Wednesday, 4 January 2012


Today's WOTD is: 'pelo' = hair

In Spanish, the noun 'pelo' is a masculine noun of Latin origin, the main meaning of which is hair. The noun 'pelo' is often used to refer to the fur (of animals) or the pile (in carpets).

Some other Spanish nouns which are also often used to refer to hair are:
  • 'cabello'.- Often used in plural ('cabellos') to refer to hair.
  • 'barba'.- Often used in plural ('barbas') to refer to facial hair (beard/ stubble)
  • 'vello'.- Soft hair growing all over the body. Also used to refer to the hair in the skin of some plant leaves/ fruit, such a peaches (down/ fuzz).

A related Spanish action word/ verb is 'pelar' which is used to refer to common actions, such as:
  • to peel (fruit/ potatoes/ carrots/ etc.)
  • to shell (beans/ shellfish/ etc.)
  • to cut somebody's hair

A couple of related Spanish describing words/ adjectives in common use are:

  • 'cabelludo'/ 'cabelluda' .- This adjective is often used to describe someone/something as hairy or furry
  • 'peludo'/ 'peluda' .-  This adjective is often used to describe a person as hairy or an animal as furry... or a tail or beard as bushy.

 Some commonly used expressions containing the word 'pelo' or related words in them are:
  • A pelo (bare back-riding).
  • A pelo (naked).
  • A pelo (without head gear).
  • A pelo (without protection).
  • Al pelo (a good job/ job well done/ done exactly).
  • Alfombra de pelo largo (shag-pile carpet).
  • Así {me, te, le, nos, os, les} luce el pelo(*) (identify something as a waste of time).
  • Cabello blanco (grey hair).
  • Cabello de ángel (a sweet filling made of pumpkin and syrup).
  • Caérsele el pelo a alguien (to lose one's hair).
  • Caérsele el pelo a alguien (to come a cropper).
  • ¡Con estos pelos! (looking like this!)
  • Con pelos y señales (down to the last detail).
  • Cortarse el pelo (to get a haircut).
  • Cuero cabelludo (scalp).
  • Echar pelos a la mar (to make up/ to reconcile).
  • Estar hasta los pelos (to be totally fed up).
  • Hace un frío que pela (*)  (it is freezing cold).
  • Llevar a alguien de los cabellos (to drag someone against his/ her will).
  • Llevar a alguien por los cabellos (to drag someone against his/ her will) .
  • Ni un pelo (absolutely not).
  • No fiarse un pelo (to have total mistrust).
  • No tener pelos en la lengua (not to mince one's words).
  • No tener un pelo de tonto (to be really smart).
  • No tocarle un pelo a alguien (not to lay one finger on somebody).
  • No verle el pelo a alguien (unable to find a particular person).
  • No vérsele el pelo a alguien (somebody has disappeared).
  • Pelo blanco (grey hair).
  • Pelo de camello (camelhair).
  • Pelo liso (straight hair).
  • Pelo rizado (curly hair).
  • Ponerle a alguien los cabellos de punta (to send shivers down one's spine).
  • Ponerle a alguien los pelos de punta (to send shivers down one's spine).
  • Por los pelos(*) (only just).
  • Quedar al pelo (to fit very well-shoes/ clothing).
  • Tomarle el pelo a alguien (to pull somebody's leg).
  • Tirarse de los pelos (to tear one's hair out/ to be at one's wit's end).
  • Ser capaz de cortarle los pelos al diablo (to be very skilful).
  • Un pelo (very little/ practically nothing).
  • Tomadura de pelo (a joke/ something ridiculous/ insulting).
  • Venirle algo a alguien al pelo (something meets someone's needs exactly).
(*)NB Set phrase/ idiom

Examples of the use of the word 'pelo' and related words are:
  • ¿No te gusta montar a caballo a pelo? (do you not like riding bareback).
  • Esa alfombra de pelo largo es muy bonita (that shag-pile carpet is really nice).
  • Otro mañana sin vender nada, así nos luce el pelo (another morning without a single sale, this is getting us nowhere).
  • Ese pastel de cabello de ángel está muy bueno (that pumpkin cake is really nice).
  • A Pedro se le está cayendo el pelo (Pedro is losing his hair).
  • Como te descubran, se te va a caer el pelo (if you are found out, you've had it!).
  • ¡No voy a salir de casa con estos pelos! (I am not going out looking like this!).
  • Pedro nos contó lo que pasó con pelos y señales (Pedro told us what happened down to the last detail).
  • Voy a cortarme el pelo (I am going for a haircut).
  • Me pica el cuero cabelludo (my scalp is itchy).
  • Cuando vi lo que pasó, se me pusieron los pelos de punta (seeing what happened sent shivers down my spine).
  • Venga, va, ¡echemos pelos a la mar! (come on, let us make up!).
  • Estoy hasta lo pelos de que me engañen (I am fed up to the teeth of being cheated).
  • Hoy hace un frío que pela (today is freezing cold).
  • Eso no me gusta ni un pelo (I don't like that at all).
  • No me fío un pelo de Pedro (I don't trust Pedro at all).
  • Ana no tiene pelos en la lengua (Ana doesn't mince her words).
  • no tienes un pelo de tonto (you are very smart).
  • A ese tipo no le tocaron ni un pelo (nobody laid a finger on that guy).
  • Desde ayer, a Pedro no se le ve el pelo (Pedro is nowhere to be seen since yesterday).
  • Evitamos el accidente por los pelos (we avoided the accident but only just).
  • Esa falda te queda al pelo (that skirt looks great on you).
  • Estoy que me tiro de los pelos (I am at my wit's end).
  • Ese vestido te queda un pelo corto (that dress is a tiny bit short for you).
  • Nos hemos pasado un pelo (we have gone a little bit too far).
  • ¡Eso es una tomadura de pelo! (that is a joke! you cannot be serious!).
  • Nos vendría al pelo que parase de llover (it would really suit us if it stopped raining). loves the word 'pelo' in the YouTube clip: Pelos - Tatiana

For more on the word 'pelo', visit: Pelo

*NB 'Click' on the speaker icon next to the word “pelo” in the link to hear the word pronounced.

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