Lições Espanhol

Temas

Lessons for topic Vocabulary

Radicarse: To relocate yourself

Eso fue cuando hicimos Inconquistable Corazón que yo ya tenía que radicarme acá.
[Caption 29 > Natalia Oreiro > Biografia > Part 5]

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The verb radicar can mean "to be situated/located (in)," and so what Natalia is saying in the quote above is:
"This was when we did 'Inconquistable Corazón' that I had to relocate here."


Con la crisis económico, me tuve que radicar en España.
"Given the economic crisis, I had to relocate to Spain."


Radicarse en otro pais es dificil.

"To establish yourself in another country is difficult."

El problema radica en la falta de presupuesto para este sector.
"The problem lies in the lack of budget for this area."

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Quejarse: To Complain

¡Y además te quejas!
[Caption 7, Tu Rock es Votar > Publicidad > Part 1]

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Quejarse is a verb meaning "to complain," so we translate the above phrase directed at Mexico's voters as:
"And still you're complaining!"

Así que no puedo quejarme
[Caption 29, Federico Kauffman Doig > Arqueologo > Part 4]

Similarly, the affable Federico Kauffman Doig uses quejarme when he states "So I can't complain."

On a related note, you won't be surprised to learn, if you didn't yet know it;
una queja is "a complaint."

The preposition following quejarse is often de

Se queja de un dolor en el abdomen.
"She complains of pain in the abdomen."

Se la pasa quejándose de que no tiene dinero.
"She is always complaining about having no money."

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Labor, Trabajo: The hardworker's world

Este... Vamos a tratar a explicarles... este... la labor de la artesanía... Este... trabajo que llevamos acabo...
[Captions 3-4, Javier Marin > Artesano > Part 1]

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Nouns Labor (fem.) and trabajo (masc.) both mean "work" -- the opposite of retirement or rest. Venezuelan artisan Javier Marin uses the word interchangeably above to describe his subject: The work of local artisans, like himself, in the city of Coro, Venezuela.

Javier also uses the related verb trabajar ("to work") multiple times in his chat to describe how the work was done. Here, he talks about some of the materials they work with, such as glazed ceramic (el gres) and snail shells (los caracoles):

...trabajamos con el gres
[Caption 17, Javier Marin > Artesano > Part 1]

También trabajamos un poco con lo que son este... las piezas del mar, los caracoles
[Caption 33, Javier Marin > Artesano > Part 1]

When describing the employment history of his father, the verb trabajar pops up yet again. At this point in the video, Javier points to the building where his father worked in the '50s:

Mi papa antiguamente, en los años cinquenta, este... trabajó acá
[Caption 45, Javier Marin > Artesano > Part 1]

This translates to, "Formerly, in the fifties, my father... worked here."

One line later, Javier employs the synonymous (though less common) verb laborar to describe what his dad's job was:

Laboró como telegrafista...
[Caption 46, Javier Marin > Part 1]

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To buy time while thinking of synonyms for oft-repeated words, you'll note that Javier says este... a lot. It's a verbal tic repeated all over Latin America -- on TV talk shows and radio interviews, for example. Non-native speakers who have the habit of saying "um" over and over might want to replace their um's with "este..." if they hope to be mistaken for a native Spanish speaker. You simply can't say "um" in the middle of a Spanish sentence without someone figuring out that you're not speaking your mother tongue.

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Retirar: To take away and other uses

...retirándole recursos locales y retirándole autonomía alimentaría y productiva los agricultores
[Caption 4, De consumidor a persona - Short Film - Part 4]

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The verb retirar has an array of meanings. Often, it means "to take away" or "to remove." Here, in Part 4 of the stirring documentary De Consumidor a Persona, we learn how farmers are having both their local resources and autonomy in food production taken away by multinational corporations.

Note that retirar is derived from the verb tirar
("to pull"), mentioned in this space just
last week. As in English, the prefix re- can mean "back" in Spanish.

"
¿Puedo retirar el plato?," a waitress in a restaurant might ask you at the end of a meal, referring to your empty plate. If you say yes, she'll take your plate back to the kitchen.

At the same time, retirar can also mean "to retire" -- an English cognate that's easy enough to remember. But note that retirar's synonym jubilar is often used instead to describe the act of retiring from the workplace, as in Venezuelan Javier Marin's description of his dad's retirement:

"Se encuentra jubilado," ("He's retired,") Javier explains in caption 46 of Part 1 of his chat with us about jewelry-making.

 

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"Retired people" are referred to as jubilados -- doesn't that sound like a happy state to be in? Yes, through shared Latin roots, jubilar is related to "jubilant" in English.

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Volcar: Overturn and other uses

Hemos volcado nuestra experiencia, nuestros estudios, nuestras investigaciones, nuestros recorridos por selvas...
[Caption 6-7, Federico Kauffman Doig >Arqueólogo > 3]

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The verb volcar literally means "to overturn," "to dump," "to knock over," etc. It is, however, often used figuratively. In the example above, Señor Doig is talking about those things that he and his fellow archeologists have "used," or "drawn upon." "We have used our experience, our studies, our research, our journeys in the jungle..." The mental image that the use of volcar might create here is that they have figuratively "dumped out" all the things they've learned over the years onto a big table -- sorted through and arranged them -- using them to write their books.

Busca un trabajo en el que pueda volcar toda su creatividad.
"She is looking for a job where she can exploit all her creativity."


Volcar can also me "to be engrossed in," or "to be devoted to."

Está completamente volcado a su trabajo.
"He is completely devoted to."

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Jalar and more: Different ways to pull

Pero la calle lo siguió jalando
[Caption 21, La Secta > Consejo]

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The verb jalar means "to pull" and its use is common in many parts of Latin America. Miami-based La Secta, in their music video Consejo (which means "advice"), uses the verb in the phrase above, "But the street kept pulling him back."

If jalar means "to pull," why have we seen the
command hale, with an h, printed on doors in countries like Venezuela and Mexico? Well, it turns out that halar also means "to pull," and when we boil down the evidence it seems that halar is basically the same verb, more or less, as jalar, but spelled with an h up front. Which spelling came first, which is more "correct," etc., seems to be up for debate, and also a matter of regional preference.

In Spain, we are like
ly to see tirar (which can mean "to pull") printed on one side of a door, and in Argentina we are likely to see the indicative form, tire. (By the way, most of these countries tend to agree that empuje or empujar, "to push," goes on the other side of these doors.)

Folks in Spain pretty much never use jalar for "to pull," however they do use it for "to eat," but only in very informal settings -- it can be considered a bit crude.

¿Quién se ha jalado todo el jamón?
"Who has wolfed down all the ham?"

Vamos a jalar. ¿Vienes con nosotros?
"Let's go eat. You coming with us?"


In parts of Central America, such as Nicaragua and Costa Rica, jalar can be used to mean "going out" or "dating."

Él y ella estan jalando.
"He and she are dating
."

 

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You can read a long discussion on the regional uses of jalar, halar and tirar here.

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Acabar: More meanings after the end

Imagina acabar con el hambre y la pobreza...
Imagine putting an end to hunger and poverty

[Caption 1, Con ánimo de lucro > Short Film > 1]

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The short film titled Con ánimo de lucro starts with a series of commands reminiscent of the John Lennon song "Imagine." But what's that word after Imagina (the familiar command form of imaginar)? The short answer is that acabar means "to end" or "to finish."

Se nos acabaron las galletitas.
"We´ve run out of cookies."


We could end our discussion right there, but we won't because acabar can confuse non-native speakers in a variety of contexts. It's more widely used and has more shades of meaning than its synonym terminar (also "to end"). For example, you'll commonly hear
acabar de mean "just" as in:

Acabamos de terminar.
"We just finished."

Acabo de enterarme que van a casarse.
"I´ve just learned they are getting married.
"


Meanwhile, acabar por can mean "finally" as in:

Acabé por decirle la verdad.
"I finally told him the truth."

 

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MORE:

¡No irás y se acabó!
You won´t go and that´s that!


In some places, especially Argentina,
acabar can mean "to have an orgasm," when used in the right context. This usage is colloquial but not considered terribly rude.

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Porqué: The reasons

No se tenía porqué poner zapatos.
[Caption 18, Federico Kauffman Doig > Arqueólogo > 1]

 

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In this space, just two weeks ago, we discussed que ("that") and ¿qué? ("what?"), porque ("because") and ¿por qué? ("why?"). In these instances, the accent over the é turned a conjunction into an interrogation.

This week, the affable archaeologist Federico Kauffman Doig reminds us of another porqué, which is a noun that means the reason, cause or motive for something. Because it's a noun, porqué has a gender -- masculine -- and is often preceded by a definite (el, los) or indefinite article (un, unos).

Related:

Los porqués son...
"The reasons are..."
 
Un porqué
de...

" A reason for.... "
 

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So, take this hint if you want to ace a Spanish spelling bee (un concurso de deletreo): If porqué is used as a noun, it's always one word and has an accent over its é.

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Pretender: Beware of false cognates

Lo que pretendemos es sembrar en la gente la actitud de reducir...
[Caption 1, De consumidor a persona > Short Film > 3
]

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It's easy enough to guess the meaning of some Spanish verbs. Take the environmentally helpful trio reducir, reutilizar and reciclar, for example. If you guessed the three verbs mean "to reduce," "to reutilize" and "to recycle," respectively, you're right on. Because Spanish and English share so many Latin language roots, many words sound similar--in other words, they are cognates. But watch out for false cognates, AKA false friends. Two examples are the verbs atender and asistir. In Spanish, atender does not mean "to attend," but "to serve." Meanwhile, asistir does not mean "to assist" but "to attend."

Which brings us back to the quote above. False friend pretender commonly means "to try,"
"to seek" or "to be after." So, the sentence above can be translated as: "What we seek is to instill [literally, "to sow"] in the people the attitude of reducing...."

While pretender and "pretend" have common Latin roots, the use of the word in English to mean "to seek" or "to undertake" fell out of use many moons ago. (Note the archaic definition still stands in some English dictionaries, like
this one.)

El gobierno pretende proteger los derechos de los trabajadores.
"The government seeks (or tries) to protect the rights of the workers."

No pretendo ser tu dueño.
"I don't want (or aspire) to be your master."

¿Y qué pretendes que haga yo? Como si pudiera cambiar algo.
"And what do you want me to do? As if I could change a thing."

 

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Note: the Spanish equivalent of "to pretend," as it is commonly used in modern English, is commonly fingir.

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Ganas: What we want to do

Pensamos que el agua, que el aire, que el suelo es nuestro y podemos hacer lo que nos dé la gana. No es cierto.
[Caption 7-8, De consumidor a persona > Short Film > 2]

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Gana, meaning "wish" or "will," is a noun that plays a key role to express wishes or desires in Spanish. The expression darle (a alguien) la gana means "to feel like" or "to want to."

"We think that the water, the air, the land is ours and we can do with it what we feel like. That's not true."


lo que me dé la gana
"what I feel like"

lo que te dé la gana
"what you feel like"

lo que le dé la gana
"what you feel like / what he-she feels like"

lo que les dé la gana
"what you [pl.] feel like / what they feel like"


Even more common is the pairing of the verb tener ("to have") with the plural ganas, as in:

Tenía ganas de hacer algo con eso
[Caption 48, Biografía > Natalia Oreiro > 4]

 

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Natalia is saying: "I wanted to do something with this." The word-for-word translation might have you thinking she had the will to do it, but common understanding is simply that she felt like it, or wanted to do it.

Tengo muchas ganas de aprender español.
"I really want to learn Spanish."

No tengo ganas de parar ahora.
"I don't want to stop now."

 

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Dar: It's the land giving

y sembrar sus cositas por ahí... lo que da cebolla, tomate, al pimentón, el ají, y otras cosas pues, por ahí.
[Caption 22-23, José Rodríguez > La Finca]

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Have you noticed that the verb dar, which we usually take to mean "to give" seems to be used a lot in reference to the growing of fruits and vegetables. Well it turns out that what is doing the "giving," and sometimes it is implied, sometimes more explicit, is la tierra, "the land." Here we find José Rodríguez talking about people in the area "planting their little things around here... producing onion, tomato, red pepper, chili peppers, and other things, around here."

It's not the first time we find dar used in this way. If we check back with our friend Rafael discussing Guatemala:

la tierra... la tierra de las verduras... porque ahí hay... da buenas... verdura, como repollo, zanahoria, cebolla... tomate...
[Captions 11-14, Rafael T > Guatemala Hermosa]

"the land... the land of vegetables... because here there are... [the land] produces good... vegetables, like cabbage, carrot, onion... tomato..."

Digamos en la costa... también da buenas frutas... como la naranja, la sandía, la papaya
[Captions 15, Rafael T > Guatemala Hermosa]

"let's say the coast... also produces good fruit... like orange, watermelon, papaya"

Another example:


Este año, mis tierras no han dado una buena cosecha.
This year, my lands didn't produce a good harvest.

 

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In all of the examples above, dar takes a direct object ("cabbage", "oranges", etc.). However, the reflexive darse can be used as well, with no direct object, and the meaning is "to grow," or "to come up." (This "reflexive" usage, as per the examples below, is somewhat more common in Spain than Latin America.)

He plantado aquí tomates, pero no se dan.
I planted tomatoes here, but they aren't growing (or "aren't coming up").

Las palmeras no se dan en Noruega.
Palm trees don't grow in Norway.

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Zafar: Getting out and getting by

¡Yo de ésta no puedo zafar!
[Caption 76, Provócame > Pilot > Part 17]

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Later, in the same scene, our heroine Ana has another breathless exclamation worthy of a closer look. In it, she uses the verb zafar, which can mean "to escape," "to free" or "to untie," according to the authoritative Spanish dictionary from the La Real Academia Española. Along these lines, a current popular song by the Uruguayan band La Vela Puerca is titled Zafar, in the sense of "To escape." The song discusses the fumes and smells of the city and is punctuated by the refrain: ...estoy zafando del olor ("...I am escaping from the smell").

In neighboring, Argentina, you hear the verb zafar all the time on the city streets, with a more modern, slangy meaning: "to get by." For example, if you ask an Argentine how he's doing, he may answer, estoy zafando, meaning "I'm hanging in there."

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Bien: Well, OK

Bueno... está bien, Tere.
[Caption 21, Verano Eterno > Fiesta Grande > Part 9]

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Bien, usually meaning "well" or "OK," has a plethora of uses that can change slightly in meaning depending on the context. Here, Tere's mother tells her that "it's OK" for her to take piano lessons with Juan. "OK" is a fairly typical translation for bien.

Es ahora bien buena madre
[Caption 40, José Luís Acacio > Simón Bolívar]

The word bien, when placed before an adjective, tends to emphasize the meaning of that adjective. Here, that emphasis is perhaps best translated as "very" or "such a" to give us "Now, she's a very good mother" (or "such a good mother").

Note that when it's not used to describe your mother, bien buena, on it's own, most often means "really hot" or "really fine," (in the colloquial sense) and is used referring to some sexy thing.


¡Mamacita, estas bien buena!
"Girl, you are damn fine!"

Tenemos un dialecto bien bonito.
[Caption 31, Rafael T. > La cultura Maya > Part 2]

Sometimes that emphasis that the word bien gives to the adjective it precedes seems to be best translated as "quite," which in this case gives us: "We have a dialect that is quite beautiful."

Bien is used for emphasis in a variety of sayings that are common among younger speakers often prone to exaggeration:

Cantas bien mal.
"You sing really badly."

 

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Keep your eyes open for many more interesting uses of bien!

Yo no me acuerdo pero bien pudo ser.
"I don't remember but it well could have been" (or, "easily may have been").

 
 

 

 

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Amamantar, Mecer y Arrullar: Motherly Words

Y después de amamantarlos...

[Caption 43, José Luís Acacio > Simón Bolívar]

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José's patriotic tune personifies Venezuela as a mother and in so doing introduces us to some great words for motherly attention.

Amamantar means "to nurse" or even more literally "to breast feed" (coming from the root for mammary glands, mama), and so here we have "And later to nurse them...". This really reinforces the notion of amor carnal ("bodily love") that Madre Venezuela shows her people.

Meciéndolos en su hamaca

[Caption 46, José Luís Acacio > Simón Bolívar
]

Mecer means "to cradle," "to swing," or "to sway." So here he sings of Madre Venezuela cradling or swinging her children "in their hammock."

Los dormía y arrullaba

[Caption 47,
José Luís Acacio > Simón Bolívar]

Arrullar means "to lull' or "to coo" (refering to the noise made by pigeons and that made by mothers to lull their babies). Therefore, "She put them to sleep and lulled them."

 

So a late afternoon routine for a mother might go like this:

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En la tarde, la madre amamanta el bebe si tiene hambre. Después para que sea quieto, le arrulla en sus brazos. Entonces, cuando ya está más quieto, ella pone el bebe en la cuna ("cradle") y le mece hasta que entra el sueño.

 

 

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Gustar: To like, to please, to taste

Llegan a estos lugares, porque les gusta, les fascina esa clase de vestuario...
[Caption 19, Rafael T. > La cultura Maya > Part 2]

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Gustar means "to please" or "to be pleasing," and so when Rafael says porque les gusta, he is literally saying, "because it pleases them." The common English verb equivalent, of course, is "to like," but the subject and object flip places ("they like it"). Therefore we translate Rafael's phrase above as "They come to these places, because they like them, they are fascinated by this type of dress..."

For example, you'd say me gusta Rafael to say "I like Rafael," but literally you're saying "Rafael is pleasing to me." But sometimes we might want to use other variations of "gustar" that are heard less frequently:

¿Sabes que?...Me gustas.
"You know what? ...I like you (you are pleasing to me)."


"Tengo una pregunta, ¿te gusto?
I have a question, do you like me? (am I pleasing to you?)"

 

las mujeres ya andan con el pelo corto. Se hacen colocho al pelo, o... bueno, depende el gusto...
[Captions 7-8,
Rafael T. > La cultura Maya > Part 2]

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Also, we see Rafael using gusto, the noun, to refer to the different tastes for hairstyles women in the city have. So above we have "the women now have short hair. They curl their hair, or... well, it depends on the taste [they have in hairstyles]..."

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Arrugas: Backing out--No wrinkles!

¿No me digas que arrugaste?
[Caption 9, Verano Eterno > Fiesta Grande > Part 8]

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In the same scene, Benjamin rekindles the fire of the apuesta ("bet") to see whether Mauro has won the heart of Violeta. At one point, he asks Mauro if their bet is still on. To do so, he uses the verb arrugar, which means "to wrinkle" or "to crumble" in other contexts. But in the context of their bet, arrugar would mean crumble in a way, but a more straightforward translation is "to back out."

Keep your eyes open in the cosmetics section to find una arruga used as a noun meaning "a wrinkle," and often in the plural as arrugas .

When learning Spanish gets tough, ¡No arrugues!

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Poquitito: A wee little tiny bit

¿No te pareces un poquitito tarde para abrir?
[Caption 1, Verano Eterno > Fiesta Grande > 8]

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If un poco means "a little," and un poquito is the diminutive form (meaning "just a little bit"), what is un poquitito? Yup, it's the diminutive of the diminutive. It's kind of like saying: "Just a wee little bitty bit" for an exaggerated effect. In the opening line of this installment of Verano Eterno, Benjamin is giving Mauro a hard time. Using a diminutive of a diminutve helps him exaggerate his sarcastic comment for effect.

There's one other diminutive of a diminutive that's commonly heard: Chico, as in "small" can be made "very very small" by saying chiquitito. (Note that in both cases, the "c" turns to a "qu" to retain that hard c/k sound before "i.")

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Dejar: Stop leaving

Tú me quieres dejar, y yo no quiero sufrir.
[Caption 8, Javier García > EPK > Part 1]

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One of the most interesting, and yet also most common, verbs we find in Spanish is dejar. In caption 8 of his EPK (which, by the way, is entertainment industry talk for "Electronic Press Kit"), Javi sings Tú me quieres dejar... and the meaning is "You want to leave me..." However, eleven captions later we find the imperative (command) form of the same verb being sung to a different tune...

Deja de correr, tranquila
[Caption 19, Javier García > Interview]

Here, Javi is not telling us to "leave" running but rather the same verb now means "to stop" ("Stop running, take it easy"). The construction dejar de + infinitivo gives us the equivalent in English of "stop" + gerund (the "-ing" verb form).

Deja de mirarme así.
"Stop looking at me like that."

Deja de llorar.
"Stop crying."

Esta rumba, yo te digo, te deja por el suelo.
[Caption 2, Javier García > La Rumba]

Very similar to a use of "leave" in English, dejar can be used to explain how something effects you. In this case, the rumba is so great and so tiring, it "will leave you on the floor." In a similar vein, you may hear people talking about how an emotional event affected them: La película me dejó sin palabras, or "the movie left me speechless."

La clase de gimnasia me dejó cansadísima.
"Gym class left me very tired."

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If you keep your ears open, you will also hear dejar used for giving up something, such as...

Voy a dejar francés.
"I'm going to quit French."

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