It was something like the discovery that led to Archimedes shouting “Eureka”, or Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz’s dream of a snake eating its tail leading to his idea of how to depict the molecular structure of benzene, that the subject under review came to the author – as the false absolute truth, that all words beginning with “Ch” have something about them which suggests a below-the-norm status. The subsequent empirical evidence reduced it all into a “soft” science – but the fact remains that an extremely high percentage of Spanish words beginning with “Ch”, (the one-time letter “che”) have diminutive values. That is to say, they are affectionate, insulting, or refer to less than normal size or greatness. This article discusses the research, its validity, and its application, whether serious or frivolous.
[No] Che …Pictorial pun, chowing “Ch”, the obsolete Spanish letter “Che”, the Russian equivalent, a sign showing prohibition of “Che”, and the 3 – now reduced to one – unique sound phoneme representations of Spanish, which had separate dictionary entries.
© Copyright Paul Karl Moeller
(This work will be amended from time to time, as the author goes through all his dictionaries. All “ch” words of an old 1860 dictionary are listed further below, with the definitions found there for the negative or diminutive words, but some beginning with “b” should be with “v” in modern spelling.)
In a state of semi-consciousness prior to full wakefulness, four or five Spanish words beginning with “ch”, such as “choro”, (“chorro”, in the local slang), “chueco” and “charlatan” came to this author, all suggesting some sort of unpleasantness. The false conclusion was made, in the drowsy state of that moment, that a universal law had been found. Once the sleeper was fully alert, the illusion was shattered, but an investigation in various dictionaries permitted the conclusion that indeed, a significant percentage of words beginning with the phoneme, a one-time “letter” in Spanish dictionaries, placed in three columns, negative, neutral, and positive, would find from 40 to 50 per cent in the first column, and hardly any in the third. Among the negative words, we include the diminutives, even if they can have affectionate meanings.
The word “diminutive” is used in the linguistic sense, and refers to both affectionate terminology, i.e. the English “(my) little one” for “chiquito/a” and to words which diminish stature, i.e. the English “runt”, the latter being both an objective description in “the runt of the litter”, and an insult, when so applied. Diminutives need not be words with a specified suffix, as shown in the image below. For negative qualities in general, an objective definition is more difficult – subjective assumptions play a major role. As this document become more complete, readers can judge for themselves the validity of the included items.
It might be interesting to note that the idea of negative words, and insignificant words (“insignificant” itself being negative) is mentioned by Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan. [London, 1651, p. 16: <http://books.google.com/books?id=L3FgBpvIWRkC&dq=Leviathan>%5D-
Chart showing how Adjectives, Nouns and Verbs can all have Diminutive (and Augmentative) Forms© Copyright,Paul Karl Moeller
The author’s resources are limited, especially as far as technology goes, but his library contains a reasonable quantity of dictionaries. If the number of entries therein so warranted, the entries of each page were counted and analysed according to their headwords. As their definitions often do not coincide, the meaning most valuable to this article is the one selected, even if not the most useful. For this reason, learners of Spanish are advised to be careful in using words eventually found in this list, many will only be understood in certain regions, and some will be offensive if used in the wrong place.
The first reference used was the reasonably-sized The Bantam New College Revised Spanish & English Dictionary by Edwin B. Williams. The percentage of “negative” words was so high, that the possibility of some subconscious bias by that author was considered possible, and the work went on to other texts, such as the University of Chicago and the University of Miami dictionaries for Spanish. Research continued with a the Appleton Cuyás Dictionary, and the twenty-first edition of the dictionary published by the Spanish Royal Academy (henceforth, DRAE). Other works may eventually be added.
It was decided that it was not enough to look for negative words among only one letter, so a comparison with the entries under such letters as “ll” and “ñ” was made. These letters were chosen because, like the one-time letter “che”, the former was unique to the Spanish alphabet, while the latter still is. Furthermore, sample sizes are similar. On account of their prefixes, some letters have a built-in bias, for example:
a- ab- an- bad- caqui- cis- de- dys- in- mal- mis- non- ob- sub- un-
while other prefixes generate too many words in their favour:
be- bi- co(n)- geo- hex- lepto- pre- re- trans- zoo-
It was further decided to observe the possible phenomena of a high number of negative words in other languages, for which purpose, a selection was made of French, German, Hebrew, Italian and Russian. The same considerations were given as above, as to eliminating, as possible candidate entries, those words which represented special prefixes in those languages, such as “ge-” in German, “в-” in Russian, etc. Attention was again paid to the size of the sample, although for the languages listed above, the dictionaries tended to be smaller. Where possible, two dictionaries were used for each language. Special attention had to be paid in the case of Hebrew, one dictionary had a distinct bias towards using proper nouns, while in both cases, it was felt that only roots of the words should be considered. (Admittedly, the author’s knowledge of these is limited to the most elementary forms.)
Finally, the opposite case, a search for positive words, was also conducted, although to a much lesser degree.
The greatest weakness of the entire exercise may lie within the failure to have a sufficiently large sample, thus leading to a loss of statistical significance. This defect can be observed on two fronts: first, only in the DRAE is the sample size above 1000 words, and if entries from María Moliner’s Diccionario del uso del idioma español were added, it would largely be an exercise in redundancy, as it is based on an edition of the Spanish Academy. The pocket dictionaries give some rather woefully limited vocabularies.
The second weakness is the size of the population of letters of the alphabet, which, at most, according to the pre-1994 usage, gives Spanish 29 letters. Even with the possible existence of languages with double that number, it may be asked whether a positive or negative value can be attached to any of these.
There is a question of how original this research is, which has not been fully resolved by searches on the internet.
Some decisions about the classification of the words, were difficult. Taking examples from English, “bunny” sounds nice, but that rodent destroys gardens. “Wolf” sounds bad, but can be a heraldic symbol, among other positive attributes. In this case, only pure pests were defined as negative. A major question was that of deciding whether all, or only some of the words meaning “cut”, as noun, adjective, or verb, should be included.
While not directly relevant to the research and its results, it might also be asked whether it can be assumed that their possibly objectionable sounds render silibants, fricatives, and gutturals ipso facto relatively equal.
Some possibly false assumptions were made about the roots of words. Explanations will follow in future versions of this document.
Red and Orange Chile Peppers© Copyright,Paul Karl Moeller
Defence of the Findings
The sample size of theDiccionario de Real Academia Española is statistically significant. What other publishers do with the list of recognized words becomes more an indication of their bias, than that of the Academy.
The size of the alphabet has nothing to do with the population found under a single letter. To make a comparison, the Achumawi language presently has less than 10 speakers (Moseley, Christopher (ed.). 2010. Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, 3rd edn. Paris, UNESCO Publishing. Online version: http://www.unesco.org/culture/en/endangeredlanguages/atlas. Their knowledge about their language may be partially questioned, if it seems that they have acquired loan-words, but their core knowledge must be considered sound, if the language is somehow to be saved.
This author is unaware of whether an investigation of this type has been done before, and can only cite María Moliner as having made some contribution to the ideas about “Ch”. Her reflection was read after the research started. Reviewers comments would be welcome about this issue, and that of any other letter with special characteristics. “Sinister sounds of a hissing snake” do not of “S” an example make.
Of special interest in defence of the objectivity of the findings is that the words come from diverse roots, none of which have a major impact on the European languages. The sources which show etymologies have not always agreed with one another, which allows for some liberty in the final decision on questions of roots.
Roots of the “Ch” Words
Although María Moliner and the Academy dictionary often give etymologies, certain gaps in the information required another source. Recourse was had to Joan Corominas’s Breve Diccionario Etimológico de la Lengua Castellana (3rd ed.), (Gredos, 1983). Only 166 headwords are given, with about 225 derivatives beginning with the same letter. Compound words are counted as new words, as all are contain an element not beginning with the letter under discussion. On the first page, there are ten entries, 2 are of Basque origin, 2 of Quechua. For Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Hungarian, and Turkish, there is one entry each. One word is of unknown origin. Other pages suggest a preponderance of French, Italian, and Basque words, mixed in with Romany, German, Persian, African and Chinese. Distorting matters a bit, that gives about 10 words per area of origin.
The University of Miami dictionary gives 137 entries, the University of Chicago dictionary, 164, and Edwin Williams’ dictionary, 301. The DRAE gives 1338. (All these numbers are based on a first count.)
No clear conclusions could be made about how the words entered from another language into Spanish. The initial letters found in those other languages could be “ch” (French), “ci” (Italian), “tx” (Basque), “pl” (Latin), “cs” (Hungarian) “sch” (German), “S” (from “Sancho”), and deformations of “s” or “z” in Spanish, plus the letters for sounds which do not correspond to the usages of the Latin alphabet.
In addition to about a half-dozen words which apply to individuals not having reached adulthood, and, coincidentally, the word “kid” – as applied to goats, there is a certain repetition of words suggesting dirtiness, piggishness, rusticity, criminality, violence, coarseness, smallness, noisiness, drunkenness, jeering, bad weather, and the effects thereof. María Moliner stated it the following way:El sonido formado por esta letra … forma palabras .. que expresan una actitud afectiva … (sirven sobre todo para despreciar o para llamar) o imitan o sugieren un sonido, un movimiento, etc. (Diccionario …, vol i., 592). This author must have missed the movements, and the “etc.” leaves something to be desired. Her words also make it necessary to pay attention to any “affectionate/emotional attitude” which is expressed by words other than diminutives.
The following data, shows the tendency of the results. Final results are pending. Negatives exclude Diminutives which may not be positively valued.
|Dictionary||Total Entries||Negative Words||Diminutives||Sum N+D||% Neg. + Dim|
|Oxford Pocket – Edición Rioplatense||133||74||18||92||69.17|
|University of Miami||142||71||21||92||64.78|
|University of Chicago||164||106||64.63|
|Edwin B. Williams||301||198||65.78|
|Etimológico (Corominas)||379 / 166**||12||88||app. 53**|
|DRAE||1538 ***||app. 591***||app. 38.5***|
|M. Velazquez de la Cadena||493||251||56||307||62.27|
|Slaby-Grossman||815 (app.)||408 (app)***||in negative||408||50% app.|
**The count for the etymological dictionary is based on the 166 headwords only. Final results have been delayed slightly, in favour of getting the final results for Velazquez de la Cadena’s work. The final result will show a greater number of negatives, though, when all definitions available definitions have been sifted.
***Recount required. Original notes contain invalid manipulation of quantities, in an incomplete attempt to identify word roots. In the latter case, count was made very rapidly. Less negatives are partially explained by more headwords for homonyms, and ignoring entries under headwords which were counted separately in other dictionaries. This was necessitated by the obligatory transfer of this page to a new web-site.
It might be asked, how three sources almost agree on the percentage of words with negative or just diminutive values, when the source with the most entries has more than double the quantity of entries than the work with the least. At best, this is only serendipitous. However, it may also be concluded that the entries in the pocket books all lacked a fundamental item of the DRAE listing – the overall lack of vocabulary of little interest to the common person, such as a plethora of flora and fauna. A rough count of such words, adding those belonging to food, drink, and names and adjectives of places and their inhabitants, gives around 222 words. Their elimination (assuming no words that were included in the other dictionaries, raises the total of negatives or diminutives to 45% in the DRAE. In a similar manner, the largest English dictionaries are replete with words from chemistry and other hard sciences. This would skew statistics about the standard words used by even most college-educated people. A survey of the first few pages under “CH” in the DRAE also shows that the words that are neither negative-diminutive nor of a common etymology, have a strong tendency towards being Americanisms.
Partial Listing of Words
It would be of an inestimable service, if all the words could be printed here, with their meanings, at least the negative ones, but that would probably violate some copyrights. A selected list will be added shortly, once a dictionary in the public domain can be cited, or the terminology of the consulted dictionaries agrees so much that the information can clearly be considered released. Worth mentioning is the repetition of words based on the meaning of “chico”, through its nominal or adjectival meaning of “small” or “small boy”, its diminutive meaning is clear. In the major reference, there is a total of around 20 headwords. Other meanings which repeat are that of “choza” (hut), and various words meaning light rain, burnt, dirty, uncultured, and “fille-de-joie“.
The following list is partial, and taken from the DRAE. English translations are given, in order not to be accused of copying the material. Repetitions of words imply different dictionary entries, of dissimilar roots, with the same translation (for the most part, made by the present author). Whether the words have “negative” values is thus exposed to the judgement of the reader.
Negative Spanish “CH” Words as Translated into English
gross act, mud, puddle, small farm, noise, noise, ridicule, splash, badly-done, sweltering heat, crude sail-boat; (2): loquacious, dauber, insult, ruin, do badly, insult, small farm, old shoe (3): crazy, crude, sly, make mad, small tumour, gimcrack, small boat, young boy, dirty, junk-seller, bad player, rustic clothing, rustic (4): bungler, big-nosed, short blouse, rogue, coarse, taciturn, lad, rubbish, complication, tangled, of little value, singe, ibid., (5): jest, do badly, jest, old shoe, ulcer, contraband, dirty, mange, false coin, joke, bad insect or perverse person, break, animal, e.g. (cow’s) bell (in list as not being melodic), parasite, (6): small fish, blackmail, humbug, coarse blanket, short stout person, muddy place, (7): inexpert, inkblot, splash, do badly, badly-done work. (8): trinkets sold to Indians, hangover, rough, puddle, croak (9): of bad taste, joke, tangled hair, (10): flat, junk, pig (11): fragment or patch, Cheka (Soviet secret police), gimcrack, gummy secretion from eyes, slang, bum, couch grass (a weed), (12) bump, small or small boy (Chico), (13): crazy, pare (> diminish), (14): lie, bothersome, in rags, poisonous spider, board of bad quality, insult, (15): small stone, belt blow, squeak, bedbug, measles (16): very poisonous snake, cheap, cheap brandy, (17) Chip (the English word), vulgar term for “money”, smelly fish, blow with paw, (18) dispute, cockroach, (19): gossip, trifle, spark, joke, meddler (20): sh!, lie, bother, kid (goat), tank for waste oil, taciturn, bump, badly-dressed, lacking leg or ear (21): doting, ill-tempered horse, uncultured, (22): thief, jet of liquid, useless, kid, (23): lash, mud puddle, withered, (24): whistle, (insults for male who frequently goes to church), (25) : insult for lower level office worker, burn, (26) small boy, mob, watered or thinned, jest or buffoonery.
The following listing is taken from a dictionary by Velazquez de la Cadena, published in 1860. Definitions may have been edited, and as such, the following list is copyrighted. DIM stands for what are considered diminutives, and some explanations of possibly controversial choices are given. Only translations of interest to this article are supplied, and may have been modified, while asterisked words are those that have escaped the scope of this work). “Expl:” signifies an out of dictionary explanation for rating the word as a negative, Met: metaphorical. Neither all spellings nor entries conform to what dictionaries currently would find acceptable. It has also been noted that the dictionary may contain definitions which may be offensive to modern sensibilities. As progress was made within the dictionary, some strange definitions were found, sometimes they are pointed out.
Cha (2) A thin and light stuff used by the Chinese. (Somewhat meaningless definition, not occurring elsewhere in our sources, DIM)
Chabacanamente In a bungling fashion
Chabacana An insipid kind of plum
Chabacanada Very vulgar expression or observation
Chabacano Coarse, unpolished, ill-finished
Chabeta (in expression, “Perder la c.”): lose one’s senses
Chaborra (Coll. Prov.) Very young lass. (DIM)
Chaborreta ” (DIM)
Chacal Jackal (mentioned negatively in the Bible)
Chachara (Coll) Idle talk
Chacharear (Coll) To prate
Chacharera Forward, talkative woman
Chacharería (Prov) Verbosity, verbiage
Chacharero, -ón Prater, gabbler
Chacho (2) Word of endearment to young persons, particularly in Andalusia, and most generally used in the diminutive, chachita, instead of muchachito. (Observation: Muchacho already counts as a DIM.)
Chacolotear To clatter: said of a horse-shoe deficient in nails.
Chacoloteo Clapping of a loose horse-shoe
Chacota Noisy mirth
Chacotear Indulge in noisy mirth; scoff
Chacotero Waggish, ludicrous; acting clownishly (also as noun)
Chacra Rustic habitation, etc.
Chacuaco (Little used) Clown
*Chafaldetes Chafalonfa Old plate; broken articles of silver
Chafalla (Prov) Tattered suit of clothes
Chafallar Botch, mend clumsily
Chafallo Coarse patch, place mended clumsily
Chafar To make velvet lose its lustre by pressing or crushing into a pile. (Metaphoric) To cut one short in his discourse.
Chafarote Short broad Turkish sword
Chafarrinada Blot or stain in clothes or other things, incl. character chafarrinar To blot or stain
Chafarrinón Blot, stain
Chalán Hawker, Huckster (expl: sell goods aggressively)
* Chalanear (expl: excluded, at least temporarily)
Chalanería Artifice and cunning used by “chalanes”
Chaleco Waistcoat, vest (expl: short, sleeveless, hence DIM)
Chalupa Small, light vessel
Chamaleon Chameleon (expl: as applied to people)
Chamarasca Brushwood (Expl: small branches)
Chamarilero Broker dealing in old pictures and furniture
Chamarillón Bad card player
Chamarra Very coarse frieze.
Chamarreta Short loose jacket
Chamberga (by etymology, with next, also, narrow silk girdle)
Chambergo Slouched, uncocked (expl: referring to hat of same name)
* Chamelote Camlet
Chamelotina coarse camlet (DIM)
Chameloton (obs) coarse camlet
Chamicera Fire-scorched forest area
Chamicero Belonging to scorched wood
Chamiza Wild cane or reed; brush used as firewood
Chamizo (Prov) Piece of half-burnt wood
* Chamorra (inclusion doubted)
Chamorrada (low) Butt given with a shorn head
* Champada Champán Large, flat-bottomed boat (Sampan)
Champurrado (Coll) Jargon. Also, p.p. of next.
Champurrar (Metaphoric) Speak with a mixture of different languages
Chamuscado Tipsy; addicted to vice. (Metaphoric): contaminated, tainted
Chamuscar To singe or scorch
Chamusco Scorching or singeing (Met) scolding, wrangling
Chamuscón Large singe or scorch
Chamusquina See “Chamusco”
Chancaca Refuse of sugar in the boiler
Chancear v. (Litte used) Jest, joke, v.r.: jest, joke, fool
* Chanceller (obs)
Chancero Jocose, …
* Chancharras mancharras (feels like it belongs, though)
Chancica Little Jest (DIM)
Chancilla (ditto) (DIM)
Chancita A little fun (DIM)
Chancleta (found as insult in another dictionary)
Chanfaina Ragout of livers and lights 2. trifling, worthless thing
Chanflón Bungler; bungling, made in a bungling manner
Chanflón Money beaten out to appear larger
Chantar (various S. Am) tell to s.o.’s face; (Bol, Col) beat; (Chile) force to be somewhere
Chanza Joke, jest
Chanzoneta 1. Joke, jest 2. A little merry song (DIM)
Chanzonetero Petty poet
Chapa 1. Thin metal plate 4. Small bit of leather … Other: bad coin, etc. See DRAE
* Chapar (obs)
Chaparra 3. (Am) Bramble-bush
Chaparrada A violent rain-shower
Chaparral 2. Thick bramble-bushes entangled with thorny shrubs in clumps. (Note: At least 3 negative ideas in the definition.)
Chaparro (Am) short, stocky person
Chaparrón Violent rain-shower.
* Chapelina (Positive word, one of few)
Chapeta Small metal plate.
Chapetón (Am) “A Spaniard come [sic] to America without a passport.”
Chapetonada “Disease incident to Europeans in America, before they are accustomed to the climate”
Chapín (in the expression, “Chapín de la reina): Tax formerly levied in Spain on the occasion of the king’s marriage, (Am) one having defective feet; a bow-legged person
Chapinazo Stroke or blow with a clog ..
* Chapinería * chapinero chapinito Small clog (DIM)
Chapital 2. Small movable brass plate over the compass
Chapotear Dab, paddle
Chapucear Botch, bungle, cobble, fumble
Capuceramente Fumblingly, clumsily, bunglingly
Chapucería A clumsy, bungling work
Chapucero 2. Bungler, botcher
Chapucero Rough, unpolished, clumsy, bungling, rude
Chapurrado (Coll) Jargon, broken language
Chapurrar (Coll) To speak gibberish
Chapuz 2. A clumsy performance
Chaquira (defined in other sources as) beads sold to (Amer-) Indians
Charamusca (Peru) brushwood
Charanguero 1. Clumsy, unpolished, arless 2. Applied to a bungler or a bad workman
Charanguero (Prov) Hawker
Charco Pool of standing water (i.e., puddle)
Charcoso Fenny, watery
Charla Idle chit-chat, garrulity, gossip, loquaciousness
Charlador Gabbler, prater, chatterer, etc.
Charladuría Garrulity, gossip
Charlante Gabbler, chatterer
Charlantín (Coll) A mean prattler or gossip (Augmentive with DIM suffix)
Charlar Prattle, babble, chatter, gabble, gossip, jabber, clack
Charlatán Prater, babbler, idle talker 2. Quack, charlatan, mountebank
Charlatanear See “charlar”
Charlatanería Garrulity, verbosity, charlatanry, quackery
Charlatanismo Charlatanry, quackery, verbosity
l * Charnela
Charquillo Small pool or puddle (DIM)
Charrada 1. Speech or action a a clown 3. Tawdriness …
Charramente Clownishly, tastelessly
* Charretera (? strips …)
Charro Gaudy, tawdry
Chas “A low word, denoting the noise made by the cracking of wood, or tearing of linen.”
Chasco 1. …Jest, a trick, a sham. 2. Frustration, disappointment 3. Lash, point of whip.
Chasquear 1. Crack whip or lash 2. fool, play waggish trick 3. disappoint, fail, fall short; cheat
Chasquí Postboy (Expl: “boy”, DIM)
Chasquido 1. Crack of whip or lash, crack as noise of timber breaking or splitting
Chasquista (Low) Person fond of playing tricks; sycophant
Chata Flat-bottomed boat; lighter
Chato Flat, flattish; flat-nosed
Cheremía (see Chirimía)
Chía 1. Short black mantle, former worn in [sic] mournings [sic].
Chiba Kid (DIM) [sic – note, words of this root are now spelt “chiv-“] Similar spellings EW found in an 1809 dictionary at <http://books.google.com/books?id=xMoRAAAAIAAJ&dq=Spanish+dictionary&hl=es&source=gbs_navlinks_s>: A new pocket dictionary of the Spanish and English languages, Volúmenes 1-2, 149.
Chibata Kid between 6 and 12 months of age (DIM)
Chibetero Fold for kids.
Chibo 1. Kid 2. Pit, a place for the lees of oil
Chica A little girl (DIM)
Chicada Herd of sickly kids; ELSEWHERE: childish action
Chicha Be of little importance
Chicharra (Coll) Prattler (and in expression, “cantar la c.”, be scorching hot)
Chicharrar Fry, toast or roast until imparting burnt flavour
Chicharrero Hot place or climate
Chicharro Young tuna (fish)
Chicharrón Morsel of fried lard, “crackles”: ELSEWHERE: overcooked meat
Chiche (Mex., vulgar) (Rioplatense) toy (EXPL: in DRAE, toy is DIM of “juego”
Chichi ditto (EXPL: included as vulgarism, and as synonym of above); (C.A.) that which can be done with little effort (DRAE, ed. 22 (online))
Chichigua (Mex) Wet nurse (EXPL: seems related to above 2 words)
* Chichisveador (This and next 2 with “b” for “v” in modern texts).
Chichón 1. Lump on head. 2. Bruise
Chichoncillo Small lump (DIM)
Chico Little, small; little boy or lad, little chap, dear lad, dear fellow (DIM) By etymology, from Latin Ciccum: trifle, insignificant thing.
Chicolear (Coll) To jest in gallantry
Chicoleo (COll) Jest in gallantry.
Chicorrotico Very little or small (applied to children) (DIM)
Chicorrotín Ditto (DIM)
Chicote (Coll) Fat strong boy or girl (augmentive – DIM) 3. (Coll. End of partly-smoked cigar.
Chifla 3. Hissing in a theatre or public meeting
Chifladura (Mex) Craziness
Chiflar 2. Mock, jest 3. tipple, drink to excess 4. (Mex) Run mad, be crazy
Chifle Shrill whistling sound
Chiflete see “Chifla”
Chiflo see “Chifla”
Chilindrina (Coll) Trifle, thing of little value. (DIM)
Chilindrón 3. (Low) Cut in the head.
Chilla (in expression “Tablas de chilla”: thin boards): ELSEWHERE: clapboard
Chillado Past participle of “chillar”
Chillador Person who shrieks or screams; a think that creaks
Chillar To scream, shriek 4. To hiss: applied to things frying in a pan.
Chillido 1. Squeak or shriedk, a shrill disagreeeable sound. 2. Bawling of a woman or child [sic].
Chillón 1 (Coll) Bawler, screamer, shrieker
Chillón Adj. applied to showy or tawdry colors.
Chimate See “Chancaca”
China Pebble, small stone (DIM) 5. Boyish play of shutting the hands, and guessing which contains the pebble.
Chinar A form of “Rechinar”, Gnash, creak
Chinarro Large pebble (Augmentive DIM)
Chinateado Layer of pebbles
Chinazo Large pebble (Augmentive DIM) 2. Blow with a pebble
Chincharrazo (Coll) Thrust or cut with a sword Chinche Bedbug, bug
Chinchilla (DIM suffix)
Chinchón See Chichón
Chinchorreo (Prov) Tiresome importunity
Chinchorrería (Obs) Lying Jest 2. Mischeivous tale (Chisme)
Chinchorrero (Little Used) Insidious tale-teller
Chinchorro 3. A small flock of sheep. (DIM in definition)
Chinchoso Peevish, fastidious
Chinilla Small pebble (DIM)
Chino (Negative in a probably obsolete, offensive expression); (Col.) boy, e.g. newsboy
Chiquero 1. Hog-sty 2. (Prov) Hut for goats and kids
Chiquichaque 2. Noise made by thins rubbing against each other
Chiquillo Small child (DIM)
Chiquirritico Very small, very little (DIM)
Chiquirritillo (Ditto) (DIM)
Chiquirritito (Ditto) (DIM)
Chiquirritín (Coll) Small boy (DIM)
Chiquitico Very small or little (DIM)
Chiquitillo (Ditto) (DIM)
Chiquitín (Coll) Small boy (DIM)
Chiribitíl 1. Narrow and low little hole or corner. 2. Small room or chamber
Chirimía (directed to this word from “Cheremía”, but missing from text) (Guat) Talkative person with unpleasant, high-pitched voice.
Chirinola 1. Gamer played by boys 2. Trile, a think of little importance or value
Chirlador Clamorous prattler, talkative person
Chirlar To talk to much and loud.
Chirlo Large would in the face, and its resulting scar
Chirriado (Obs) Chirrido
Chirrichote (Prov) A presumptuous man. In pl, nickname for French priests who travel(ed) in Spain.
Chirrido Crick [possibly an obsolete meaning related to noise – P.K.M.], chattering
Chirrío Creaking noise made by carts and wagons; crick; crepitation
Chirrión Strong muck or dung-cart
Chirrionero Scavenger, dung-cart driver
* Chirumbela See “Churumbela”
Chischás (Coll) clashing of swords or other fire-arms (Note: Definition implies swords are fire-arms. P.K.M.)
Chisgaravís Dabble, insignificant, noisy fellow, who meddles and interferes in everything (now “b” for “v”).
Chisguete (Coll) A small draught of wine, a small spout of any liquid.
Chismar To tattle See “Chismear”
Chisme 1. Misreport, misrepresentation; any account maliciously false; a tale or story intended to excite discord and quarrels. 2. A variet of lumber of little value. (DIM)
Chismear Tattle, carry tales, misrepresent, misreport, tell tales.
Chismoso Tattling, tale-bearing, propagating injurious rumours
Chispa 1. Flake of fire 2. Very small diamond. 3. (Prov) Short gun 4. Small particle. (DIM)
Chispas interjection: “fire and tow” (Expl: “Blazes!”)
Chispazo 1. The flying off of a spark from a fire, and its damage 2. (Met.) Tale or story mischievously circulated
Chispear 1. To sparkle, to emit sparks. 2. To rain gently, or in small drops (DIM – Expl: This type of verb, because it is about an activity of less than normal intensity, is considered diminutive in Linguistics.)
Chispero 2. name given to the low people in Madrid.
Chispero Emitting a number of sparks.
Chispo (Coll) See “Chisguete”
Chisporrotear (Coll) to hiss and crackle as buring oil, or tallow mixed with water.
Chisporroteo (Coll) Sibilation, hissing, crackling.
Chisposo Sparkling, emitting sparks. Chistar To mumble, mutter
Chiste 2. Facetiousness 3. joke, jest
Chistera Narrow basket for fish
Chistoso Facetious …
Chito A piece of wood, bone, or other substance on which the money is put in the game of “chita”. “Irse a chitos”: (coll) lead a debauched life.
chocador (Little used) 1. One that irritates or provokes 2. Assailant
Chocante Provoking, irritating; glaring; gross
Chocar 1. To strike 2. to rush agains each other 3. fight, combat; to provok, vex, disgust
Chocarrear To joke, jest, act the buffoon
Chocarrería Buffoonery, low jest, scurrilous mirth 2. Deceiving, cheating at play.
Chocarrero Practising indecent raillery, scurrilous, buffoon-like
Chochear To dote, to have the intellect impaired by age
Chochera dotage, the speech and action of a dotard.
Chocho Doting, having the intellect impaired by age (Etymology: Port.: rotten (of eggs)
Chocho – Chochos: All sorts of sweetmeats given to children; dainties (DIM)
Chocilla Small hut, low cottage
Choco (Prov) The small cuttle-fish, sepia sepiola. (Expl. Dwarf Bobtail – P.K.M., hence DIM)
Chocolatear See “Chacolatear”
Chofa (Obs) Falsehood, lie)
Chofear (Obs) Utter falsehoods
Chofero See “Chofista”
Chofes Lungs (for human consumption)
Chofista 1. One who lives upon livers and lights. 2. One that tells or asserts falsehoods.
Choque 1 Shock, clash, dash, collision 3. (Mil) Skirmish, slight engagement (DIM) 4. Difference, dispute.
Chorca (Prov) Pit or hole dug in the ground
* Chorita (D.I.M. ending with no justification found)
* Chorizo (ditto)
* Chorlito (ditto)
Chorrear To drip
Chorrera Mark left by water or other liquids.
* Chorretada Chorrillo Small spout of water (DIM).
Chorrito Small spout of liquid (DIM).
Chorro 3. Strong and coarse sound emitted by the mouth
Chota Kid (goat) at suckling stage. (DIM)
Chotuno 2. Poor, starved: applied to lambs
Choz (Coll) Sound of a blow or stroke
Choza Hut, cottage, hovel
Chozuela Small hut or cottage (DIM)
Chubasco (Nau) Squall, a violent gust of wind and rain.
* Chuchería 1. Gewgaw, bauble, pretty trifle, toy 2. Cheap, nice tid-bit.
Chucho ELSEWHERE (Am. Cen.) A small fish 3. chill, malaria (See DRAE for more).
Chuchumeco A sorry, contemptible little fellow (ironically DIM)
Chuchurrar (little used) 1. Squeeze a thing out of shape 2. bruise …
Chueca 2. A small ball with which country-people play at crickets [sic] 3. (Coll). See “Chasco”
Chuecazo Stroke given to a ball
Chufa 2. Rhodomontade, an empty boast
Chufar (Obs) To mock, burlesque 2. To hector, bully
Chufeta 1. Jest, joke 2. (Prov) Small pan used to hold live coals (DIM)
Chufleta Taunt, jeer, jibe, scoff
Chufletear To sneer, taunt, show contempt
Churfletero (adj) Taunting, sneering
Chulada 2. Contemptuous word or action
Chuleador Punster, jester
Chulear To jest, joke 2. To sneer, taunt, ridicule
* Chulería Chuleta ELSEWHERE: chips for filling carpentry joints
Chulillo A comical little wag (DIM)
Chulito (Ditto) (DIM)
Chulo 2. An artful, sly, and deceitful person
Chumar (Low) To drink
Chuncaca (A.) Cane sirup boiled, but unclarified, of which coarse sugar is made
Chunga Jest, joke
Chupadero (Am) – tippler
Chupado (coll) lean, emaciated
Chupador (Am) – tippler
chupalandero A type of snail living on trees and plants (presumed harmful)
Chupar (Met., Coll.) to sponge off other; to fool
Chupeta Short jacket or waistcoat (DIM)
Chupetear To suck gently (DIM)
Chupetilla See “Chupeta” (DIM)
Chupetita See “Chupeta” (DIM)
Chupón (Coll) One who cunningly deprives another of his money
Chupona (Low) “A mean, blood-sucking strumpet.”
Churre (Coll) Thick, dirty grease
* Churretada See “Chorretada”
Churriburri (Col.) 1. A low fellow. 2. Rabble
Churrillero (Obs) Tattler, prattler, gossip
Churro (Adjective applied to sheep that have coarse wool, and to their wool) ELSEWHERE: a pastry, its etymology is from “Churre”, called “Xurros” in Valencia, i.e. “groseros”, they tend to have oil even at their centre.
Churrullero 1. Tattler, prattler, gossip 2. (Obs) Deserter
Churrupear (low) To sip, to drip by small draughts (Expl: Slurp)
Churruscarse To be scorched
Churrusco Overly-toasted bread
* Chus ni mus
Chuscada … buffoonery …
Chusma 2. Rabble, mob
Chuzazo 2. Blow or stroke given with the very large pike of the same name.
Chuzón 1. A crafty, artful person 2. Wag, punster, jester
Some further reflections can be found below, after the Bibliography, in what is meant to be light reading for the average web-surfer.
From a practical point of view, over 60per centof all words beginning with “ch” are diminutive, the smallest percentage found was around forty. The repetition of words with similar definitions reminds the writer of the book, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, by Douglas Hofstadter, in that the vocabulary seems to keep swirling around itself, creating a type of Escherian image.
A high percentage of the “ll” and “ñ” words also presented negativity. This still needs additional investigation.
A dictionary of biblical Hebrew by Feyerabend (Langenscheidt) produced a high number of diminutive words under the letter “Gimel”. This distortion disappeared upon using a dictionary of modern Hebrew.
The only search for “positive” words at the moment, for the aforementioned “Gimel”, gave dismal results.
In light of a recent decision by the Royal Academy of Spain to condemn gender-inclusive language, one might ask whether there was a subtle political move in the degrading of the letter “che”. Though the reasons given are other, could they have felt the need to remove attention to a figure known by the name “El Che”? 
Students with a multiple choice test which is not designed to deliberately mislead as to the correct answer, that is, answers are presumably equally divided between letters to be chosen, would have a good chance of being correct, if the selected answer for a word beginning with “ch” has a diminutive or other negative value.
March 30, 2012.
Updated for WordPress: May 17, 2012
(to be completed.)
Castillo, Carlos, and Bond, Otto F. University of Chicago Spanish Dictionary, 3rd ed. (New York: Pocket Books, 1981).
Corominas, Joan. Breve Diccionario etimológico de la lengua castellana, 3ra ed. (Madrid: Gredos, 1973).
Cuyás, Arturo. Appleton’s New Cuyás English-Spanish and Spanish-English Dictionary, 5th ed. (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1972).
Feyerabend, Karl. Pocket Hebrew Dictionary to the Old Testament. (Berlin: Langenscheidt, n.d).
Real Academia Española. Diccionario de la lengua española, 21a ed. (Madrid, Espasa-Calpe, 1996).
Slabý, Rodolfo, y Grossmann, Rodolfo.Diccionario de las lenguas españolas y alemanas, 3aed., I.(Barcelona: Herder, 1977).
University of Miami. English-Spanish Spanish-English Dictionary.(Panama: Editorial América, 1986).
Velazquez de la Cadena, Mariano. Diccionario de pronunciacion de las lenguas española é inglesa: …(New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1860). Acc.: 20120407.
Williams, Edwin B. Diccionario Inglés-Español Español-Inglés. International Edition (New York: Bantam, 1989).
Willis, Judith, Goldsmith, Patrick,et. al.Diccionario Oxford Pocket Edición Rioplatense para estudiantes argentinos y uruguayos de inglés. (London: Oxford, 1997).
Zelinková Pavla.“And Quiet Flows the Don” in English: Distribution of Diminutive Forms (Masters Thesis),http://es.scribd.com/doc/48280590/14/Diminutive-forms-without-the-attributes-of-diminutivity Acc. 20120405
Dictionaries Consulted for Other Languages.
Frey, Joseph Samuel Christian Frederick. A Hebrew, Latin, and English Dictionary: Containing All the Hebrew and Chaldee Words Used in the Old Testament, Volumen 1. London: Gale and Fenner, 1815. http://books.google.com/books?id=O-8UAAAAYAAJ&dq=hebrew+online+english+hebrew+dictionary&source=gbs_navlinks_s
For those Dedicated to Search for Hidden Meanings
The above article, insofar as it is finished, shows that there is a lot of negativity in the Spanish words beginning with “Ch”. It is, as it were, a kind of gematria without the need for the numerical value (or, it could still be assigned, if wanted). How did this negative association with “Ch” happen? This is something that may be contemplated by the interested reader. In fact, some association has been found with the Spanish “Ñ”, and the former Spanish letter “Ll”, for which reason, this is dubbed, The -ve (Negative) Channel, with intentional misspellings.
A lot of the negativity: dirtiness, piggishness, rusticity, criminality, violence, coarseness, smallness, noisiness,drunkenness, jeering, etc., may be attributed to the many words of vocabulary which deal with rural areas, or the disreputable part of a city. It need only be considered that among the translations of “pagan” is “rustic”, and the former word comes from “pagus“, that is, “rural district”. Witches, associated with devils, hardly met in cities. The various words for “kid” in the sense of “young goat”, plus the inclusion of “pig”, would seem to suggest images of the demon. The list of negative words which may further relate to this includes a very poisonous snake (Garden of Eden) and malicious or malodorous insects. Coupled with the words suggesting bad weather, one is reminded of the lines from the witches’ scene:
Fair is foul, and foul is fair,
Hover through the fog and filthy air.
Macbeth, I, i.
Anyone who has the time and knowledge might apply gematria to the Hebrew words beginning with “Gimel”, and translated here (from the cited source): presumptuous, locust, scorn, destroy, pit, ruins, dung, whirling dust, desolate, steal, roar, itch, provoke, crushed, vulture, slander, excrements, terrified, oppress, quarrel, young goat, (among others). Again, the country, more specifically, the desert, is seen in some of these terms, and violent or other evil action in several others.
Negativity of the “Ñ” may be due, as in the case of many “Ch” words, a negative sound association. Consider the disdain in the “Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck” refrain. In the same vein, although “Ll” should sound reasonably pleasant, in some Spanish-speaking areas, it sounds like “Sh”, and ends up sounding like the Portuguese equivalent, when it exists. Compare a badly pronounced Spanish “llave” to a Brazilian “chave”.
1. Various references can be found to the conservatism of the Academy. “Antonia Mingote’s Last Draw”, 4 ABR 2012 at <http://elpais.com/elpais/2012/04/04/inenglish/1333557925_856658.html>, “How do you say pandering in español? Newt Gingrich knows…” in the October 2009 issue of Latino Perspectives, <http://latinopm.com/opinion/lp-journal/how-do-you-say-pandering-in-espanol-newt-gingrich-knows%E2%80%A6-2931>, “WE LOST MINGOTE TOO…”, posted April 6, 2012 on the That Guy from Spain blog: <http://fonx.org/blog/>, and “La Academia, bajo sospecha”, in an article by Luis Almeny in El Mundo, 30/11/2011 (Cultura), <http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2011/11/30/cultura/1322641990.html>. All references accessed 20120410.