Necessary words that are not in the dictionary

Words with Secrets

Return to the index

Necessary words that are not in the dictionary

You have a runny nose, but neither a handkerchief (which is not used by the Spanish), nor a tissue… How would you ask for it your friend or in a shop? The dictionary says – pañuelo. However this word means a nice kerchief, whoch should´nt be used for blowing your nose… What´s the matter?

It turn out that tissues are called in Spain by producers’ names: kleenex (it is now pronounced and even written, clínex). So to ask for a tissue, you need to say:

¿Tienes un clínex, por favor?

This is very common in Spanish. Mascara is called rímel, yoghurts – danones, diapers – apart from pañales – dodotis… The list is quite long, it mainly includes household and stationery things:

spontex, espontex – duster
fairy – dishwashing liquid
typex, típex – correction fluid
támpax – tampon
casera – soda
táper o túper – plastic container
papel albal – foil
póstit – pots-it notes

It’s easy to see that the spelling of these words can be adapted to the Spanish spelling norms, or maintain the name of the company or the product. Grammatically, they act as common nouns, t.e. they need an article:

¿Me pasas el fairy?

This is very common not only in Spain, but also Latin America, for instance, in Argentina mustard is called by the name of the most popular producer – savora.

Autor/a Георгий Нуждин, Анна Школьник