Hot as a synonym for spicy?
September 25, 2014 9:46 PM   Subscribe

Do any other languages use hot as a synonym for spicy? Examples of spicy in other languages with etymology / literal translation are welcome
posted by shaqlvaney to Writing & Language (23 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Caliente?
posted by OrangeGloves at 10:01 PM on September 25, 2014




WELL

based on this pop song that my parents listened to, colloquially, at the time that this song was popular in the mainland, yes. 辣 is used to describe 妹子 (young woman) and peppers.

The scope of 辣 transcends her physicality -- I don't think any characters are used to describe the 辣妹's appearance, but a great deal of the song talks about how the 辣妹子 fearlessly eats handfuls of peppers regardless of the pain, etc. This is a characteristic of people from that region, so the use might be more similar to American country music's romance with the sweet ol' southern girl.

My gutter-bound mind can conjure the implication that the 辣妹 has the same effect on men as the peppers she so voraciously consumes, but this song was written for all-ages consumption, so that's probably just my take.

This song is from at least a decade ago, so the language might have changed. I also listened to this song on audio cassette and never understood it line-by-line; those who know the song / language better are welcome to correct.
posted by batter_my_heart at 10:10 PM on September 25, 2014


The German word is "scharf" (sharp).
posted by kinddieserzeit at 10:52 PM on September 25, 2014


In Dutch, 'heet' (hot) can certainly be used to mean spicy.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:36 PM on September 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Greek does, sort of - hot in the heat sense is "καυτό", hot in the spicy sense is "καυτερό" (or "πικάντικο"). Interestingly, the two are definitely not interchangeable, but the verb is the same for both - καίει, it is hot/ it burns.

(BTW I find the use of "spicy" for hot in English somewhat baffling - how do you describe food with a lot of non-hot spices?)
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:38 PM on September 25, 2014


how do you describe food with a lot of non-hot spices

Heavily spiced?
posted by librarina at 11:59 PM on September 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


So you can have food that is heavily spiced but not at all spicy!
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:54 AM on September 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


The German word scharf means hot as in spicy but not hot in any other sense e.g. weather or sex appeal
posted by EatMyHat at 1:44 AM on September 26, 2014


In Russian, острый (OStriy) is for foods with capsacin and things, and горячий (gorYAchiy) is for things with a high temperature.

Острый (OStriy) also means sharp as in knives. I looked up the etymology, and saw a claim that it was related to Latin acer.

Горячий (gorYAchiy) is related to the verb that means "burn". Similar to what Dr Dracator notes, you could use the verb to describe your mouth after eating chilli peppers ("It's burning in my mouth!") but you wouldn't use the adjective to describe the peppers.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 2:18 AM on September 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


how do you describe food with a lot of non-hot spices

In German, there's "würzig" (spicy), which isn't neccessarily "scharf" (sharp).
posted by MinusCelsius at 3:23 AM on September 26, 2014


In Estonian, "terav", meaning sharp. "Tuline", meaning hot or literally "fiery" can also be used, but it's not used that much.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 3:34 AM on September 26, 2014


Actually, the German "scharf" does mean "hot" as in "sex appeal".
"Scharfe Braut" ="hot chick".

It never refers to temperature, though.
posted by Omnomnom at 4:45 AM on September 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


In French, épicé is a general term for spicy and there's no strict equivalent for hot except piquant (sharp) in some cases (sauce piquante) or pimenté (peppered). Otherwise people will just say très épicé (very spicy) if it's really hot.
posted by elgilito at 5:03 AM on September 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


In Hindi, गरम/garam means both spicy (as in chilli) and physically hot. A related word, गरमी/garami, means summer.
posted by embrangled at 5:50 AM on September 26, 2014


For whatever it's worth, my Russian family uses жгучий and пекучий to refer to spicy foods. Both words have roots related to hot temperature. If I'm not mistaken, жгучий means something like "burning" and пекучий means something like "baking". Someone who is a native Russian speaker might be able corroborate (or correct). Wrinkled Stumpskin is correct that you would not use горячий ("hot") to describe a spicy food. It would not be idiomatic. Incidentally, my family doesn't use острый to refer to spicy foods but rather to foods that are piquant or pleasantly sour / pungent (like good pickles).
posted by alex1965 at 7:05 AM on September 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


Japanese uses 辛い ("karai") to describe piquant flavors. As an aside, 辛い can also be read as "tsurai", meaning "painful" or "bitter (figuratively)".

The term used to describe the hot temperature of food or other objects is 熱い ("atsui"). When "atsui" is written as 暑い, it describes a hot climate or atmosphere such as a room's temperature or weather.
posted by Tanizaki at 7:06 AM on September 26, 2014


Picante
posted by soelo at 7:26 AM on September 26, 2014


Indonesian and Malay have the word pedas. It means 'hot' as in spicy, not temperature. It's not a metaphor. The word itself can be used metaphorically to describe sharp, scathing or acerbic commentary or criticism (at least in Indonesian).
posted by nangar at 8:12 AM on September 26, 2014


I find the use of "spicy" for hot in English somewhat baffling

Yes, I think this confusion muddies this question considerably. I think that in English we should be using "peppery" for 'spicy-hot' (as opposed to 'temperature-hot'). Like in my case - I love heavily-spiced food but please, leave out the pepper!
posted by Rash at 9:15 AM on September 26, 2014


Yes, I think this confusion muddies this question considerably. I think that in English we should be using "peppery" for 'spicy-hot' (as opposed to 'temperature-hot'). Like in my case - I love heavily-spiced food but please, leave out the pepper!

We have a word, sort of. In food science, the term pungency is technically used to refer to what's generally called spiciness, since spicy is a vague term. Unfortunately, in common non-food science use, 'pungent' is a just-as-vague term meaning all sorts of things other than spicy-hot, which leaves us exactly where we started.
posted by Itaxpica at 10:29 AM on September 26, 2014


Oh you meant temperature-hot = capsaicin-hot, not sexually attractive-hot=capsaicin-hot. I take back my Mandarin suggestion.

re: 'heavily spiced' -- I can put spices in any variety of things, but as long as I lay off the cayenne pepper, my tongue doesn't burn. An example is apple / pumpkin pie filling.
posted by batter_my_heart at 10:58 AM on September 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Interesting that embrangled posted the Hindi above. I didn't know we could do that!
In Bengali,
* "ঝাল" (Jhaal) is spicy hot - lots of chili peppers;
* "গরম" (Garam, like the Hindi word above) means hot, steaming, high temperature;
* "মসলা" (Mashla, which travels in its related Hindi form, Masala) means spice and its variants mean spicy, as in rich, very flavorful, sometimes with chili peppers but usually without.

Oddly, "garam masala" (literally, "warm spice") is not usually spicy-hot at all, since it's a blend of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and other spices - sometimes black pepper, but not usually.
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:44 PM on September 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


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