Word Wednesday: Mijo/Mija

Posted on 02/10/2013

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Today’s words are mijo and mija.

It is impossible to visit or live in Colombia and not hear these oh-so-common Colombian terms of endearment. Both mija and mijo are shortened versions of “mi hijo” and “mi hija,” meaning, respectively, “my son” and “my daughter.” Hence, “mija” is used with females and “mijo” is used with males.

Even so, these terms are not only used to refer to one’s literal son or daughter; they are used to refer to anyone  you may deeply care about, and oftentimes they are used between strangers, acquaintances, friends, and family members of different ages, where the older person will refer to the younger person as “mijo” or “mija.”

For instance, in a neighborhood store or tienda, you may be greeted as “mija,” or you may be thanked with “mija” as you leave. Your friends’ moms may also refer to you as “mija,” especially if they are fond of you, and, likewise, you may jokingly refer to your friends as “mija” or “mijo” when you want to express surprise, sympathy, or disdain during a conversation. You may even hear beggars use “mija” and “mijo” to establish a “relationship” with you.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing in Colombia, these two words will come in handy not only for understanding what people are saying, but also for expressing your own feelings for those you meet during your travels or even with your ex-pat Colombian friends abroad.

Until next time mija,

Paige

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