Friday, September 19, 2008

T-Shirts are complicated

Yet again, I went out for some of those tacos I love so much. While I was there, a guy came by wearing a t-shirt that said:

Tú sabrás Karate, pero yo sé putazos

I knew what it all meant, except for one word. Wanna try and guess which one?

Yeah, you guessed it. Putazos is the word I just could not figure out.

So, aside from that, we have...

You might know Karate, but I know ???

That was enough to get the gist of things, but of course I just had to know what putazos meant.

I started off with (WR). I figured, hey, do a quick search, ba-da-bing, da-da-boom, and I'm done and moving on to the conquest of the next mysterious Spanish word.

Well, it almost worked out that way.

Here's the link to my thread in WR where I asked about putazos . It explains a lot, and points out that the word means different things to different people.

I still needed a bit of clarification, so I asked my Colombian friend. He told me that this is a bad word, an insult. Shame on me, because I forgot exactly what the corresponding English word is. Anyway, his definition didn't fit the context of the sentence. So I asked my Mexican friend.

My Mexican amigo told me that putazo(s) has a couple of meanings for him. The first one is puto, as in gay. Well, the exact sentiment of puto is probably closer to fag or faggot. To say someone is putazo is to say they are not only gay, but extremely gay. I believe the word we use in English is flaming.

The other meaning of putazos is golpes. Golpes means something to the effect of hitting someone, or giving them a good beating. This seems to be right in line with the context our t-shirt slogan.

So, after a whole bunch of long-winded explanations, I think we can safely translate our sentence as something like...

You might know karate, but I'm good at giving out ass whoopings.

Or maybe...

You might know karate, but I'm good at knocking people out.

I'm probably taking a few liberties with my translations, but I think in the spirit of things it's pretty darn close.

Oh! One more thing about the word puto. If you change it to puta, it also means whore. No matter how you say it, it should be obvious you need to be careful with this word, or else you might be the recipient of a putazo.


  1. A friend of mine from a forum I participate in had some good info to add, so I'm going to share it with you here...

    Yeah, regarding your piece on the t-shirt and putazos...putazos are part of a good a$$-whoopin'.

    The statement...te voy a poner unos putazos means you're gonna knock the dude out, and good! LOL.

    This is a much more direct and serious way to tell a guy that you're not messin around, that you're serious.

  2. Putazo is just so funny everytime i hear it.

    I myself don't use it for "a beatdown" sino yo digo "una paliza"

  3. Jajaja, he andado leyendo tu blog y aunque principalmente es para aprender español, creo que los que estamos estudiando inglés, también podemos aprenderlo muy bien, ya que el "slang" es utilizado de muchas diferentes maneras, tanto en inglés como en español.
    Ahí te va otra: PUTO también es utilizado para decir que alguien es cobarde, por ejemplo: No seas puto, esa casa no está embrujada!!!!
    Don’t be coward, that house isn´t haunted!!!! (Te pido de favor que si escribo algo mal en inglés, me corrijas y así también yo aprendo inglés)

  4. Tij, mil gracias por tus comentarios. Solo faltas una cosa en tu frase, "Don't be A coward".

    Si quieres, puedes escribirme para hacerme cualquiera pregunta o practicar tu inglés.

    También puedes leer mi otro blog, "No seas pelangoche" -

    Gracias de nuevo y suerte con tu inglés.