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Bits and Pieces from Buenos Aires

Words we use in BA: Curro

January 24, 2013

Words are part of us, of our culture, especially the ones we make up or modify to use in our local slang. One of these words is “curro”, which we could translate initially as “job” but is much richer (pun) than that when we delve deeper. Here’s a translated definition from a forum which is quite useful:

Curro: Business or work, honest or dishonest, legal or illegal, which generally provides much profit with little or no effort. Due to its monopolistic character or its illegal nature or because it is frowned upon in spite of being legal or simply out of envy of the speaker it has always a negative connotation in Argentina.

Three good examples are given of how we would use this word. I will use alternative translations in each case.

La Universidad de Cambridge tiene el curro de los exámenes internacionales ESOL (Cambridge University has the milk cow of ESOL international exams)
La policía federal tiene montado el currito del cobro de coimas a los locales de prostitución (The Federal Police has organised the scam of charging bribes from brothels)
Las obras sociales inventaron el curro del cobro de un “co-seguro” al momento de la consulta médica (Social security institutions invented the co-insurance rip-off charged with medical visits)

Rip-off, scam, con job, cash cow, easy number, cushy job, side jobs, gig, business, racket all touch on one of the many connotations of this word we use and hear very often in Buenos Aires.

What does this say about us? Are we envious of people who have a “curro” and deep inside would like to have one ourselves? Or do we think it is bad to have it easy – legal or illegal – while most of us have to work hard to put the money on the table every day? Maybe the word is there because there are many “curros” around.

What do you think?


by bitsandpieces. Find out more about bitsandpieces here.

Categories: Thoughts, Words