So far I’ve been focusing on Castillian and Iberian words, although castellanos only make up about 7-10% of the Spanish speaking world. That’s why today’s word is a word that’s used throughout Latin-America, although in some places more than in other: chévere. In Spain you’d simply say formidable or tremendo. In English it can be translated to several words, like ‘awesome’, ‘cool’ and ‘nice’.

*Note: According to the Real Academia Española dictionary, there are different meanings for the word chévere in Latin-America:

1. adj. Ant., Ec., Hond., Méx., Pan. y Perú. Primoroso, gracioso, bonito, elegante, agradable.

2. adj. Á. Caribe, Bol., El Salv. y Hond. Estupendo, buenísimo, excelente.

3. adj. Col., Cuba, Pan., Perú, R. Dom. y Ven. Benévolo, indulgente. Un profesor chévere. Un examen chévere.

4. m. fest. P. Rico y Ven. petimetre.

5. adv. m. Ven. magníficamente (‖ muy bien).

Source

Sentences

Mi novio es bien chévere.
My boyfriend is really nice.

Me siento chévere.
I feel great.

La fiesta fue chévere, fue cheverísima.
The party was nice, really nice.

¡Qué chévere!
That’s great!

*Sentences taken from WordReference.com.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa November 18, 2008 at 9:01 pm

Well, that’s a new one on me ;o)

Lisaxx

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Thomas November 19, 2008 at 4:15 am

Chévere is a very chévere word. It’s really catching on in different Latin countries. Although it’s mostly a word used in Andean Spanish (up to Venezuela), it has hit the mainstream in Central America, making its way in through popular TV shows and international celebrities.

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Ramses November 19, 2008 at 6:42 am

I never heard of it actually, not until I saw it in my vocab book with a comparison table between ‘very Latin-American’ and ‘Castellano’ words. It contains more of these words, so it might be interesting using them for future posts.

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Alberto November 20, 2008 at 2:37 am

Helloo, I’m spanish, from Spain, and I didn´t even knew that word xD
Its ‘very Latin-American’.
I`m curious, are you learning ‘Castellano’, or ‘Latin-American’ or both?

I’m learning English =)

Un saludo!

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Ramses November 20, 2008 at 12:05 pm

I’m mainly learning castellano, but knowing something about the language in different regions of the hipanosphere is always nice of course :-) .

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Alan November 20, 2008 at 12:08 pm

Once again, this word will never be used in Argentina or Uruguay. I neverd heard it in Paraguay either, and I´m not sure about México. Actually, I wouldn´t use it anywhere outside Colombia, just in case (in Venezuela you will sound like a looser if you say it).

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Menke November 21, 2008 at 1:34 am

In Argentina they use ‘copado’ in the same sense and in Chile they use ‘bakán’. In Peru and Ecuador ‘chévere’ is a very common word. Most of my friends from there use it. In Mexico they use lots of different words, mostly ‘chido’ and ‘padre’. But the Mexican Spanish is one of the richest of all, I think. Whole books are written about it, even one book about one word and its variations: chingar.

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Ramses November 21, 2008 at 7:40 am

Many people from Argentina here the last few days :-) . Like I summed up in the post, the word isn’t used in Argetina. I should do some posts on Argentinan words. Any suggestions?

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PNP November 22, 2008 at 12:02 am

I’m not argentinan, but the typical words that we use to imitate argentinan people are ‘pelotudo’, ‘boludo’ and ‘macanudo’

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Cornelius March 24, 2010 at 11:34 pm

Here's some old school trivia: during the intro to Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing" he's clumsily trying to impress a woman by demonstrating how international he is. He launches into nonsense Spanish saying, "Todo tambien chevere" and the woman coos back with the proper inflection ‘chévere!’, well aware that he doesn't know what he's talking about, but amused by the effort! Check it out! That's how I learned the word as a child!

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Ramses March 25, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Hehe, you're right. Didn't know that ;-)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkBUx6Zn6mo

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Anna L January 17, 2011 at 5:17 am

We lived in Bogota when that song was first released and were sure that he sang "Bogota es bien chévere" :)

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Paul June 12, 2010 at 2:44 am

Although I took Spanish in high school and in college, I thought this was the French word for 'goat' when I saw it. (Though the spelling is slightly off.) I've always considered Catalan (which this word is likely derived from) to be a Spanish-French hybrid. I could read the signs in Barcelona, but how to pronounce the words? Who knows!

I'm guessing one would say "chevr-er-ay" in this case rather than 'chev-air' as in French?

Reply

Luis F Martinez July 14, 2011 at 1:52 am

I was Born in NYC but raised in Puerto Rico until the age of abouyt 10 or 11. Chevere was used regularly, in fact, I don't remeber even using the word Bueno (good) most of the time. We all used "chevere. I also remeber a song in PR, it was – Que chevere, que chever (they sand it very quickly…I think it was a salsa). Not only did we say chevere all of the time (like saying…"awesome" "thats great" or Cool!…My Grandfathers name was Dionisio Santiago Chevere…So, his moms last name was Chevere.

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Luis F Martinez July 14, 2011 at 1:55 am

I was Born in NYC but raised in Puerto Rico until the age of about 10 or 11. Chevere was used regularly, in fact, I don't remember even using the word Bueno (good) most of the time. We all used "chevere. I also remember a song in PR, it was – Que chevere, que chevere (they sand it very quickly…I think it was a salsa). Not only did we say chevere all of the time (like saying…"awesome" "that's great" or Cool!…My Grandfathers name was Dionisio Santiago Chevere…So, his moms last name was Chevere.

(sorry about the spelling – I can type quickly but I suck at checking my typing! ;-)

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J HERNANDEZ April 10, 2012 at 6:41 am

I can recall the word ( chevere ) from my days playing in the Roberto Clemente Park in Paterson NJ, it was widely used in the community,i took it to always mean nice/cool ..

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kieran August 31, 2012 at 5:55 pm

I've never heard "formidable" used in Spain. And "tremendo" can mean that something is "unbelievable", and usually not in a good way.

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Joaquin January 17, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Kieran, "Formidable" is used in Spain very often, it is commonly used by everyone. "Tremendo" is "unbelievable" like you said, an used in both ways, very good and very bad, normally while telling a story.

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Will April 7, 2014 at 9:28 am

It was in very common usage in Columbia in the Late 1960s. It was the cool way to say; cool/nice/sympatico

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