Why is Boca’s fan called “xeneize”?
The analysis of “xeneize” makes me want to tell you that one of the things I liked most about the faculty was to study classical languages (Latin and Greek, in Creole), not so much because it helps to understand how Spanish “works” but because it allows to get to the origin of the words we use every day. An etymological dictionary for me is like an amusement park: I can read it in order, surprising me almost lexema by lexema. But if there is something I like even more than this frikeada is to know the origin of the nicknames of clubs (or fans) of football.
Some are quite clear: (“millionaires”, “ “yawn”) but there are others that are a little less intuitive. Within this last group, one of those who always caught my attention is the “xeneizes” group. Where does that weird word come from that which doesn’t exist in any dictionary and which starts with x (a letter so strange to us)?
Xeneize: a phonetic translation
In its original sense, xeneize means “Genoese”. But do not look for Italian dictionaries, it comes from the dialect typical of Liguria (region where Genoa is, one of the main ports of Europe). And why with x? Because, also in Genoese dialect, the region is known as “Zena” or “Xena”. I mean, xeneize means “born in Xena”.
Now, what does this have to do with Boca? Very simple: the founders of the club were Genoese. In fact, at the beginning of the century, practically the entire neighborhood of La Boca was composed of Italians, largely Genoese . Then, when referring to the “fans” of the new club, the compatriots themselves said it was the project of the neighbors “xeneizes”. From there, we continue to use it to this day, and not only referring to the bloated but to everything that surrounds the Boca universe: “xeneize stadium”, “xeneize player”, to “xeneize credit card”. Much better than “yawn”, isn’t it?
Hipólito Azema nació en Buenos Aires, en los comienzos de la década del 80. No se sabe desde cuándo, porque esas cosas son difíciles de determinar, le gusta contar historias, pero más le gusta que se las cuenten: quizás por eso transitó los inefables pasillos de la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras de la Universidad de Buenos Aires. Una vez escuchó que donde existe una necesidad nace un derecho y se lo creyó.
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