adopted meaning of an otherwise nonsensical word/phrase, I believe that true in this case.

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    As you see, it would be very useful to know where are those "popular movies" from, e.g. Spain, Mexico, South America... Also it would help to know from where your friend is, or which regional Spanish dialect or culture you most use or hear. – JoulSauron Dec 4 '12 at 8:00
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    You have to read the answers to a similar question in yahoo respuestas – jachguate Dec 4 '12 at 8:11
  • Some friends and I were talking about beer the other day; they both speak Spanish (we were talking in English). I mentioned the Chinese beer "Tsing Tao" which is pronounced "Ching Dow" They both jumped back, wide-eyed, and told me to watch what I said, as it means something "bad" in Spanish (there were many Spanish-speakers besides them within earshot). – B. Clay Shannon Jul 17 '14 at 18:41
  • It doesn't look like it comes from the spanish language or any european language for that matter. No other spanish speaking country uses this word. I heard someone say that it comes from the aztec language, not too sure but it would make sense since aztec language uses a lot of the "ch" consonant. – user7261 Jan 4 '15 at 4:06
  • Hearsay does not make for a good answer here. Please edit your answer to provide a source. – Flimzy Jan 5 '15 at 21:57
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As a mexican, I can tell you that even though Chewie is 100% right in all of his affirmations about the word "chingar" and its derivatives, your friend told you the correct thing as well.

Let me explain. The form "chinga" can have different meanings depending on the context:

  1. As the conjugation of the singular third person of "chingar". In this context it applies as Chewie explained in his answer, i.e.

    Que bien chinga. / He is fucking annoying. (would be the best translation of the use of this form) / He fucks well. (would be the literal translation although this is not the message that the phrase conveys).

  2. As a noun.

    ¡Que chinga! / I cannot think of a good phrase in English for this use. Basically it is used when you have a job or chore to do and it is really hard, annoying or that you really do not want to do it. It also has the sexual connotation in that you are "being screwed".

  3. As an exclamation.

    ¡Ah chingá! / ¡Ah chingao! /It could be like saying Really! or simply Whoa! Basically it is just an expression of surprise. Even though this expression has nothing to do with the word "fuck" it is a vulgar way to express yourself.

So as you can see, the word in most, maybe 99% of its uses, does have a sexual connotation and it may very well be related to the English term "fuck" but it does have, at least a single use in which it is not exactly that.

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    In English you use the word fuck as an exclamation, the same way you explain in the point 3. Fuck! is the same as ¡ah, chinga!. They doesn't have a direct sexual meaning, but IMHO both expressions have an indirect sexual connotation. – jachguate Dec 4 '12 at 17:50
  • @jachguate: I do not believe both expressions are exactly the same. Usually when someone uses "fuck" as an expression of surprise it is like saying "Oh my God" and "ah chinga" is more like "wait a second, this should not be like this". Just like you, this is based only on my opinion. – Sergio Romero Dec 4 '12 at 18:06
  • it could have different meanings in different regions. :) – jachguate Dec 4 '12 at 21:56
  • This is more what I was looking for, thanks Sergio! – CODe Dec 4 '12 at 23:29
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    @vorbote: Nope. "¡Que chingón!" is "This/That is fucking awsome!". "¡Que chinga!" is something like "This is fucking annoying" or "I have really been fucked up". – Sergio Romero Dec 11 '12 at 23:50
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This appears to be one of those versatile slang words which can mean loads of things (many of them swearwords) depending on the context, region, dialect, etc.

First of all, your friend is definitely wrong about chingar not meaning to fuck, with lots of derivations: chingarla (to fuck up), chingar a alguien (fucking with someone or pissing off someone), me chingaron (they fucked me), vete a la chingada (go fuck yourself), etc.

Plus a plethora of other meanings, not all of them rude. See chingar (RAE, Wiktionary, Urban Dictionary), chinga (RAE, Wiktionary), chingado (RAE), hijo de la chingada (RAE), Spanish profanity, References to sexual acts.

According to the Real Academia, it originates from the caló čingarár, to fight.

Also relevant, Octavio Paz, Mexican Nobel Laureate in Literature, discussed this very term in his book El laberinto de la soledad: La Chingada.

Disclaimer: I'm not Mexican/Central American, where this word seems to have widest use, nor do I frequently use this word, though I'm not unfamiliar with it.

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  • Specifically looking for usage of the word "chinga", no other derivation, but you provided a few good links regardless that helped prove my point to my friend. Thanks! – CODe Dec 4 '12 at 15:01
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"Chingar" does not seem to be a common equivalent for the English word "Fuck" at least on HBO Latino.

I listen to a lot of movies dubbed into Mexican Spanish on HBO Latino and I have only heard "chingar" used once.

"Go fuck yourself" seems to be more frequently expressed using the verb "Pudrir" in the sense of Go Rot --púdrete-- and "Totally fucked" is expressed using the verb "Joder" --estoy totalmente jodido--.

But maybe "Chingar" is considered too crude for HBO Latino.

I hope this is helpful and on topic. I am far from being any expert on Spanish.

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