Spanish Word: Pasquín
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Word of the month... Pasquín

If you’ve spent time in Spain, you’ll have probably noticed that we’re fans of parodies and scathing sarcasm in general. This is nothing new: we’ve always made jokes about our politicians and other figures that make the news. In the past, the “pasquín” was often used to spread jokes, which was an anonymous piece of outrageously funny writing that denounced some misdoing. The term fell into disuse, although it seems that now, thanks to the great number of blogs and social networks, the word is making something of a comeback. Interestingly, the word dates back to ancient times, and its history recalls the Latin roots of the Spanish language.


In the second century B.C., there was a workshop near today’s Piazza Navona that was owned by a lively joker named Pasquino. Hundreds of people would flock to the workshop to enjoy his hilarious comedy and to have their footwear repaired. The place soon came to be known as “La Plaza de Pasquino” in honor of the comedian. Another owner ended up taking over and in 1501 the torso of a Helenistic statue was placed in the nearby square. People began hanging satirical writings on the sculpture, perhaps seeing an ideal platform for comedy or perhaps feeling inspired to keep the humorous legacy alive of the old shoemaker, and that’s where our word of the month comes from: curious origins indeed.

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