Sh** Colombians Say, Part 6: When will the Colombianisms end?


A drawn out, ooooooosh! sound indicates some kind of extreme. Surprise, danger, scandal, fear, excitement, upset, apprehension, joy – when you can’t find the words, “Uuuushhhh!” is appropriate. The best is when there’s a situation with a bunch of Colombians experiencing the same thing, like watching a sports game with a close call, or a full bus that slams on the breaks. In involuntary unison, without skipping a beat, everyone lets out an “Uush!”


Paila literally means different types of container. Helado de paila is delicious ice cream made by swirling creamy ingredients around a large metal bowl set in ice. Paila also means “fail,” “uh oh,” “…not good,” “screwed” and anything of that nature. It also has its own hand gesture, a stiff palm to the side of your throat. No homework? Uush..paila. Baked By Ana doesn’t have chocolate bread on weekdays? Paila. Girlfriend’s mad at you? Paila, bro. SUCH A GREAT WORD.

I finally figured out that “afán” means a rush or hurry. I’ve never heard it before Colombia, and only recently did I learn what it was. The funny thing is, at first I derived the meaning as a bad mood or being upset – afán always sounds like such an awful thing to have. Around here, it seems, afán is a negative concept. Why rush when you can grab a tinto and shoot the breeze for half hour longer/

Castillo de San Felipe