japuta [noun, f] – the atlantic pomfret (a species of fish)

ugly japuta

The japuta – not the prettiest fish in the sea

I swear, when you set your mind to start learning new vocab, great words just start shooting out of the woodwork. Like this one, the name of a fish I spotted at my local fishmonger’s the other day. It was all I could do to stop myself from giggling when I saw the little label poking out of the ice, next to the unfortunately-named fish: japuta. I kid you not. That’s its name. And if you don’t see why it’s funny, try saying it out loud, and you may notice the uncanny resemblance with one of the rudest insults in Spanish, beginning with “hija…”

I know what you’re thinking. It could be a tad awkward to shout out for “un par de japutas” at the fish counter, right? Fear not! To side-step any embarrassing misunderstandings, purchasers of this fish can use any one of its alternative names: “palometa“, “zapatero” or “castañola“. But where’s the fun in that, I ask you? I’m so glad my fishmonger agrees.


2 thoughts on “japuta

  1. ladymartha

    I love this one too! I still remember when I was just a child and my mother asked for “palometa”. Instantly, my brother and I started laughing and chanting “japuta, japuta”… 🙂 By the way, it is delicious if marinated.


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