If you have been following the World Baseball Classic, most likely you have seen this word in a big banner in the crowd. What does it mean, how is it pronounced? Today, we have answers!
The word Puñeta, according to the diccionary is… I have no idea and I don’t want to look for it. The fact is that the word is mostly used by Boricuas and its meaning is “to masturbate”. But, as I have said before, one thing is Spanish and a totally different one is Boricua Spanish. I will not talk about sex here, don’t worry parents out there!
We use the word in different situations and moments. Let’s say you work with a hammer. You start hitting the nail and all of a sudden, the hammer decides to hit your finger. Some people may scream, some others may say “Daaaaaaamn”, or many Boricuas can choose to use “Coño!”. But if it really hurts, a big “Puñeta” is always necessary. In this case is like a pain reliever kind of thing.
But it can be used in other situations too. We all have a friend who we have not seen in quite some time. One day you walk by the street minding your business and you see this friend. You are filled with emotion, really happy and surprised to see him. You walk to him, embrace your friend with a big hug and you say: Puñeta, que bueno verte brother! (So damn good to see you, man!) You see, in this case the word is used to express a good or happy emotion. I was buying candy for my son the other day at school and a lollipop costs 25 cents. A quarter for a lollipop??!!!!!?? Puñeta, pero que caro está eso! (Damn that is expensive!). When you are surprised about someone trying to rip you off, Puñeta is the word to use.
But why did we see it in the baseball game last Monday? Is it a Boricua word for Strike three? Is it the Boricua word for “We need a better pitcher”. No my young apprentice. Puñeta in sports is a scream of war, a “Geronimo” for…whoever uses Geronimo (I don’t know, I have never used it). For us, means “WE DID IT”, “IN YOUR FACE”… On September 1999, while Felix Trinidad and Oscar de la Hoya were waiting for the final decision on their fight, everyone in Puerto Rico was in the edge of their seats. When Trinidad heard he was declared the winner, he did not scream “Thank you”, or “I knew it”. He screamed a big and clear “PUÑEEEEETAAAAA!!!!!” In a baseball game some time ago, Edgar Martinez, future Hall of Famer, hit a home run, on his way to first base, he did not shout “That was a good hit”. He screamed PUÑEEEETAAAAAA!!!!!! And when Denisse Quiñones won the Miss Universe pageant, she should have scream Puñeta too (Shame on you)!
So that’s what happened last Sunday in the game. We were winning, we were going to the finals, we were screaming PUÑETA! Tonight we will use the word again; without fear, with pride. What does it mean, you ask? In tonights game, it means a Nation is ready for a win. How do you pronounce it? With you heart full of pride. Until next week, cójanlo suave, puñeta!
UPDATE: Puerto Rico lost the game with a 3 – 0 score. We can still use the word “Puñeta” in this case. Today it means sadness, pain. “Puñeta, perdimos! (Damn, we lost!) But still you got to learn what the word means and when to use it. Also, the championship stayed on this side of the Planet, on the Caribbean. Great job to my Dominican friends! Until next week…