A lo Mejor
Definition of A lo Mejor
It is a colloquial adverbial phrase of doubt that expresses the expected possibility of a certain action occurring, and usually used in relation to a probable positive event. However, depending on the grammatical construction, it can also be used for a negative probability.
SYNONYMS FOR A lo Mejor
- It’s possible
- It’s probable
- God willing
ORIGIN OF A lo Mejor
The origin of this expression is not clear, and one of the oldest references known appears in the 16th-century book El Conde Lucanor. However, many scholars doubt the veracity of this expression because the original manuscript underwent repeated corrections regarding the many idioms of the time, and “a lo mejor” may have been included by modern correctors.
What is confirmed is that its frequent use appeared fully documented in several manuscripts and novels of the 18th century as a purely colloquial expression, generally in a hopeful way, for example, “a lo mejor lo encontramos sano y salvo” (maybe we’ll find him safe and sound), “a lo mejor está vivo” (maybe he’s alive), etc.
CURIOSITIES OF A lo Mejor
Although “a lo mejor” is an expression whose meaning expresses a probability, there are scholars who argue that it should be differentiated from synonyms such as “tal vez” and “quizás.”
Academic Francisco Matte-Bon points out that the expression “a lo mejor” denotes a hypothesis expressed by the speaker, usually optimistic, while other expressions such as “tal vez” or “quizás” are not part of a hypothesis but present new information exclusively for the listener because the speaker has already evaluated it before pronouncing it.
In addition, “a lo mejor” is a perfectly valid expression to apply with a pessimistic hypothesis, as long as the grammatical conjugation is correct, for example, “a lo mejor no llegará a tiempo” (maybe he won’t arrive on time).