Word of the month... Zagal
Meanings: Shepherd. Boy who has reached adolescence. Boy who helps the driver of a horse-drawn carriage.
One of our staff writers remembers when his grandfather used to tell him “menudo zagal estás hecho” (you’ve sure become quite the zagal) after they’d spent some time without seeing each other. He’d gone through a growth spurt so common during adolescence.
“Zagal” is a pretty word. Although it has fallen out of disuse, some older people still use it to refer to young people entering adolescence.
The word originally referred to young shepherds and assistants of drivers of horse drawn carriages. Interestingly, the words comes from the Arabic word used in Andalusí, zaḡáll, which means “young and brave”.
A certain element of that meaning remains today. The word is often used to get the attention of some young person who’s behaving a little too boldly, to warn them that if they keep it up they’re going to get into trouble. The word in fact may even sound strange to many outside of that context.
So, zagales, after that explanation, I bid you farewell.