GLOSSARY OF SPANISH WORDS
Entries are ordered alphabetically. The interested reader will find more detailed descrip-
tions of these words in the endnotes.
Abairimo Goodbye or so long.
Arroba Weight of about twenty-five pounds.
Asere Friend or buddy in Cuban Spanish.
Bacán Cuban slang for good, great, excellent.
Bandurría Cuban folk instrument akin to a lute.
Bembé African and Afro-Cuban religious ceremony, celebrated with music, drumming,
and dancing.
Carajo Expletive (literally a vulgar term for the penis) that can be rendered into English
in a number of ways depending on context, such as ‘‘fuck,’’ ‘‘hell,’’ or ‘‘goddamn.’’
Casatenientes Archaic term for homeowners and heads of household.
CDRs Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, local block organizations charged
with monitoring counterrevolutionary activity.
Ceiba Silk-cotton tree, one of the trees venerated in Afro-Cuban Santería or syncretic
saint worship.
Chilindrón A whole goat seasoned and roasted.
Chou Show phonetically spelled in Cuban Spanish.
Chuchero Cuban figure of the 1950s somewhat like the Mexican pachuco, i.e., a flashily
dressed man associated with delinquent or morally questionable behavior.
Cojonudo Vulgar expression for great, amazing, or gutsy, based on the word cojones
(balls).
Compañero/a Person with whom one shares a close relationship that may be political
(akin to comrade) or more personal and intimate in nature.
Coño Literally ‘‘cunt’’; expletive used frequently in Cuban Spanish that generally has no
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