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La maja desnuda

Majo (masc.) or Maja (fem.) were terms for people from the lower classes of Spanish society, especially in Madrid, who distinguished themselves by their elaborate outfits and sense of style in dress and manners; the English term dandy carries a similar, but not identical meaning. They flourished from the late 18th to early 19th century, and to some extent later. Majos of both sexes were a favourite subject of the painter Francisco Goya.

The majos outfits were exaggerations of traditional Spanish dress. The style stood in strong contrast to the French styles affected by many of the Spanish elite under the influence of the Enlightenment. Majos were known to pick fights with those they saw as afrancesados ("Frenchified").

The term later became a more general word meaning "pretty" or "nice looking" (synonymous with bonito). This meaning survives in modern Spanish.

A more recent twist in the meaning turns majo into a simple synonym of simp√°tico, i.e., it is an adjective referring to anyone who is "nice" or has a pleasant personality. This is the most common use these days, although some Spaniards occasionally complain that it is not the true meaning.

In Spanish, the word possesses derived forms such as the diminutive majete and the superlative majísimo.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Majo" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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