Tag Archives: Guatemalan sayings


f. fontanelle; “Se le cayó las varillas” is an expression meaning a child’s fontanelle is sunken. In folk medicine, this situation can be caused by sitting a baby up when he is too young and is treated by holding him upside down and patting the soles of his feet or by pressing on his palate. Also treated by “palaguear” with “Miel de Chicoria” (Chicorium intybus) on the gauze.

tirar el caite

v. to die; lit. “to throw the sandal”;  “caite” is used commonly in Guatemala and El Salvador to mean “sandal”.


v. to cover; “Me tapa la respiración,” means “I can’t breathe.”

mal de mayo

m. lit. May sickness; diarrhea; the early spring rains may cause water sources to be contaminated, potentially leading to diarrhea.

ganas de comer

f. appetite; patients may understand this better than “apetito”.