Friday, October 14, 2016


In Chamorro, malamåña is worse than taklalo' (quick-tempered, easily angered, irascible).

Malamåña is to be "fierce, savage, ferocious, harsh, brutal, cruel." I have heard it most associated, by our mañaina, with the Japanese during the war.

It comes from two Spanish words, mala and maña.

Mala means "bad."

Maña, which I recently blogged on, means "skill, aptitude, talent."

The Spanish have a saying, "Más vale maña que fuerza."

It means that it is better to be sly (maña) than to be strong (fuerza). Brains over brawn. A guy might try, unsuccessfully, to break down a jammed door. But a clever person can use far less physical force to undo the jam.

To have mala maña (bad skill) means to be deceitful, tricky, cunning.

For whatever reason, some Latino musical groups call themselves Malamaña.

Among Chamorros, mala maña became our word malamåña and somehow we gave it a more intensely negative meaning. Not just "cunning" or "tricky" but downright cruel and ferocious.

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