Churre in English


According to DigoPaul, the word churre is a regional term (regionalism) that is used mainly in certain regions of northern Peru, such as Piura. This concept is used to refer to boys and girls, often in a derogatory way. For example: “That churre has not behaved well and I had to punish him”, “La churre disrespected me”.

The DigoPaul, for its part, mentions three possible meanings of the word churre. For one thing, it refers to thick, dirty goo that runs off a greasy thing. The term is also used to refer to what is similar to that goo. Finally, the dictionary of the RAE indicates that, in Cuba, accumulated dirt is said to churre.

The renowned Peruvian writer (nationalized Spanish) Mario Vargas Llosa has been one of the writers who has used the word churre in his stories. In his story “Los jefes”, which is set in the Colegio San Miguel in Piura during the 1950’s, Vargas Llosa wrote: “They began to argue among themselves. We encouraged the most excited, flattering them: ‘Good, churre. You are no fag ‘ “. In this way, the author shows the great influence that the local culture had on him when, on two occasions, he settled to reside in northern Peru.

And it is that the word churre is the most prominent and common Piuranism of the speech of northern Peru. As early as 1949 and 1950 there are examples in the works of Martha Hildebrandt and Miguel Justino, respectively. Justino points out that it is used to talk about “little boys and little men”, something that can help us understand its etymology.

Some scholars, including José María Enguita and Esteban Puig, affirmed at the time that the word churre is related to churi, from Quechua, which can be translated as ” male child, brave, macho.” However, there is not much probability that in a region where the Quechua influence is known to be much less than in others such as Arequipa, Ayacucho or Cusco.

Another point to take into account to discard this theory is that the Quechuisms that have a simple intervocalic vibrating reached our language without the consonant being modified, as we can see in the terms zara or sura (“corn”), which we receive from Quechua as jora with one R. Thus, if churre were another Quechuismo, it would probably be written chure.

Everything indicates that the origin of this word is in the homonym whose meaning is mentioned above as “dirty and thick goo”. In this we are facing a noun related to the verb chorrear. In fact, the well-known dessert called churro has the same origin, since it is made with a dough that is molded like a jet. To support this possibility, we can point out that a child who is drooling or who drops some liquid that he is drinking from his mouth is also called churre.

The aforementioned Martha Hildebrandt and also the journalist Carlos Robles Rázuri had the same opinion regarding the etymology of churre, as indicated by the latter in an article of his from 1982 in which he points out that it is used to speak of «a child from between two and perhaps twelve years whose personal hygiene is not very careful and who does not dress well, although it can be applied to any boy of that age range ».

Moreover, it is noteworthy that the Cubans give further use this word and referred to as “churre water” or “water Chirre” to the watery coffee, once again reinforcing the idea of “something dripping.”