New word: Playa?

At first I though it was a joke, or maybe a typo. But it keeps popping up, and from the context usually in reference to a person’s attitude, actions or intentions.

I’ve only seen it in print. As far as I know, I’ve never heard anybody say it except when speaking spanish (it means “beach”). The last instance I think I saw was something like “she was acting like a real playa” (acting like a person who goes to the beach a lot?)

Maybe it’s Gen-X slang, but if that was the case I’d think that I would have heard it long before I started seeing it in print.


“She’s acting like a real bitch (beach).”

Never seen it used before, but that would be my guess.

Oh my brotha, my brotha.

Playa is what white people pronounce as Player. Someone who is smooth with the ladies, and sleeps around. I can be used for women as well, but of course being smooth with men.

Lazy English. Just like ‘Nigga’ for ‘Nigger’. I know what it means, and I know what you’re saying, and it’s still offensive.

It’s a male slut, usually. I’ve never heard it used about a girl, but if a guy can be a bitch… It’s more hip-hop slang than gen-x, since more teens than 20 or 30somethings use it, and it’s mostly used (so far as I’ve seen it) in hip-hop music and a few shows/movies. It can be playa or player, it means the same thing.

Then I guess I have heard it being spoken, I just didn’t make the connection with the written word. I guess I expected the word “playa” to be pronouned pligh-yah (same vowel sound as spanish “playa”, but without the accent). Now that I see the responses, I’m sure I’ve heard people say “play-uh”, meaning possesed of sexually lax morals.

You guys have all got it wrong. Sure, it’s Spanish for ‘beach’, but used in English it means a dry lake bed. “A nearly level area at the bottom of a desert basin, sometimes covered with water.”

Jomo, ex-geologist.

Woah dude, your cruel. Callin’ a man or woman “A nearly level area at the bottom of a desert basin, sometimes covered with water.” I’m gonna have get serious wit’ you. :slight_smile:

English has its vowels all messed up since the great vowel shift which took place in 1972.

Ok, you English speakers, listen to me now. The value of vowels is totally messed up in English so when you are reading a foreign word the first thing to assume is that the value of the vowels is not the English one but the original romance one.

A is not ‘ey’ but ‘ah’. Playa in Spanish is PLAH-yah, (like Plaza) not play-yah. ONLY in English does the letter a have that pronunciation.

E is eh, not ee

I is ‘ee’ as in pimento = pee-men-to. The “eye” pronunciation is only in English

o is short o

u is also short oo

The English pronunciations are not valid in any other language. If you know the Latin values you can read pretty much any language except English.

Regarding the OP, I believe the word is totally unrelated to the Spanish Playa and is just a pronunciation of “player”

Not lazy English, just a dialectal difference in pronunciation.

It’s more than just someone who sleeps around. It’s a person(usually male) who’s very smooth and good at getting what he wants from people(usually female).

More broadly, he’s a player in the social game. Someone always looking for fun and companionship. Hence phrases like “playa-hata” and “Hate the game, not the playa”.

Then why not SPELL it P-L-A-Y-E-R? If it’s a matter of pronunciation, then the spelling shouldn’t vary.

It should be spelled “player.” Ever read Mark Twain and notice the way he spelled words to imitate the sounds of certain dialects? Same thing. Gives the written word a bitta color, ya know?