de pega

Mis hijos me dejan arañas de pega bastante a menudo (¡y son mucho más realistas que la de esta foto!)

Mis hijos me dejan arañas de pega bastante a menudo (¡y son mucho más realistas que la de esta foto!)

de pega [adjectival phrase] – false, imitation, trick, joke, fake

The other day, Alejandro drove over a speed bump a little too enthusiastically, shall we say. Then, just along the road, he slowed right down to take the next one more gently – and to avoid bashing up the underneath of the car. This time the bump was so slight that the car barely registered it. Alejandro said, “Es alucinante como algunos badenes te fastidian el coche y otros apenas se notan; parece que son de pega.” [It’s amazing how some speed bumps mess up your car and others you barely notice; it’s like they are fake.]

This little adjectival phrase “de pega” stopped me in my tracks. It always sounds to me like it should have the meaning “stick-on” from the verb “pegar” (to stick). I mean, I can see how a stick-on (fake) moustache would be “un bigote de pega“, but when I hear the expression in other contexts it throws me. So I turned to my faithful dictionaries, and found another couple of examples of “de pega” in non stick-on contexts, to help me (and maybe you?) to better understand its usage.

erudito de pega – false intellectual (from the DRAE)

araña de pega – fake (joke) spider (from the Oxford Spanish-English dictionary)

From browsing the dictionary entries under “pega“, I also learned that it can mean “work” or “job” in Latin American countries, and that it’s even another word for magpie (“urraca” is the word I know, but really, how many words for magpie does a girl need?)

P.S. Don’t you just love the way I sauntered back into the “classroom”, no excuses, no nothing, as if I haven’t been missing in action for the last five months? Kind of like Fray Luis de León’s “Como decíamos ayer…” OK, OK, there the similarities end; I have not been imprisoned by the Inquisition and he was definitely not un erudito de pega. 😉

Photo credit (CC): David~O @ Flickr

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