What is Chambear?
Chambear is a verb used colloquially in Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras as a synonym for working.
Chambear was accepted by the Royal Spanish Academy in 2014 and indicates that the word derives from the old Portuguese chamba, which means both leg and rude.
In this sense, chambas were designated to the peasants, who were generally those who worked in small jobs.
Related to the verb chambear, the word chamba is commonly used in Mexico, some countries in Central America, Ecuador and Peru and refers to paid work.
In Mexico, it is popularly claimed that chamba was introduced by Mexican migrants from English chambers , in relation to the Chambers of commerce , where many exercised mandatory “chamba”.
Synonyms of chamba in its colloquial form we have “laburo” in Argentina, “cahuelo” in Peru and “Paste” in Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile.
Chambear in reggaetón
In Puerto Rico, the verb chambear is used to indicate the action of preparing for physical or verbal combat.
This concept of chambear has become known due to the Puerto Rican musicians of the reggaetón style use the expression “chambear y jalar” as a metaphor that refers to the solitary llaneros who are in mourning: they load their pistol (chambea) and then shoot ( pull).
In reference to verbal confrontations, chambing would indicate the action of loading the words into the head and pulling would be the shot of them through the mouth.