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  • IPA(key): /ˈt͡ʃamba/, [ˈt͡ʃãmba]
  • (file)

Etymology 1[edit]

From Old Portuguese, perhaps related to chiripa.


chamba f (plural chambas)

  1. (Spain) fluke
  2. (Spain) ditch, trench
  3. (Spain) deep scar (by comparison with a ditch).

Etymology 2[edit]

According to the DRAE (23rd ed.), the same etymology as the previous entry, from the meaning 'fluke, lucky event', from an Old Portuguese word.

A folk etymology exists that it is a Latin American rendering of English chamber, as Latin American temporary workers in the US requested work from the American Chamber of Commerce.


chamba f (plural chambas)

  1. (familiar, Mexico, Central America, Peru, Colombia) job, work, employment; task.
    • 1974, José Agustín, De perfil 17:
      Me transó, pensé, tendré que conseguir chamba; linda forma tiene Humberto para pescarme.
      (In the context of a story in Mexico) "He swindled me", I thought, "I'll have to get a job. Humberto has a great way to catch me red-handed."
    • 1975, Revista Ariel, Issues 274-292 :
      También se puede buscar una “secretaria” en las oficinas de empleos, en donde la futura esclava que demanda un puesto comienza a ser explotada pagando avisos para conseguir “chamba”. Los mejores sueldos para estas mujeres alcanzan la astronómica suma de 70 lempiras.
      (In the context of women's work in Honduras) One can also find a "secretary" at job agencies, in which the future slave looking for a position starts being exploited by paying for personal advertisements to get a job. The best wages for these women reach the astronomic [sarcastic] figure of 70 lempiras.
    Synonyms: faena, quehacer, tarea, trabajo

Derived terms[edit]