Tico and Tica: two terms with a lot of meaning
Costa Rica / 28 February 20242 minutes

Pura Vida is practically synonymous with Costa Rica, but another word very close to the Costa Rican identity is how its inhabitants are called and also call themselves: Ticos and Ticas.

The origin arises from the ancient custom of adding the diminutive “tico” or “tica” to adjectives. For example, instead of “chiquito” (small), “chiquitico”.

This happened during the Central American War against William Walker's filibusters or invaders (1856-1857), when combatants from Costa Rica's allied countries noticed that Costa Rican soldiers had the peculiarity of using the diminutive.

At that time, Costa Ricans referred to their compatriots as hermaniticos, which was an affectionate form of little brothers. And, in this case, for a noun too.

Hence, this diminutive is also used in Costa Rican speech as a way of giving emotional value, also in a country that has been described many times as the happiest in the world.

The nickname Tico and Tica became widespread and even gave rise to the term Tiquicia, with which Costa Ricans colloquially designate their country.

So, it is no coincidence that Tico and Tica are the way to call and recognize the inhabitants of the country, both individually and for the country as a whole.

For example, for the Olympics G ames, the Costa Rica National Team is called the Tico National Team.

Likewise, the term is used to refer to its traditional food, its culture and any manifestation, activity or term that refers to the country.

And that, also, reflects a lot of what it means to be a small population in a small country as well, where it was common for everyone to know each other.

Even nowadays, someone always somehow knows someone or has heard of someone.

That way of speaking in diminutive is no longer used, but “Tico” and “Tica” remained as a nice way of calling Costa Ricans and in association, of course, with the unforgettable “Pura Vida”.

Learn more about the Ticos and Ticas and their friendly and unique way of being while learning Spanish Online or Onsite with Tico Professors at CPI Spanish Immersion School and its three campuses in Heredia, Monteverde and Flamingo. More information at: www.cpi-edu.com

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