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Agotar, agotado: “To use up, used up"


Sí, pero mi poeta interno está completamente agotado.

Yes, but my internal poet is completely exhausted.

Caption 34, Romeo y Julieta - Episodio 59

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Romeo's school chum Dante has an acute problem with his inner poet. Listen to what he says: Sí, pero mi poeta interno está completamente agotado. “Yes, but my inner poet is all used up.” If you check the English subtitle, it says “exhausted,” which means the same thing, although it is a bit more literary.

Agotado ("used up," "tired out," "exhausted," or even “out of print,” when referring to a book) is the past participle of the verb agotar, which you may recall we discussed when Belinda "ran out of" hope in her song "Bella Traición." Agotar, literally, means “to extract all the liquid contained in a recipient,” or, in other words, "to squeeze to the very last drop."

The root of agotar is the noun gota, which means “drop,” as in una gota de agua (a drop of water). Perhaps you remember our friend David, a.k.a. Doctor Guacuco, when he prepared fresh clams for us?


Le echamos una gota de limón. Una gota de picante...

We add a drop of lemon. A drop of hot sauce...

Captions 11-12, Doctor Guacuco - Uno

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Agotar, the verb, when not discussing things like lemons and limes, is commonly employed in a figurative way, like when a mother scolds her child:

No me agotes la paciencia.
Don’t try my patience. [Don't make my patience run out.]

Or when something is no longer available:

Se agotaron las existencias de Tamiflu.
The supplies of Tamiflu ran out.

Los boletos para el concierto de Luis Miguel se agotaron en menos de una hora.
The tickets to the Luis Miguel concert sold out in less than an hour.

Ese libro está agotado.
That book is out of print.

Or when there are no more ideas:

Hemos agotado todas las posibilidades.
We have exhausted all the possibilities.

Or even when a person has run out of energy:

¡Estoy agotado!
“I’m exhausted!” in the sense of “I’m bushed” or “I’m tired out.”


So Dante's inner poet is exhausted, it's all used up: se agotó. Too bad. The good thing is that what can be emptied can always be refilled. For that, he needs only inspiración, and from the looks of the young ladies that he surrounds himself with, that won’t be hard to get: No se le agotarán las oportunidades. (“His opportunities will never dry up.”)


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