The word agua or ‘water’ in the plural form -aguas- is a commonly used expression in Mexico which means “Be careful” or “Watch out“. How on Earth water became a warning expression? Well, I remember I attended a conference about Mexican expressions when I was about 15 years old. I learned that the origin of this expression is very likely to come from Europe. Back in time when there was no sewage system in the city and homes, people would throw water-or not precisely water 🙁 – out the window and would shout “Agua” or “Agua va” to warn any pedestrians passing by. I’m not sure to what extent this may be true, but the expression is widely used in Mexico to indicate a warning of danger. You can specify the source of the danger with the preposition “con”:
¡Aguas con el carro! — Watch out for the car!
¡Aguas con el perro! — Watch out for the dog!
There’s a funny anecdote written by Herman, one of our advanced students in San José. Listen to his anecdote by playing the video below.
1st step: Play the story once and listen to the narration.
2nd step: Play it again and follow the script in Spanish
3rd step: Read the English version.
En el año 2006 mi esposa y yo tuvimos invitados de la familia de ella aquí en San José. Vinieron del Estado de Chihuahua. Todos los días los llevábamos por todas las playas y muchos lugares turísticos. Un día estaba manejando con un sobrino de mi esposa y cuando nos acercamos a un cruce él gritó: “Ahí viene un carro, ¡aguas!”
Yo pensé que tenía sed y entonces le compré una botella de agua en un OXXO. Él parecía perplejo. Y yo por supuesto no había entendido lo que me dijo. Cuando llegamos a casa él explicó lo que pasó y todos se reían de mí. Después llegó mi esposa y me explicó el sentido de la expresión.
¿Do you know how I learned the word “agua” (water)?
In 2006 my wife and I had guests of her family here in San José. They came from the State of Chichuahua. Everyday we would take them to all the beaches and to many touristic places. One day I was driving with my wife’s nephew. When we got close to a crossing he screamed-“There’s a car coming, aguas!
I thought he was thirsty so I bought him a bottle of water at OXXO. He seemed perplexed. I of course didn’t understand what he said to me. When we got home he explained what happened and everyone was laughing at me. Then my wife arrived and explained to me the meaning of the expression.
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