‘Machirulo’ is now a word in the Royal Spanish Academy dictionary

The term was one of 4,000 recent additions and modifications. In Argentina, it’s a popular insult for someone with sexist attitudes

The Royal Spanish Academy (RAE, by its Spanish acronym) has added machirulo, perreo, and VAR to its dictionary as part of an update that includes over 4,000 modifications. This means these words are now formally recognized as part of the Spanish language.

Machirulo is another way of saying sexist. It’s derived from the word machista, which is similarly used to describe a person or thing that upholds regressive gender politics.

The RAE dictionary defines machirulo as “a person, especially a man, who exhibits a sexist attitude.” If the person is female, then she would be a machirula. It can also be used to describe sexist ideas. To wit, “That is a very machirula answer.”

The popularization of the word machirulo can be traced to Argentine politics.

In 2018, current Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner used it to describe Mauricio Macri, who was Argentina’s president at the time. Congress had been discussing a Kirchner-supported bill to halt an increase in utility tariffs. Macri, in turn, asked Peronist senators to “show that there is a responsible and trust-worthy Peronism” that doesn’t operate according to “Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s madness.”

“Calling a woman mad,” Kirchner tweeted. “Classic machirulo.”

Although feminists in Argentina had used the term prior to this incident, Kirchner’s statement ended up widely popularizing the term. The phrase “típico de machirulo” was printed on mugs and t-shirts at the time and even now.

RAE has defined perreo as a “kind of dance style generally executed at the rhythm of reggaeton, with erotic hip movements.”

“When danced in pairs,” it continued, “the man is generally behind the woman, keeping their bodies very close together.”

Herald editor Valen Iricibar previously explored the origins of the term perreo in their weekly column, Translation Troubles. They described it as a dance in which one “moves their hips and drops to a squatting position with the music, usually in a sexy way.”

Valen noted that perrear can’t be directly translated to twerking. “For one thing, perrear often means dancing pressed close to a partner and rubbing against each other, which in English would be ‘grinding,’” they wrote. “For another, twerking feels too specific, both culturally and mechanically, to use as a direct equivalent.” 

The RAE dictionary also added the term sinhogarismo, which is akin to homelessness in English, and VAR, the English acronym for Video Assistant Referee used in football.


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