Translation troubles: half oranges

Valentine’s Day is coming up so the Herald talks love, Argentine style

Valentine’s Day isn’t a massive date in Argentina — but I still thought I’d help you out with some of our love-related terms and phrases. If you have someone special in mind, there are plenty of date ideas doing the rounds. You just might need to throw a skinny gray dog at them first. 

Te tira los galgos

If a friend sidles up to you and says “Hey, that person is throwing the greyhounds at you,” I’m afraid that doesn’t mean adorable puppies are in your immediate future. It means they’re into you or trying to seduce you. In English, “setting the hounds” on someone means having them hunted down — just not in a romantic way. In that sense, the literal translation works pretty well, since finding a partner is unfortunately framed as a “hunt” in several languages. As a fun aside, the person being targeted by the metaphorical greyhounds is usually oblivious to it. 

Fun as flying greyhounds sound, we’d usually just say te está tirando onda. “Wave” is a vast catch-all term that merits its own entry: it can range from cool to, in this case, actively throwing “date-me” vibes your way.


This lunfardo titan is used all the time: it’s “sweet talk,” the act of sweet talking (the verb form chamuyar) and sweet talker (chamuyero/a/e). Much like sweet-talking, chamuyar doesn’t mean sticking to the truth so sometimes you’ll hear es puro chamuyo — it’s pure bull.

Chamuyo comes from Caló, the language spoken by the Calé (Spanish and Portuguese Romani people), and can be spelled chamuyo or chamullo. As long as you respect the Argentine /ʝ/ (“sh”) pronunciation, either spelling is acceptable. 

Media naranja

In a word (or two): soulmate. The concept dates back to Plato’s split-soul theory, with the idea being that you find The One™ who completes you. Whether you accept the idea of a soulmate is another thing (our polyamorous friends have entered the chat). 

One of my high school classmates used to say relationships were more like grapes, which I enjoyed: a series of fulfilling connections throughout our lives that don’t mean renouncing our individuality. If you had to describe your significant other(s) as a fruit, what would you say?

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