This Spanish word of the day in the 365 Spanish Words A Year Page-A-Day® calendar won’t easily be forgotten with a little background, some context and a creative association to remember it by.
Travieso means “mischievous” in Spanish and it comes from the Latin word “transversus,” for lying across, from side to side. In turn, “transversus” comes from “trans” for across or beyond, and “vertere” for turn or change.
How do you think the combination of the Latin words for “lying to the side of” and “change” came to mean mischievous? Perhaps it implies that those who are behaving badly turn outside the norm and exist on the periphery of average good individuals. Or maybe it means that the mischievous like to turn or bend the law.
The English word mischievous comes from the French méchef, which in turn derives from “mes” for badly and “chever” for occur or culminate. We could go on from there, explaining the origins of these roots, which, no doubt, lie in Latin... but that might put you to sleep.
How about using travieso in a sentence? Here are a few examples of memorable sentences to practice with your Spanish-speaking friends. We apologize in advance for any grammatical errors!
El perro travieso comió el gato para la cena.
The mischievous dog ate the cat for dinner.
Niños traviesos no recibe el postre.
Mischievous children don’t get dessert.
Hombres traviesos tiene grandes bigotes.
Mischievous men have big mustaches.
“The Mischievous Dog” is a story from Aesop’s Fables, wherein the owner of a dog that bites people’s legs attaches a bell to its neck to warn others. The dog thinks its owner has given it the bell to honor it so it shows it off until another dog clarifies that the bell is a dishonor, not a reward. The moral of the story? “Notoriety is often mistaken for fame.” (A good lesson for some of our modern-day celebrities!)
Let’s just pretend that dog was a little feisty black terrier. In that case, in Spanish, the story would be about the “terrier travieso!”
About our 365 Spanish Words-A-Year Calendar:
Improve your español throughout the year.365 Spanish Words-A-Year is the essential calendar for students of Spanish or anyone hoping to learn helpful vocabulary and phrases. Each day’s entry is used in a sample sentence and includes a definition and pronunciation guide.