Monday, October 3, 2011

Ahí viene la marimacho de María

Marimacho is a word that I just recently added to my bag of Spanish tricks.  I probably won't need to use it often, but I found it to be pretty interesting, so I thought I'd share it with you.   Besides, you never know when these things pop up.  It seems like once I learn a new word I hear it everywhere.  Anyway, let's get on with it.

Ahí viene la marimacho de Diana
Here comes that tomboy Diana

As you can see marimacho means tomboy, but that's just the tip of the iceberg and it's not as straight-forward as you might think, so let's dig into things a little deeper.

If you're in Spain, marimacho is your word of choice when it comes to talking about tomboys, and there's also the word chicazo.  But this is Spain.  In Mexico marimacho might have a very different meaning, depending on who you talk to.

In Mexico marimacho can be a bit strong, carry a negative connotation, and be associated with lesbians (lesbianas) or possibly even a transvestite (travestí).  And you're actually quite likely to hear marimacha instead of marimacho.  So when you talk to your Mexican friends you might want to use the word machetona, which seems to be more of a direct translation for tomboy. 

One more thing about the word marimacho.  You can also use it to talk about someone you can't quite tell if they're a girl or a guy, or a woman who looks more like a guy than a girl.  I believe we call a woman like that butch.

And like always, there's more than one way to skin a cat.  There are several other words you can use for tomboy:  machona, machote, varonera, hombruna and machorra

What's the difference between all these words you ask? 

Well, quite honestly, the biggest thing is location.  Some countries prefer one word, some prefer another.  Some people consider certains words offensive, others don't.  One word may be commonplace in one country and unheard of in another.  There are no hard and fast rules us gringos can follow to guide us. 

Consider this entranda (post) a loose roadmap to help you navigate a road that has a lot of twists and turns.  Asking your friends what they use and how they interpret these words is the best way to keep yourself out of trouble.  And of course, learn something new. 

Well, that's it for today, short and simple. 

¡Hasta luego!


  1. First time I saw the word "marimacho" was in an episode of Deciciones (Extremas). It was pretty stereotypical as far as portraying a lesbian woman but some parts of it were cute.

  2. I am a latin butch woman, and I first heard of the word Marimacho in a movie. When someone asked the character in the movie what that name meant, they repiled" a cow that thinks she's a bull". Altoughy it was an amusing statement, it is also offending.