bicho raro

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Is the term 'bicho raro' offensive or pejorative? Is there a better equivalent (perhaps slang) for the current sense of the English word 'geek'?

'Geek' used to be pejorative, similar to 'nerd,' but in the past decade it seems to have largely lost its pejorative connotation. Nowadays 'geek' means a person higly knowledgeable about an unusual, obscure, specialized, or technical field, similar to 'maven.'

22932 views
updated JUL 6, 2017
posted by mark2
I asked my Spanish teacher about this word ' bicho rare' …She said it was bad .I have not quizzed her yet on .I am nit sure she means 'bad' i.e. slang/bad use of 2 words - or bad as in swearing.I have seen some of my Spanish friends use the word in TXT .?

9 Answers

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"bicho raro" basically means a strange person. It can be considered pejorative. It does not have the hight tech connotation that "geek" has today. I don't know of a translation for "geek" other than un technico.

updated JUL 23, 2008
posted by Mark-W
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I don't know, Eddy. I think I agree with Mark that the negative aspect of the word geek, at least in the US, has softened in recent years. While I certainly wouldn't say that geek and maven are synonyms (maven is always positive), it is true that geek can be used in a wide range of meanings, from negative to positive, so there are situations where geek and maven could mean the same thing, although geek is certainly used negatively more often than positively.

To say that someone is "A xxx geek," meaning that the person really, really loves something, in Spanish, I think I've heard these.

Es un chiflado de xxx
Es un flipado de xxx
Es un friqui de xxx

The last one comes from the English "freak."

As for bicho raro, I've only heard it used as Lazarus says, to mean "weirdo." In English we have a term that is very similar, "strange bird," and while it isn't that common, it is still used sometimes to mean basically the same thing.

updated JUL 23, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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Just for the non-advanced members i.e. me 'bicho raro' can be used literally for 'strange creature' too (if I remember my Harry Potter books correctly)

updated JUL 23, 2008
posted by tad
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So what do you call geeks and nerds in spanish? Nothing offensive, more on the humorous or affectionate side of things please'

updated JUL 23, 2008
posted by Mz-Badger
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Anda....¿es que no lo eres''? De otro planeta...''? jejej

updated JUL 23, 2008
posted by 00494d19
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Solo como un aporte mas...An example:
"Me miró como si fuera un bicho raro"
This means: "He looked at me as if I was from another planet"

updated JUL 23, 2008
posted by Mauro
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Maven (n) - An expert, a connoisseur, but this is completely different to "a geek".

updated JUL 23, 2008
posted by Eddy
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Nowadays 'geek' means a person higly knowledgeable about an unusual, obscure, specialized, or technical field, similar to 'maven.'

Hi Mark, i was not familiar with "maven"..interestig word...could you explain how to use it?

Bicho raro, CAN mean maven, for example:

Ese tío es un bicho raro: es Ingeniero de bioquímica especializado en .....

somebody highly qualified, as you said. It immplies a certain ammount of envy.

updated JUL 23, 2008
posted by 00494d19
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It'd say it translates as "weirdo".

The Spanish dictionary defines it as "a person who has an extremely uncommon behaviour or personality".

Unlike "geek", "un bicho raro" does not have to be socially inept; just noticeable different or strange.

updated JUL 23, 2008
posted by lazarus1907