Conchudo!

This is a word that I used to think was much more offensive than it actually is. Since it obviously comes from concha, a vulgar word in many South American countries, I assumed that conchudo was equally strong and contemptuous. I knew there had to be more to it, though, when I heard it flung around so often and so casually, even said with laughter, and I was right. Hereabouts, concha means nerve, gall. Chutzpah, even. If we feel like being very informal, we might say balls, as in, “I can’t believe he had the balls to ask the boss for a raise when he knows full well that his job performance is terrible.”  Tuvo la concha de pedirle al jefe un aumento, sabiendo que su desempeño era muy malo. Female genitalia? Nada que ver.

In Colombia and in a good deal of other countries as well, a person who’s conchudo/a is someone with a hell of a lot of nerve. Someone who’s shameless, brazen, unblushing, etc., although we don’t really use those words much, do we? At least in the US, we certainly don’t ever call someone cheeky, but nevertheless you’ll see the word in the dictionary as a translation for conchudo. Adjectives aren’t helping us much here, so let’s look at some nouns.

Like many adjectives in Spanish, conchudo can also be used as a noun. This is used in a general way but is especially used to describe lazy people who don’t lift a finger to help and expect others to go out of their way for them. Someone who takes advantage of others’ generosity. Best English synonyms: a freeloader and someone who mooches off others. Other words that get the idea across are a sponge, a leech, and a parasite. Really fed up with him? A jerk or an asshole.  Whatever you decide to call him, a conchudo leads us all to the same questions: Just who does this guy think he is? And where does he get off acting like that?

Conchudo

No one wants to have to work on a group project with a conchudo because they will, without fail, lie back and refuse to do any work. When presenting to the class, however, they will take all the credit without batting an eye.

When your conchuda friend loses her job and needs a place to stay for a few days, you let her sleep on your sofa. Three months later, she’s still there, never offering to pay rent or help around the house. Instead of looking for a new job, she reads magazines all day. To make her even more conchuda, she has the gall to complain about your cooking and even asks to borrow money. 

Wedding crashers? One who’s always taking in a relationship and never giving back? A coworker who likes to invite you to lunch but never reaches for the bill? Conchudos, the whole lot of ’em. Don’t forget, a conchudo is never the slightest bit apologetic. Blinded by his self-absorption, he doesn’t even realize the inconvenience he causes for others and certainly can’t be bothered to care. He does like to call others out, though, when they’re being conchudos.

No soporto a mi ex, es una conchuda, solamente me llama para pedirme plata prestada.

I can’t stand my ex-girlfriend. She has some nerve, only calling me when she needs money.

¡Qué conchudo! No me vas a dejar jugar en el PS3, sabiendo que fui yo que te lo regaló.

You’re not gonna let me play with your PS3 when I was the one who bought it for you? Man, you really are something else.

__________________________________________________ Non-natives, what’s your experience with this word? Had you heard it before? How have you heard it used? Where? If you’re a native Spanish speaker, anything to correct, clarify, comment on or concur with? 

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24 responses to “Conchudo!

  1. Hi. This is Piotr1981 from lang8
    The conceprt you’re writing about is well- known also in Poland. Such people are no doubt difficult to bear (or to bear with). Like I wrote on lang-8, I also learned some new English words from reading this post. Not only is it entertaining, but also informative- good job!

    I don’t understand the meaning of “conchudez” in the second link you mention here, though. First of all, I don’t drive and then, regrettably, my Spanish isn’t that strong, either.

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    • Hi Piotrek! Wow, my first comment– that surely must be associated in some way with good luck for both of us! And what a treat that it’s coming all the way from Poland :)

      You’re the kind of reader I didn’t even consider when I set up this blog– one whose first language isn’t English or Spanish! What a testimony to your language prowess. I’m happy that you found it useful. Thanks a lot for your kind words.

      Yes, I’m afraid that conchudos are sadly a worldwide phenomenon. Conchudez is simply the noun form of the adjective. People submit photos of obnoxious drivers who are idiots on the road– doing illegal U-turns in dangerous areas, a motorcyclist driving on the wrong side of the road, etc. Conchudos to a T!

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  2. So “conchudez” in the context of that Peruvian website means something like “being inconsiderate”, rather than “being a freeloader”?

    Ok, now I’m going to read your latest post :)

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    • Yes, the big picture of conchudo is basically just someone who’s a jerk, someone who has a lot of nerve and thinks they’re above all the rules. But it’s also used specifically for people that are freeloaders.

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  3. One thing has occurred to me recently. Do people in Colombia use the word “caradura”? From what I understand it can be used in such expressions, as “ser una caradura” or even “que cara tienes”. Apparently, it means the same as “ser un conchudo”. Unlike you, I’ve always had more contact with the Spanish used in Spain, and one day one of the grammar exercises mentioned this word.

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  4. I had never heard the word before, and my boyfriend later confirmed that it’s not used here. Looks like they’re pretty similar though. In the WordReference online dictionary, it gives the translation of a “cheeky devil,” something we would never say in the US. Maybe in the UK? Sometimes dictionaries do more harm than good!

    Thanks for taking an interest in Colombian Spanish, even though the Spanish from Spain is sure to be of more use to you :)

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  5. My English-Spanish/English-Spanish dictionary (published by Collins) translates “caradura” as “cheeky/sassy person” or as “cheek, nerve”.

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  6. It’s a funny post XD, I’m a native speaker and I live in Peru. I hate that word LoL…I mean it’s very offensive, because, as you said before, people don’t realize they are disturbing somebody else. So it’s like you don’t tell them in their face “Hey, conchudo”…unless you are in a verbal fight. Like your own mother yelling at you because you sleep instead of working. I mean in a serious moment you can say it to a person if you hate him. Most of the time is said in secret, because you hate him in secret (like saying your ex is a conchudo because he asks money) When you heard people laughing about it in somebody else’s face was because, he has done something funny, like asking for a higher salary and everybody (including him) knows he is a disaster. If you say “conchudo” to somebody that thinks he is good at sth and he deserves a better salary then he might get offended. It’s like when girls say “you are a bitch” laughing because another girl acted intentionally like that, but if she did something serious and looked like a bitch but wants to hide that, then the word “bitch” is not going to be funny but offensive. I have to translations for it: cynical, like the salary example. And the other which is the offensive one: freeloader.

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    • Hi Fiorella,

      Thanks for the long, thoughtful comment on this old post! You’ve taught me a lot more about when it’s used.

      Are you thinking about “cínico” when you suggest cynical as an option? Because cínico and cynical do not mean the same thing at all! It’s actually a very common mistake in Spanish-English translations. Shameless works much better. Also, freeloader, as you said. I offered both of these translations in the post ;)

      Thanks for stopping by! Hope to hear your opinions and advice on some newer posts :)

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  7. I’m not sure of what cynical means in English but in Spanish it’s like having no shame, shameless. It has nothing to do with guts, it’s more despective than that, even though people laugh at it including the shameless person. They say it in a friendly way, like “I can’t believe he was not ashamed at all to ask for a raise” That’s exactly what it means. If a good friend tells that to you then it’s easy to laugh, but otherwise is offensive. So using the phrase: “qué cínico” is another option for “conchudo” but more formal without saying bad words (conchudo is a bad word) but expressing your anger or teasing somebody in a formal way. Where cínico (or sinverguenza)means that he can lie or say he works a lot with a smile on his face and the truth is that he doesn’t. “Cínico” can be applied to people that talk shameless and lie about their performance, in the case people act like freeloaders then it will be “conchudo” not “cínico” because they are acting (eating free, sleeping a lot, borrowing money). I hope you understand the idea. :P

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    • Yep, I definitely do! Thanks for explaining it so well. Please keep in mind that I have been highly influenced by the two years that I lived in Colombia, and there are several differences between how they talk there and the Spanish spoken in other countries. Yes, to angrily say to a person’s face Eres un conchudo or Sos un conchudo— well, that would be very offensive! (And that would be the intent, of course) But if you refer to someone that way in the third person, it’s not as strong. You can even say it while laughing. I guess it just depends on how much the conchudo‘s behavior has bothered you.

      OK, cynical in English se refiere a una desconfianza de los motivos y sinceridad de la gente. Desconfiado, suspicaz, escéptico. Creen que las buenas intenciones de las personas siempre tienen algún interés egoísta. Ya la has cogido?

      Thanks for your explanation of cínico– I didn’t understand it super well before, but now I get it :)

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    • I didn’t see you answered me the first time before I posted the second time :P (I kept writing). I wanted to explain what cínico means in my second reply, but as I can see you got the idea. Well, thanks for reading my two explanations.

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  8. Thanks, I learned English at school but I’m still learnig by myself reading and talking :P I work for an English guy and I wanted to translate the word “conchudo” in English. I was going to report somebody in the office. I’m doing all the work he is supposed to do. So I wanted my boss to understand it in his own language what this other guy is doing. Of course I’m not a bad person, LoL, this guy earns 10 times more than me and he has a higher hierarchy than me so he is expecting me to do part of his work LoL even though we are in different fields. Well, I googled “conchudo translation” and I found your blog :)

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    • Well, in that case you could say he’s a slacker and you have to pull his weight. I guess it depends on how angry you want to get about it. If you want to keep it polite, you could just say that he’s been irresponsible and just takes advantage of you. And it’s not fair for you to have to do his work while he receives all the credit and compensation.

      If you want to get really ticked off about it, you could call him an asshole or a jerk. I would not use the words freeloader or mooch in this case.

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  9. I think irresponsible is a good word :) this peruvian guy comes to the office very late and if the other employees ask for some papers, they have to be done by me very early, when I was not supposed to do it. The guy knows, I know, it happens all the time, so the word would be “conchudo” he he he and “irresponsible” too :) but “slack”, I don’t think so because he works in something else and that’s why he comes late and earns more money (not only more money in my office but somewhere else too). Well, thanks, I’ll try to use irresponsible when talking to my English boss.

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  10. cesarincarabello

    I remember asking about “conchudo” in Mexico, used by a girl to call out her brother, who fit this personality type. Someone who brazenly/openly tries to take advantage of people/situations for their own benefit. I kept pressing her to explain how this word came to apply. Our best visualization for this was: “Concha” as in the hard shell a turtle has (thick-skinned) that they don’t feel (shame) or feel the glares others may give or even care what others think about them. Similar to the American expression: “Like water off a duck’s back.”

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    • How interesting! Thank you. I think that’s a really good explanation of it. I didn’t even think about what the word would be literally saying. Do you still live in Mexico?

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  13. It looks like I got hooked on reading your blog. I laughed so much reading this. All I can add is that people in Colombia also say “abusivo” to describe the same people… “Hombre, no sea abusivo” o “hombre, no sea conchudo.” That “caradura” expression is also very funny.

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  14. Me encanta esa palabra!!!!!!!!!! No puedes usarlo sin tener problemas a veces

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