Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Low-Down Rose Sucker

En route to Hillary’s parents’ new house this past weekend, I passed a street sign that made me laugh: Chuparosa Drive. A childhood populated with the likes of the Chupacabra and Chupa Chups* — and really just those two things and nothing else, sadly —taught me long ago that chupar is the Spanish word for “to suck.” (This knowledge has proved useful, mostly by allowing me to know when I was being discussed in a defamatory manner.) But chuparosa? Who sucks roses? And, more to the point, who sucks roses to the point where they should get a street named after them? Rose-sucking sounds painful, and perhaps the kind of activity people in other countries accuse each others’ mothers of doing. “Your mother sucks roses and you dad chews on nickels!” Something like that.

My Friend The Internet tells me that chuparosa — which is more frequently spelled chuparrosa — actually means “hummingbird” in Mexican Spanish. I am comfortable with this, for if anyone should be sucking roses, it should be the mythical half-bird, half-bug. I don’t remember learning this term for hummingbird back in high school Spanish, however, possibly because teachers decided that colibri was superior by virtue of not giving students reason to use any form of word “suck.”

Other equally amazing compound Spanish words that use some form of the chupar:
  • chupamangas, literally “sleeve sucker,” translated as “suck-up,” and considered vulgar for some reason I don’t understand
  • chupasangres, “bloodsucker”
  • chupatintas, literally “ink sucker,” but meaning something close to the English term pencil pusher
  • chupamirto, literally “myrtle sucker,” but again meaning “hummingbird”
  • chupaflor, yet another term for “hummingbird”
  • chupagasolina, which I think is the Spanish equivalent of the English term gas-guzzler
  • chupacirios, literally “candle sucker,” which sounds like a euphemism for a certain English expression but which actually means “a sanctimonious person” for reasons I do not understand
* Would have loved to find a webpage explaining this apparently bygone lollipop brand but found nothing online. Am I crazy? These existed, right?


  1. bygone? m'sieur, please.

  2. p.s. click the Union Jack, crank up your speakers, and prepare to watch a flash intro of blog-entry-worthy levels of oddness, offensiveness.

  3. Random. I must have been spelling it wrong when I Googled it. Doy.

    Also: Saldavor Dali designed the Chupa Chups logo. Random.

  4. I feel like "candle sucker" makes sense if you confer it with "gas sucker." A gas sucker goes through gas quickly, and a candle sucker goes through candles, because they're sanctimonious and constantly lighting candles.