If you spend any significant amount of time in Mexico City – or even just a single day, for that matter – you’ll almost certainly hear the phrase “ahorita” being uttered. It doesn’t exist in most Spanish-language dictionaries, so what does it mean exactly?
A Brief Spanish Lesson
Roughly translated, ahorita means “in just a moment from now.” The root word, ahora, means “now.” The “-ita” suffix is a diminutive, which “lessens” the meaning. Mexican Spanish is filled with these diminutivo nouns, adverbs, and adjectives. For example, beso is a noun meaning, “the kiss” or “a kiss,” depending on the article preceding it. Besito is a diminutive noun meaning, “the small kiss” or “a small kiss.” Similarly, momento means “moment,” as in Un momento, por favor, which means “One moment, please.” Mexicans prefer to say “Un momentito, por favor,” which means “One small moment, please.”
The augmentative – opposite – of diminutives are also common in Spanish, usually in an “-ote” (masculine) or “-ota” (feminine) form. If beso is “kiss” and besito is “small kiss,” then besote is “big kiss.”