que vaina/es la misma vaina

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by awhunter, Dec 4, 2005.

  1. awhunter

    awhunter New Member

    U.S. English
    Como se dirían estas frases en Ingles? Would ¡Que vaina! be similar to “What a pain!” or “What a b_tch!” or would it be closer to “What a mess!” Isn’t it also used in some countries to mean “What’s up?”
    Would “Es la misma vaina” be like “It’s the same thing” or “It doesn’t matter” when choosing between two situations or things? Me parece que estas frases en Ingles no tienen el mismo sabor al Español. ¿Que opinan?
  2. ggsands

    ggsands Member

    Virginia, USA
    Peru, Español
    "Que vaina" -> "que problema!" or "que fastidio!" or "que molestia!", probably the closer to english will be "what a nuisance!". "Que vaina" as "what's up" probably is slang in some places or countries. "Es la misma vaina" is an informal, but rude, way to say "es la misma cosa" or "es lo mismo". "Vaina" viene a ser una manera de subestimar el objeto o situacion o pregunta de la que se esta hablando, q: "que prefieres A o B?", a: "me da igual, son la misma vaina".
  3. awhunter

    awhunter New Member

    U.S. English
    ¡Muchas gracias! Es lo que pensaba.
  4. JPM New Member

    English, USA
    I have been told that the best way to translate the crudity of this word is the American English "sh_t." Que vaina: "Oh, s_!" or "What's this s_?," depending on context. "Bother" is way too polite. And british. "Oh, bother" is what Winnie the Pooh says. One wonders at the etymology: perhaps definition 1, "sheath" or "scabbard" is also a sexual organ?
  5. Natabka Senior Member

    Ukraine (Ukrainian)
    Hi, everyone! It's been quite some time when this discussion started, but I decided to post here my question as I have the same problem translating "Es la misma vaina" in one short story. As it's the final sentence in otherwise "neutral, decent" story the fact of its being vulgar or just rude is very important. So, is it okay to use it in everyday speech or not? Is it used widely in literature (i.e. like "Caramba!")? Because I have also found this reference to a female sexual organ in the dictionary, like JPM here mentions, and if I use the direct equivalent in my language it would be a taboo phrase, extremely vulgar.
  6. Es la misma vaina simply means it's the same (old) thing.

    It's not vulgar or rude in Colombia or Venezuela, but it's definitely colloquial.

    You will hear it from many grandmothers and university professors, but not in formal contexts.

    Edited to add: The origin of the term vaina is vulgar. It's just that the vulgar connotation has been lost in those countries, as the term has moved into the mainstream language.
  7. Natabka Senior Member

    Ukraine (Ukrainian)
    Thank you very much, Handsome Dan! Your remarks have been very helpful!
  8. pitivw

    pitivw Senior Member

    Spain, Spanish
    I think spanish dictionario clarifies the meaning:
    1. col. Contrariedad, molestia: (bother)
      ¡vaya vaina que se te haya roto el coche!
    2. col. Cosa que carece de importancia: (trifle)
      no me vengas con vainas y dime la verdad.
    3. amer. col. Cosa cualquiera: (stuff)
      tráeme acá la vaina esa.
    But I´d never heard vaina as sexual term, at least in Spain.
  9. Natabka Senior Member

    Ukraine (Ukrainian)
    Okay, so that's even better that it doesn't have this connotation in Spain too! I think I should change my dictionary :D
  10. elcarnicero88 Senior Member

    In some contexts, it can be used as the Mexican slang term "onda", or the more vulgar equivalent, "pedo".

    "El pedo / la onda es que..."

    See this link for what appears to be an Irish version of vaina / onda: "craic". Although craic seems to have a more generally positive connotation, while vaina leans toward the negative.


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