Tengo un filo, que si me agacho me corto

We continue with our list of Colombian phrases, scrutinizing them to see which ones really cut the mustard when it comes to being uniquely Colombian. And speaking of cut, and speaking of mustard, today’s phrase is quite apropos.

3. Tengo un filo, que si me agacho me corto (Knew it. Uniquely Colombian.)

Literal translation: I have a blade, and if I bend over I’ll cut myself.
Translation: I have a hunger that’s so sharp that if I bend over I’ll cut myself.
Meaning: I’m starving, I’m ravenous, I’m dying of hunger.

El filo is the edge or blade of a knife. In Colombia, filo can also mean tremendous hunger. So, just imagine having a sharp knife in your stomach, blade-side up. You’d have to walk very upright to make sure the blade didn’t cut into you; if you bent over, it would slice right into your stomach. So violent! But it’s just a phrase.

But, wait, a quick internet search reveals, devastatingly, that filo means biting hunger in many countries! I had no idea. I just swallowed what I was told–that it was an out-and-out Bogotanismo. Not at all, though. They can’t claim the credit for this one. Filo also means hunger in Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, and Central America. And probably some other countries as well. Strangely, the RAE only recognizes El Salvador’s usage of filo as intense hunger. So, if there’s any country that could claim rights to the word, it would be them. Describe your filo with adjectives like atroz, enorme, tenaz, voraz, and tremendo.

Depending on the country, you might hear some variation of: Ando con filo, Qué filo tengo, Cargo un filo enorme, or Me dio filo.

Filo‘s not uniquely Colombian, but it appears that our colorful phrase is. Say something like, Uy, parce, tengo un filo donde me agache me corto (donde + subjunctive = si) and there will be no room for doubt regarding where you (are trying to) hail from!

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2 responses to “Tengo un filo, que si me agacho me corto

  1. Dolores Gutierrez

    in Ecuador we say “pasar filo” meaning being hungry

    Like

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