Qué chulo and Qué chula: Meaning and slang uses in Spanish
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Learning a foreign language goes beyond knowing the standard grammar and vocabulary, it’s also important to know the forms of everyday expression to have more fluent conversations and connect with native speakers. That’s why in this post we’ll learn about the expression qué chulo and qué chula in Spanish.
If you travel around Latin America, or even Spain, or hang out with native Spanish speakers, you’ll definitely hear this one. This Spanish expression has different meanings, some nicer than others. We already touched on chulo in our post on Spanish slang, but here we’ll go into a lot more detail.
Now let’s dive and and learn both the positive and negative qué chula meanings so you know what you’re dealing with.
Qué chulo and qué chula: Positive meanings
Chulo or chula, meaning pretty or cool in Spanish, can be used both as an adjective, or as a nickname or term of endearment. Just be sure to use the masculine form, chulo, or the feminine form, chula, depending on the gender of what you’re referring to.
When used as a nickname, it doesn’t describe a quality but refers to a person, just like sweetie or baby. In fact, we’ve even introduced papi chulo, meaning a handsome man, in our post on Spanish Caribbean slang. In everyday life, it’s very common to hear strangers referring to other people with terms like this; however, it’s best to use these expressions with discretion to avoid misunderstandings.
Chulo or chula can also be used to say that something is cool or nice. It is mostly used in Mexico; however, it can be heard throughout Latin America.
Beyond chulo or chula on their own, it is very common to add qué in Spanish to intensify their meaning: qué chulo or qué chula, meaning how pretty or how cool. This expression is a great way to hype your friends up with some compliments!
Let’s take a look:
- ¿Cómo estás, chula? – How are you, beautiful?
- Chulo, ¿me ayudas a cargar estas bolsas? – Handsome, would you help me carry these bags?
- Qué chula es María. Me encanta su cabello. – Maria is so cool. I love her hair.
- Qué chula está tu gorra, Andrea. Me gusta mucho su color. – Your cap is so cool, Andrea. I really like the color.
- ¡Qué chulo el carro del doctor! – The doctor’s car is so cool!
Qué chulo and qué chula: Negative meanings
Although chulo and chula in Spanish can have a colloquial and affectionate uses in some contexts or countries, it has some derogatory meaning in others. It’s important to be aware of these when you hear or use qué chulo or qué chula, so let’s cover their different negative meanings.
In Spain, chulo and chula can mean cheeky, vain, or arrogant.
In Venezuela chulo and chula can refer to someone who takes financial advantage of others, whether as a gold digger or a mooch.
In both Spain and Argentina, chulo is also slang for pimp.
- Qué chula es Luisa, siempre cree que sabe más que sus compañeros de trabajo. – Luisa is so cocky, she always thinks she knows more than her coworkers.
- Qué chulo es Juan, le está quitando el dinero a su hermano. – Juan is such a leech, he’s taking money from his brother.
Great! Today we learned some fun new vocabulary with multiple uses. Let’s review before we go.
Chulo or chula in Spanish is a word with several meanings, both positive and negative, often used to describe or talk about other people. Chulo and chula as an adjective and pet name is mostly used in Mexico with positive connotations, although it’s also used with other nuances in the rest of Latin America and Spain.
To spice up your Spanish, you can throw in a qué chulo or qué chula, meaning how pretty or how nice, as a colloquial and easy way to give a compliment among friends.
On the other hand, in countries like Spain, Argentina, or Venezuela, qué chulo or qué chula can be derogatory when used to describe people, so you should be careful and be very aware of the context to avoid misunderstandings.
To sum up, just keep in mind that Spanish speakers are familiar with multiple meanings for these expressions, so how they’re interpreted depends entirely on the context. If it’s clear that you’re using qué chulo or qué chula meaning how pretty or how cool, then that’s likely how it will be interpreted. But if you’re using them in a derogatory context, then these negative meanings of qué chulo and qué chula will also be understood by the native speakers around you.
That’s all for now. We hope you found this post very chulo!