Che (//; Spanish: [tʃe]; Portuguese: tchê [ˈtʃe]; Valencian: xe [ˈtʃe]) is an interjection commonly used in Argentina, Uruguay, Rio Grande do Sul, and the Valencian Community, signifying "hey!", "fellow", "guy". The Argentine revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara earned his nickname from his frequent use of the expression.
The origin of che is unclear:
- In Tupi-Guarani che means simply "I" or "my."
- In Tehuelche and Puelche che means "man" or "people."
- In Kimbundu xê means "hey!", an interjection for calling someone.
First recorded use
Che, negra bruja, salí de aquí antes de que te pegue un tajo—exclamaba el carnicero.
("Hey, you black witch, get out of here before I gash you," said the butcher.)
Use in the Falkland Islands
In the Falkland Islands, che is commonly used by English speakers ("G'day che, how's things?"). It can also be written as chay. The word is sometimes used to describe someone who is a particularly traditional Falkland Islander ("He's a proper che").
- Che or Xe: In Spain, che is widely used in Valencia and Terres de l'Ebre, Catalonia (written as xe), as an interjection since ancient times. With the spelling "xe" in Valencian, its main use is to express protest, surprise or exasperation. Che! is one of the symbols of the Valencian identity to the point where, for example the Valencia CF is often referred to with the nickname "Che Team".
- In the Philippines – a former Spanish colony– che (also spelt Cheh) is used as a means of dismissing another person or interrupting another person's speech, similar in context to the English expression "Shut up!"
- Re (exclamation) - a similar interjection in the Balkans of identical usage
- Mario Andrew Pei; Salvatore Ramondino, eds. (1968), "che", The New World Spanish/English English/Spanish Dictionary, p. 159
- Antonio Ruiz de Montoya (1876), Vocabulario y tesoro de la lengua Guarani (ó mas bien Tupi), 2, Frick, p. 119b
- Federico Barbará (1879), Manual ó vocabulario de la lengua pampa, Casavalle, p. 64
- A. de Assis Junior, "Xê", Dicionário kimbundu-português, p. 376
- See page 225 of the first uniform edition of Echeverría's works, ed. Juan María Gutierrez, Mayo, Buenos Aires, 1874, Vol. 5 , accessed 22 November 2015.
- "Not-So-Urban Dictionary". Pengoing South. 2016-05-26. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
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