The section of TikTok marked by its fascination with magic and witchcraft may be niche, but it’s not small, and now invocations of ‘agua de calzón’ are arriving thick and fast to Twitter. What is the meaning of the phrase?

USA Today reported on the content creators “bringing magic to TikTok” in October 2021. Months later, Insider wrote WitchTok videos had amassed 25 billion views on the platform.

Now the phrase ‘agua de calzón’ seems to be cropping up more than ever on Twitter, causing some non-Spanish speakers to question its meaning.

And, probably, some Spanish speakers to question its magical meaning.

Mystic witch with raven for sorcery and occultism
Serious female mysterious fortune teller in turban sitting in armchair with black raven among potted plants

What is the meaning of the phrase ‘agua de calzón’?

The Spanish word “agua” translates to “water”. Many readers will already be familiar with the word, which is very similar to the Italian word “acqua”, meaning the same.

“Calzón”, meanwhile, translates directly to “breeches”, according to Google Translate. Alternative translations include “pants”, “shorts”, “underpants” and “knickers”.

So the meaning of the whole phrase “agua de calzón” is something approximating “water of underpants”, or “water of breeches”. Others have translated it to “panty water”, but you get the picture.

So that’s the literal translation of the phrase, but is there a deeper meaning to invocations of ‘agua de calzón’?

His and hers pants on the washing line
His and hers pants on the washing line

Does it have a deeper meaning?

Yes. At least, for those who believe it does.

A preparation of ‘agua de calzón’ is supposedly a type of love potion. It casts a spell on whoever drinks it.

The preparation consists of boiling used underwear in water. Whoever drinks the potion – so goes the idea – will fall in love with the person whose underwear was boiled in the ‘agua’. There are numerous TikTok videos featuring preparations of the so-called potion.

Shrine Of Eros writes that drinking it will restrict the drinker’s “freedom and free will”. It adds ‘agua de calzón’ is classified as an ‘amarre’ – as  opposed to a ‘ritual’ or ‘hechizo’.

What’s the difference between ‘rituales’, ‘hechizos’ and ‘amarres’? Meanings explored

“Amarre” literally translates to “mooring”, which might be confusing in this context. 

Post of wood with a tied rope and knots, to the shore of a lake with reflections of colors of the leaves of the trees in autumn. Spain
Anna lake shore in Valencia, Spain.

However, one member of the Pro Z language forum explains the idea of an enchantment is it “has an effect akin to putting a rope around someone, like a tether”. … A more cogent description, therefore, could be “tethering spells”.

An ‘amarre’ is, in the Spanish language, a mooring post for a boat. It stops the boat floating away – it tethers it. Hopefully this provides the metaphor with some logical underpinning.

“Ritual”, meanwhile, translates to “ritual”, while a “hechizo” is a spell or charm. 

The phrase ‘agua de calzón’ has really entered the public consciousness in recent weeks

As of April 2022, the hashtag #WitchTok had been viewed 25 billion times on TikTok. Videos within the genre claim to teach spells, hexes and enchantments to their viewers.

ITV reported around the same time that a “social media revolution” had “accelerated people’s interest in all things spiritual”. Especially, it adds, in Cornwall, England.

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And in the past month alone, numerous Twitter users have invoked people’s deployment of ‘agua de calzón’ to explain, among other things, celebrity pregnancies.

However, warnings are also circulating alongside explanations of what the supposed “tethering spell” is.

“No matter how much the ‘calzón’ is boiled,” writes Daphne la Hechicera, “the bacteria, residues and other things that can remain on them [underwear?] after being used still pose a health risk.” She therefore does not recommend or endorse the “spell”.