Author Archives: My Little Spanish Notebook

About My Little Spanish Notebook

I collect fabulous Spanish words like a magpie collects bright shiny things. Fellow language geeks and Spain-lovers, step this way!

dar la chapa

dar la chapa – to blather/babble on; to go on and on [about something/to someone]

A mum-friend of mine plays viola in the orchestra at the Opera Real in Madrid. (Definitely up there with the coolest jobs of all my mum-friends, together with the European Space Agency scientist who sends satellites into space. But I digress…) Last week my violist friend told me she had two free tickets for the dress rehearsal of Aida and she was inviting a young teacher from our kids’ school and me. (I knoooooooow, how lucky are we?!!!)

So I spent Sunday** evening with the teacher, who I only knew by sight before now. She is a blues singer and theatre lover, amongst other things. We talked and talked about life, music, art, travel, creativity, learning… All things fascinating and wonder-inspiring. As the curtain rose on the second act, she whispered to me, “¡Vaya chapa te he dado!”, which is like saying, “How longwinded of me!” or “Man, I’ve really gone on and on!” (She hadn’t at all; it was all super interesting and I had babbled on in the same measure and equally passionately too.) Anyway, my fabulous-expressions-radar lit up, and I knew I’d have to look up ‘dar la chapa’ when I got home. I had heard it before, but it piqued my curiosity to find other similar phrases, since there are tons in Spanish.

We joined our viola-player friend after the performance, and the three of us sank a few vinitos in the gorgeous Café del Oriente. More animated talking ensued and we generally set the world to rights.

At midnight we stepped out into the Plaza del Oriente, the Palacio Real in front of us all lit up and breathtakingly beautiful. It was a magical night. And it’s no coincidence that I’m back blogging again. Gracias, chicas, por una noche inolvidable e inspiradora.

Synonyms of dar la chapa:

As promised, here are some other expressions that mean the same as dar la chapa (according to a guy with a huge vocabulary in the WordReference forum).

dar la lata/la vara/el tostón/la barrila/la murga/la paliza/la monserga/la serenata/la tabarra/la matraca

Told you there were a lot of them! I’m going to have to try and slip some of these into conversation, instead of using dar la lata o vaya tostonazo, my usual favourites.

Dar la brasa is a similar expression, but its meaning is slightly different, because it has the nuance of “nagging someone” or “persistently going on at them [to do something]”. For example: Le adoro a mi suegra pero, desde que fui mamá, me dio la brasa durante años para que me casara con mi pareja. [I adore my mother-in-law, but after I became a mum she went on at me for years to get me to marry my partner.] (True story. We finally tied the knot, last summer).

And finally we have dar el palique, which the walking-dictionary-guy from WordReference didn’t come up with, and I can’t find official confirmation of in any dictionaries, but I’m fairly sure it’s a common one too. (Anyone with further info on this one, do shed light in the comments below. Thanks.)

Whoops. Longer-than-usual post. Sorry for blathering on. Hopefully it’ll be useful to someone, somewhere… Siento haberos dado la chapa. Espero que sea util para alguien en alguna parte…

** Update: This happened a week last Sunday, but I’ve had my finger hovering over the post button for five days now. Procrastinate, moi?