Latino culture

A to Z Challenge Day 4: D is for Dale

Today’s is day four of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. The letter is D, and the word today is Dale.

Not Day-el, as in Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.

Dale is pronounced Dah-ley in Spanish. It’s from the verb ‘dar,’ which means ‘to give.’

Since we rarely spoke in full Spanish sentences (for reasons I pointed out in day 1) we did use a lot of Spanish slang and phrases.

The phrase I often heard from my aunts and uncles was “Dale gas.” Literally, it means “Give it gas,” but can be used in a sentence which means,”Step on it!”

¡Dale gas, hombre, que no llegamos! Can’t you drive faster? Come on, step on it or we’ll be late!


Dale gas

The word ‘dale’ can mean “say,” as in Dale un saludo a tu madre. Say hello to your mother.

Most often Dale is used as an encouragement. You can hear the word shouted by bilingual parents at a child’s soccer, baseball, or other sports game:

photo by Ben Hershey for


Go ahead!

Do it!

Go for it!

Give it to them!

We use a lot of exclamation points when we talk.

Seems easy enough, but never confuse “Dale” as a single word when telling a friend to say hello to their mother:

Dale a tu madre, because that my English speaking friends, is a very profane statement!