Three people tell me that 10-15 years ago when they were kids they used to use guay amongst themselves in the way Ms/Mr Fages suggests in my original post, eg Esto es guay de(l) Paraguay. One thought the phrase came from a song or radio ad but, strangely, none of them was aware of the word’s former meaning. There’s an interesting post on Yahoo that throws some light on Latin American usage:
- Ruben D Romani says that in his(?) part of Argentina, guay is used as a prefix in many toponomics of indigenous, local and Inca origin. He also notes that guay, presumably in the old (Judeo-)Spanish configuration, is sometimes used to warn and may be accompanied by a flourishing of fists.
- Cecilia Casamajor says that the suffix guay in Paraguay, Uruguay and Gualeguay is Guarani, but she has evidence of homonymic use as well.
For Latin Americans, guay obviously means something authentic (as well as retaining the meaning imported from Spain). But how do the indigenous population use it? I’ve found a couple of suggestions:
- Guai is the Guarani word for “born” which, combined with their ana, “kin”, could lead one to believe that the Guianas suffer from inbreeding.
- Guai means “young men”, which is tangentially of interest, in that some folk here think that the Spanish guay derives from the English gay.
- If I understand poster Nora correctly, gua-i is the Guarani word for back-to-front, which is how the Guaranis describe the Paraguayans’ way of life.
A back-to-front word from a back-to-front people. And now I’m going to do some work.
- Bad/good: etymology of "guay"
Dictionaries source the Spanish word guay (current meaning: cool/super/excellent/smashing) back to an (Arab) cry, ay. This never makes any kind of
- Fertility, creativity, and the rising spirit of hip
It is held in some ovoids that the only way to understand what you wrote when drunk is to repeat the
- c(h)/qu => k and early/mobile spanish/italian writing
Tearing myself away from puffing the undoubted pleasures of wines of the Penedès for a moment, I would point out that
- More wicked communists
I’ve just read chunks of White on Black by Ruben Gallego (available in Spanish as Blanco sobre negro), an extraordinary collection
- village for sale: €650K
Uninhabited village, 25 houses with 80 hectares next to the Ordesa and Monte Perdido national park in the Aragonese Pyrenees for