In Costa Rican Spanish, the word “tuanis” means something like the English “sweet” or “cool”. Since much Spanish slang has been coming from English lately, lots of people believe “too nice” to be the root of “tuanis”. While that’s entertaining, the etymology’s erroneous!

Urban dictionary explains the actual fascinating history (which was verified in Spanish class too):

“2. tuanis 30 up, 11 down
This word was created from a tico slang called Malespín. The costarican army, in the middle of the war with Nicaragua, found that the military orders were intercepted by the “nica” spies. The general Malespín proposed that the letter A was changed by E, the I by O, M to P and T to B.

So Tuanis is the code word from “Buenos” (good, great) in Malespín.

Also “Malos” (bad, evil) is Pelis or Work (“Trabajo”) is “Brete” (“Breteji”, actually. We drop the last two letters with the time).
How was the movie?
Great! (Tuanis!)

That stuff is awesome! (¡Qué tuanis esa vara!)
buy tuanis mugs & shirts
tuanis pelis brete nica malespín tico”

The most tuanis Spanish word is definitely tuanis! Followed closely by guacala.



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