Updated on June 14, 2008
Many places have phrases used to define how differently local time works. In Hawaii you have island time, in my family you have Tim time, and in Uruguay you have mañana. Most Spanish to English dictionary’s will define this word as tomorrow. Taking mañana in Uruguay to mean literally tomorrow will cause you considerable frustration.
To an Uruguayan mañana most often simply means not today. It could mean tomorrow or the next day. It could even be referring to a month or many months from now. The truth is that the word mañana avoids confrontation. It allows an individual to avoid setting a solid date and it avoids them having to admit that they don’t know.
I don’t think the use of mañana in this way is meant to be deceiving. From what I have witness Uruguayans dislike saying that they “don’t know.” When asking for directions you may get several completely different sets to the same place. I really don’t believe that it is meant to be mischievous. It seems more that Uruguayans don’t want to let you down to your face.
So if your ever in Uruguay and your told “mañana” the best thing to do is to take it with a grain of salt.