Spanish word of the week: raro

raro ADJECTIVE strange; rare, unusual

Raro is another of those Spanish words which may be a bit misleading. Though it can also mean rare, it is very commonly used to mean strange:

Es un tipo algo raro. He’s a rather strange guy.
Tiene unas costumbres muy raras. She has some very strange habits.

If something strikes you as strange, you use the exclamation ¡Qué raro!:

No está aquí. – ¡Qué raro! It isn’t here. – How strange!

To emphasize that something that’s happened is really strange, you can use:

¡Qué cosa más rara! How very strange!

In its meaning of rare, it can apply to rare animals:

una especie rara y amenazada a rare and threatened species

And it can also mean unusual:

algunos ejemplares de rara belleza some unusually beautiful examples

It’s also often used with words such as vez and ocasión to show how rarely something happens:

Rara vez sale con sus amigos She rarely goes out with her friends.

De hecho, salvo raras excepciones, nadie posee más de dos de sus obras. In fact, with a few rare exceptions, nobody owns more than two of his works.

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