Spanish Vocabulary - Flamenco
Language Resources

Flamenco-related vocabulary used in daily life

Flamenco is not just a part of the Spanish culture, but the language as well. Some terms of this unique art have crept into everyday expressions with very expressive meanings. Here are just a few examples...

    Cante flamenco
  • Cabales: in music “cabales” refers to a sudden change in the singing tone of a song. Applied to the wider picture, it is used when talking about a person that has gone crazy or lost their mind, who you could describe by saying “no está en sus cabales”, (ie. He has lost his marbles).
  • Corto: a “corto” is a flamenco singer who is only skilled in a few styles of flamenco. So a person who perhaps has not done much with their life would be a “corto”. Today it is a frequently used offensive term.
  • Desplante: This word refers to the final loud stamp that a dancer does at the end of a song. The word for this energetic movement has also ended up defining the arrogant and defiant attitude of a person in an unpleasant situation.
  • Farruco: “La farruca” is a type of non-Andalusian inspired flamenco. But “farruco” is also someone arrogant and insolent. The word may have originated from the attitude that non-southern flamenco singers were faced with by traditionalists
  • Milonga: This is a flamenco genre related to American folklore. It is characterized by its melancholy stories. In language spoken in the street, the milonga is a sad story that does not seem real. One day you are bound to hear someone say “no me andes con milongas” if they do not believe the story, (ie. Stop pulling my leg).
  • Cantores flamenco
  • Peteneras: These are compositions with a lot of sentimental and sad content. The colloquial expression “irseporpeteneras” means to change the subject to present a miserable story to influence the audience.
  • Soleares: “irseporsoleares” has a similar meaning to "irseporpeteneras" but considering that the solea is a dance that requires great expressiveness by those who perform it, this expression signifies changing the subject with great exaggeration and drama.

Now you know a few flamenco-inspired everydayexpressions. If you learn them well you will be just like an authentic Spaniard (especially in Andalucia!). 

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