What does the expression "por refalada" mean in the following sentence?

Caer a un precipicio por refalada o empujado por las circunstancias siempre tenía el mismo resultado.

It's from an Argentine, or more specifically Patagonian, text from the turn of the 20th century.

I've checked my usual handful of dictionaries and DLE online with no results.

  • sounds close to resbalada
    – aris
    Jun 28, 2020 at 23:29
  • 1
    Could you give the reference to the text where this is found? Having more context always helps. That being said, I agree with @aris that it sounds very much like resbalada, which means to slip.
    – fedorqui
    Jun 29, 2020 at 8:34
  • As an Argentinean I can say that it definitely sounds like "resbalada"; and it kind of sounds "the gaucho way". That said, before I saw the word in context it was not obvious what it was, and I have never heard it or read it. Jun 29, 2020 at 18:22
  • In Chile there is even a popular dance called "La refalosa" Jun 30, 2020 at 18:11

2 Answers 2


The Diccionario de americanismos should always be part of the "usual handful": http://lema.rae.es/damer/?key=refalada.

  1. f. Ch, p.u; Ar, rur, pop + cult → espon; Ur, p.u, pop. Resbalón o deslizamiento por una superficie pulida o resbaladiza.
  2. Ch, p.u.; metáf; Ar, rur. Desliz, desacierto, indiscreción. pop.

So I think it means "caer a un precipicio debido a un resbalón" (or "a un desliz", if it's in a metaphorical sense).


As @aris commented and @OnlyThenDidIReckonMyCurse explains, the term comes from resbalada.

As it happens with other words, not-so-well-educated people tended to mutate some words to the point that resfalada is well recognized in Argentina (mostly outside the cities).

Also, gauchos tends to "eat" the letter s from words too, and resfalada is also known as refalada too.

TL;DR: There is no difference, conceptually speaking, between resbalada, resfalada and refalada. Except that resbalada feels fancy to some people, revealing them that you are from a big city.

PD: Posted this as an answer since "comment" requires 50 reputation.

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