Querencia


I love learning new words.  Then I make a game of trying to incorporate them into everyday speech.  I have to say though, that this one stumped me. I saw “querencia” on a Facebook post (Querencia) and thought it had a cool definition: “a place from which one’s strength is drawn, where one feels at home; the place where you are your authentic self.”  Then I looked it up on Dictionary.com and the word was not recognized.  Smelling something fishy, I did an online search and found a lot of restaurants, cities, and the like.  I was able to find one link to a ski resort (QuerenciaTaos) that provided an explanation of “querencia” that seemed to agree with the Facebook post:

William F. Buckley, an American author, wrote that “querencia” doesn’t really translate to English, but is used to “designate that mysterious little area in the bullring that catches the fancy of the fighting bull when he charges in. He imagines it his sanctuary: when parked there, he supposes he cannot be hurt…So it is, borrowing the term, that one can speak of one’s “querencia” to mean that little, unspecified area in life’s arena where one feels safe, serene.”  Buckley wrote this in his book, “Racing Through Paradise” which was published in 1988.

Then I got the bright idea to look up the English translation of “querencia” in my Spanish/English dictionary.  Apparently, the word DOES translate.  The Bantam College Dictionary translated “querencia” to mean: “liking, affection, attraction, love of home, haunt, favorite spot.”   I can see how the “where one feels at home” idea could get extracted from “love of home” and “favorite spot.”  I am curious, however, because this version of the Bantam dictionary I have was published in 1987.  Before Buckley’s book came out.  Ah, well.  Communication in the ’80s wasn’t quite as easy as it is now.

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