Chismeando: How to Spread Gossip in Spanish
Have you heard there is a new lesson about gossip in Spanish? It was a secret but it is all out in the open now! Gossiping is a big part of popular culture all around the world and a window inside other countries’ cultures.
Major industries have been built upon the fact that we want to know everyone’s latest news. Normally, this activity is seen as time-consuming and not worthy, but I am giving you a chance to vindicate it. Feed yourself with guilty pleasures while learning Spanish!
Find out how to spread gossip in Spanish, how to respond to it and even how to defend yourself!
¡Escuchemos todo sobre esto!
Let’s hear all about it!
The ABCs of Gossip in Spanish
As we say in Latin America: empecemos por el principio (let’s start from the beginning).
Chisme is the closest translation to gossip in Spanish and it is universal in Hispanic countries.
In a sentence, you can use it as a:
- Noun: el chisme
- Verb: chismear
- Adjective: chismoso, chismosa
Its spelling is simple and to use derivatives you only need to change the last letters. Chism- always stays the same.
Chisme as a Noun
The chisme is a guilty pleasure that most of us can’t resist. It can be a truthful thing or fake news but it is always there for people to comment on. In Mexico we don’t try to hide it and in some places people set aside a day of the week exclusively to gather and gossip. It is almost a tradition.
Here are some examples of how to use chisme as a noun:
Ella se sabe el chisme.
She knows the gossip. / She knows the details.
Yo no quiero saber el chisme, mejor no me cuentes.
I don’t want to know the gossip, it’s better if you don’t tell me.
No sabes cuánto chisme hay hoy.
You don’t know how much gossip there is today.
Yo vivo para el chisme.
I live for gossip.
Ese chisme ya me lo sabía.
I already knew about that gossip.
Chismear as a Verb
Chismeando means “gossiping” in Spanish and we use it as any other verb, with all of its tenses and applications. It is a regular verb that ends in -ar, so its conjugation goes hand in hand with verbs like amar (love), cantar (sing), and hablar (talk).
See these examples of how to use it in some common tenses:
Estuve chismeando todo el día.
I was gossiping all day.
Cuéntalo tú, tú chismeas mejor.
You tell it, you gossip better.
Ya te chismearé mañana, hoy estoy cansada.
I will gossip with you tomorrow, I’m really tired now.
Está bien que hayas chismeado todo el fin de semana, no te sientas culpable.
It’s OK that you gossiped all the weekend, don’t feel guilty.
Si yo hubiera chismeado en la tarde, no hubiera acabado mi tarea.
If I had gossiped in the afternoon, I wouldn’t have finished my homework.
Common Spanish Phrases: Echar chisme
I did not include a sentence with chismear in the past tense (yo chismeé) because it is way more common to say yo eché chisme (I threw gossip).
The usage of this phrase is not exclusive of the past tense an it can be used indistinctly along with the previous examples:
¡Cómo me gusta echar chisme!
How much I like to throw gossip!
Eché chisme toda la semana, de verdad que no pude parar.
I threw gossip all week, I couldn’t stop myself.
Ven a mi casa y echemos chisme.
Come to my house and let’s throw gossip.
¿Dónde está Juan? Seguro echando chisme.
Where’s Juan? Surely throwing gossip.
Si te vas de viaje con Amanda echarás buen chisme.
If you go on a trip with Amanda you will throw good gossip.
Chismoso, Chismosa as an Adjective
Chismoso (male) or chismosa (female) means “gossiper” in Spanish. This word is perfect to describe a person who loves to echar chisme and knows everything about everyone.
This gossip person in Spanish normally has a reputation that precedes any introduction or friendship.
You don’t want to tell him or her a secret, trust me.
Reina del chisme means “gossip queen” in Spanish and it’s a term used for people who truly deserve a gossiping crown. Their knowledge goes beyond anyone else’s.
¡Qué chismoso eres! No te vuelvo a contar nada.
What a gossiper you are! I’m never telling you anything again.
La verdad soy un poco chismosa, no me juzgues.
The truth is I am a little bit of a gossiper, don’t judge me.
Me caería bien si él no fuera tan chismoso.
I would like him if he wasn’t such a gossip person.
¿Quieres que todos se enteren? Cuéntale a Barbara, ella es la reina del chisme.
Do you want everyone to know? Tell Barbara, she is the queen of gossip.
When You’re Gossiping in Spanish
You can tell a story however you want but to give it a flavor of gossip, use the following phrases before, during or after the chisme.
Te tengo un chisme means “I have gossip for you” in Spanish and you can certainly open with that!
Lo que alcancé a oír es….
What I managed to hear is…
Están diciendo por ahí…
People are saying…
Según mis fuentes…
According to my sources…
Deja te cuento toda la historia.
Let me tell you the whole story.
Por lo que oí …
According to what I heard…
Lo que entendí es que …
What I understood is…
According to this…
Necesitas sentarte para oír esto.
You need to sit down to hear this.
Are you sitting down?
No vas a creer lo que pasó.
You’re not going to believe what happened.
¿Puedes guardar un secreto?
Can you keep a secret?
Nadie puede saber.
No one needs to know.
Yo no dije nada.
I didn’t say anything.
Que esto quede entre nosostros.
This stays between us.
¿Supiste lo que pasó?
Did you hear what happened?
¿Oíste lo que pasó?
Have you heard?
I discovered that…
I have been digging around…
That’s why people are talking.
Por eso la gente está hablando.
No puedes decir nada, es un secreto.
You can’t tell anyone, it is a secret.
Hay un rumor…
Rumor has it …
Si se entera me mata.
If he finds out he kills me.
No one knows.
When Someone is Gossiping to You in Spanish
Cuéntame el chisme means “tell me the gossip” in Spanish. When someone is telling you gossip, your job is to react, to ask questions or to follow up.
Here are some sentences and examples you can choose from to do so:
¿Qué pasó? ¡Cuenta, cuenta!
What happened? Tell me! / Do tell!
¿Quién más sabe?
Who else knows?
¿Puedo decirle a Ana?
Can I tell Ana?
¡No lo puedo creer!
I can’t believe it!
¡No me digas!
Don’t say more! / You don’t say.
Are you kidding me?
Claro que no. / No puede ser.
¿Qué está pasando?
What’s going on?
¡Qué suerte! / ¡Qué suertudo!
¿De verdad? / ¿En serio?
Guardaré el secreto.
I’ll keep the secret.
Dios mío. ¡Qué fuerte!
Oh my God.
What a scandal!
What a barbarity!
Defend Yourself from Gossip in Spanish
If you’re in the spotlight of the latest gossip, use the following phrases to respond or question the validity of the gossip.
How do you know?
¿Cómo sabrías eso? / ¿Cómo puedes saber eso?
How would you know?
Me pregunto cómo podrías saber eso.
I wonder how you would know that.
Yo no estoy en una relación con nadie. ¿Por qué mentiría?
I’m not in a relationship with anyone. Why would I lie?
Son puros chismes. / Son meros chismes
That’s pure gossip.
Yo no sé lo que te dijeron pero te aseguro que no es verdad.
I don’t know what they told you but I assure you it isn’t true.
De verdad que no fui yo.
Seriously, it wasn’t me.
¿Quién te dijo? Dime la verdad.
Who told you? Tell me the truth.
No creas todo lo que dicen.
Don’t believe everything they say.
How to Be Smooth While Sharing Gossip in Spanish
In Mexico it’s almost customary to share gossip with phrases that exempt us from guilt. These phrases smooth over your gossip and make you look good while spreading gossip or criticizing someone.
Yo lo quiero mucho pero…
I love him dearly but…
Yo no me quiero meter pero…
I don’t want to meterme…
Cada quien su vida pero…
Everyone’s got their own life but…
Yo no soy nadie para opinar pero…
I’m nobody to give an opinion but…
Yo soy neutral pero…
I’m neutral to this but…
No me gustan los chismes pero…
I don’t like gossip but…
No me gusta hablar mal de nadie pero…
I don’t like speaking ill about anyone but…
A mí me da igual lo que haga con su vida pero….
It is the same to me what she does with her life but…
Yo no quiero meterme donde no me llaman pero…
I don’t mean to intrude but…
Chismoso vs Metiche
When speaking of gossip in Spanish, people tend to mix up the words chismoso, chismosa and metiche. While a chismoso can be a metiche, and a metiche can be a chismoso, they are not the same!
A chismoso is a person who likes to spread gossip, while a metiche is someone who’s always sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong. This does not necessarily mean they repeat what they hear, just that they like to know or to ask around.
- chismoso – gossiper
- metiche – nosy
Slang for Gossip in Spanish
In Mexico we have plenty of slang and sayings when we are referring to a chisme.
Chisme de lavadero.
Literal translation: Laundry gossip
A laundry gossip is a filthy or tacky one, something that shouldn’t be spread or said because it is not the classy thing to do. That’s because it is particularly hurtful or scandalous. No one likes to be near it and the fact that someone is or wants to is frowned upon.
Literal translation: To throw shawl
This is a slang that denotes extreme pleasure while gossiping. Estamos echando chal (we are throwing shawl) means we are busy, do not interrupt us or if you want in, come on over because the chisme is juicy and long.
Acá entre nos.
Literal translation: Here between us
Here between us translates to acá entre nosotros but we abbreviate it to nos. This is a slang we use among family and friends and it indicates intimacy. An example of how we use it is this next sentence where something of common knowledge is said but the truth comes afterwards:
Él dice que no se quiere casar pero acá entre nos ya le compró anillo.
He says que doesn’t want to get married but here between us he already bought her a ring.
Siempre hay un roto para un descosido.
Literal translation: There’s always a broken one for an “unsewn”.
This is the polite way of saying that two people that are unattractive, damaged, or broke are allegedly happy together. It’s terribly condescending but unfortunately all too common!
Que te den un tenmeacá.
Literal translation: Go so they give you a tenmeacá
Who didn’t hear this growing up in Mexico. Grownups tell kids this sentence so they go away, and not bother them so adults can gossip without the little ones hearing. A tenmeacá is not an actual word but the merging of these two: tenme-acá. Which means “keep me here” as in “keep me here with you so I don’t hear what they are saying.”
See this example of a variant:
Dile a tu mamá que te de una varita de tenmeaquí.
Tell your mom to give you a stick of keep-me-here.
Según las malas lenguas.
Literal translation: According to the bad tongues
This is a good bean-spiller starter. It means “according to doubtful sources” and it’s an implicit way of saying these three things:
- You are not supposed to reveal your source.
- You don’t trust this person completely, it may be a lie.
- You are not to be responsible for the information you are about to say.
…but who cares? The gossip is juicy and spread-worthy so you still share what you know. If the person you are telling this to wants to repeat this he better say the disclaimer as well.
Si el río suena es porque agua lleva.
Literal translation: If the river sounds it’s because it is carrying water.
What it means: if people are talking there is a good reason for that.
Es un secreto a voces.
It is an open secret.
Un secreto a voces is something no one is supposed to know, yet everyone knows and everyone knows that everyone knows. So it is treated as a secret -out of politeness- when it really isn’t.
I saved the best for last. These three Mexican slang are used when someone wants to hear the chisme but the other person can’t say it because there are too many witnesses. Said witnesses are normally kids but can also be grownups. The sentences are meant to be funny and are code for “there are unwanted people here that can’t know but I will tell you later”:
Hay cocas en el refri.
There are cokes in the fridge.
Hay calzones en el tendedero.
There are panties on the clothesline.
Hay pájaros en el alambre.
There are birds on the wire.
Gossip in Spanish: Different Countries
Chisme is the universal word for gossip in Spanish in Latin America and Spain, but each country has a local word for it. These slangs are some examples:
- Cahuin – Chile
- Chambre – Guatemala
- Raje – Peru
- Bolas – Ecuador
- Bochinche – Puerto Rico
- Cotorreo – Colombia
- Cotilleo – Spain
Let Me Tell You Un Secreto
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