Monday, August 17, 2015


(sloppy, clumsy or inattentive work)

When your employee photocopies your report back-to-back, but the rear page is printed upside-down, that is che'cho' malakís.

The auto repair shop returns your car, but forgets to tighten the bolts on your wheels. That is che'cho' malakís.

Sloppy, inattentive and clumsy work.

Che'cho' means "work" or "action."

But where did we get the word malakís?

It's not Spanish, and it doesn't resemble a modification of a Spanish word.

Some think that malakís comes from the Chamorro word pulakis.

Pulakis means "to peel" the skin of a fruit, or the shell of an egg.  A second meaning is to "hatch an egg." It can also mean "to incubate."

In time pulakis became a kind of curse word and, for reasons I cannot discover yet, a strong one! Older Chamorros do not use the word pulakis when in polite company.

Perhaps, then, people changed the word pulakis to malakís as a safe alternative.

This could also explain the change in pronunciation. The stress in malakís is on the last syllable : malaKIS, not maLAkis. This makes the word even more distant from pulakis, which stresses the middle syllable : puLAkis.


  1. Any relation to the expression "lakis hao"? (Or is that lakos hao)

    1. Could be, which is why it is considered an impolite word