Top Ten Mexican Slang

Top Ten Mexican Slang

The order of this list has absolutely no meaning other than the words and phrases I think are the most interesting, amusing, common, or unique. Please disagree with me, correct my spelling, or remind me of what I’ve left out.

WARNING: if you are a FRESA (stuck-up person) you might be offended by the use of some very vulgar language, but if you are a NACO (low-class, person with bad taste) you will overuse most of the words on this list.

10. You may have noticed NO HAY BRONCA is the name of my blog. It means “no problem.”

9. ¡A HUEVO! (vulgar) – Do you know what huevo means? It means egg, but HUEVOS are balls.

There are many ways to use the word. When my Spanish was still at a pretty basic level I had a student who said HUEVOS DIAS to me – not a very nice thing to say.

¡A HUEVO! means “of course!” – a very useful expression. Another variation is TENGO HUEVA, which means you are feeling lazy.

8. CHELA / CAGUAMA – CHELA means beer, and CAGUAMAS are the big returnable 40 ounce bottles, undoubtedly your best value on the street.

7. ¡ORALE! – It can be used for encouragement, like “go for it!” or “right on!” Or it can be use like “let’s do it!” or “let´s go!” Look out for its second cousin HIJOLE, which is like ¨wow¨ or “my goodness!”

6. ¿QUE ONDA? – Along with ¿QUE PASO?, ¿QUE TAL?, and the vulgar ¿QUE PEDO?, this is yet another way to say “what’s up?” ONDA literally means waves or, in this case, vibes.

zocalo vendors

5. PEDO (vulgar) – This word is as versatile as the tortilla, but, unlike the tortilla, very rarely appropriate. As a noun it usually means problem, or more literally, fart.

NO HAY PEDO is a substitute for NO HAY BRONCA, no problem. CUAL ES TU PINCHE PEDO means “what’s your fucking problem?”

As an adjective it means drunk. ESTOY BIEN PEDO, WEY. “I’m fucking drunk.” A drunken party or a binge is UNA PEDA.

You can make great phrases with it too, such as the aforementioned ¿QUE PEDO?

4. CHIDO means cool. If you don’t hear this word 100 times a day, you aren’t off the tourist track yet. On a similar note, PADRE (father) means good or cool while MADRE (mother) usually means bad. No, it doesn’t make sense.

3. ¡NO MANCHES! – The literal meaning is ridiculous, but this is used like “no way!” or “come on!” Look out for ¡NO MAMES!, the vulgar equivalent.

2. CHINGAR (vulgar) – Much like English’s beloved f-word, CHINGAR has a wide range of uses – from describing something positively – CHINGON – to negatively – CHINGADA.

Or, if there is a lot of something, traffic for example, you can say HAY UN CHINGO DE TRAFICO. It is also used to express the foulest, rudest, and most aggressive sentiments.

This is a truly Mexican word, and to learn the origins and deep thoughts behind it check out The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz. For more everyday uses, do a quick Google search.

1 WEY / GUEY – I don’t really know how to spell it. WEY isn’t as famous as ORALE or versatile as CHINGAR, and it may not even be as common as CHIDO. You might even spend a month here without hearing it. But, once in the proper circles you will hear WEY used as every other word, how teenage American girls use ”like.”

“¡Simon wey, mira wey, chupamos veinte caguamas wey, no mames wey, estabamos bien pedos wey!”

WEY means “dude,” and if you haven’t heard something like the above already, I truly hope that when you do you will recall this example and laugh.

SIMON in this case is a slang substitute for “si,” or yes.

HONORABLE MENTION(S): You can add “-on” or “-ona” to any body part to describe someone who has a prominent one. For example:

NARIZ – nose — NARIZON – guy with a big nose

CEJAS – eybrows — CEJON – guy with bushy eyebrows

FRENTE – foreheard – FRENTONA – girl with a big forehead

CULO – ass — CULONA – girl with a big ass, often complimentary (vulgar)

Also, you can do this with professions. “ero” or “era” makes a job title.

OBRA – work — OBRERO – worker

PALOMITA – popcorn — PALOMERO – popcorn seller

CULO – ass — CULERO – “ass seller,” but it is really used the way we use “asshole.”

Thanks, and for more slang check out Part 2 here.

And check out A Spanish Cheat Sheet for Travelers in Mexico.

Click the link for Frijolero, a song that has all this slang

Books I recommend for studying Spanish

The best book for learning Spanish

Hola, thanks for visiting my blog. Let me plug my budget guide to Cancun and surrounding areas. My Cancun and Mayan Riviera 5-Day Itinerary is for the independent traveler who likes the beach but also wants some culture. It’s only $4.99, and you’ll save that much the first time you follow my advice on a bus, restaurant or hotel.

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About TC

TC lives in Mexico and writes about travel, culture, music, food, and mountain biking on No Hay Bronca. http://nohaybronca.wordpress.com/

Posted on May 20, 2011, in LANGUAGE and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 82 Comments.

  1. Ha! This is great stuff. These are high frequency terms that are nearly unavoidable. You may think you’ll never hear them, but trust me, eventually you will. If you take your Mexican Spanish serious, you gotta know all of these.

    I will also add nalgona to this list, which is a synonym for culona. I actually hear nalgona more.

    I still remember when I first learned the word “frentona”, lol. And there’s bigotona, which is a woman with moustache.

    I love this post and I never get tired of learning Mexican slang. Keep up the good work!

  2. hahaha culona. i like that. you forgot “pinche!” haha i havent heard that used outside of Mexico. Whenever I use “chido” in Mexico or anywhere else in Latin America everyone always laughs. I think its the equvalent of describing something as “radical” in the states

  3. susangreeneye

    Haha! Mexican Spanish makes me laugh. I actually prefer the accent to most other accents (probably because I am accustomed to it) but their slang is so unique. You will probably hear very few conversations in Mexican Spanish without hearing “que onda” “orale” and “pinche” or “cabron” or “Chinga”. I have got to get down to Mexico!

  4. These are funny. They say “Que Ondas” here a lot in El Salvador, and some others my husband says like Que Pedo he may have learned in the U.S from his Mexican buddies. Culero is in every other phrase here. Here’s a funny one: Pelamela – which literally means “peel it off me” – like peeling a banana, which in human terms would be – er, you know. My husband uses it to say things that seem like “no way / get out of here / unbelievable.”

    • I haven`t been to Salvador yet, but I was just in Honduras and they use Que Pedo quite frequently there, while in Mexico it is extremely vulgar (though common in certain circles).

      Thanks a lot for leaving a comment!

      • The slang word “pedo” Is used more commonly then what you think. “Ando bien pedo” = I’m so drunk. “Cual es tu pinche pedo” = what’s your fucking problem. “No hay pedo” = No problem, or Its ok. “Se puso una peda!” He/She got shit face. I agree with La Flaca on her comment, Mexican slang is very vivid and colorful! but you have to know when you can use it and with whom. I used It since I was growing up in my native Mexico and believe me I still use It every day, if you’re Mexican you can’t help it!! La pura neta!

      • In case anyone’s interested, my e-book Quick Guide to Mexican Spanish, about Mexican vocabulary, is free at the moment on Amazon: http://amzn.to/10cgByA

        Please feel free to share the link with anyone, and if you are so inclined, a great Amazon review would also help.

        If you have any suggestions to improve the book, please feel free to email me.

  5. Hey good people who read my blog!!!
    Thanks to the coolness of wordpress I can see what you searched for that brought you here. I sometimes see combinations of these words that I didn´t fully explain. Write it in the comments and I´ll translate it for you.
    We strive to bring you full satisfaction here at No Hay Bronca!

  6. charles kleinenberg

    LOL ! That’s so cool ! and if you move from south to north you will find hundreds of little modifications to each slang… For example: A huevo! someone could say; A wiwi ! which actually means nothing… just being lazy on the words.

    Greetings from a mexican from Juarez City (La pinche ciudad mas vergas del norte ! A huevo!)

  7. “Orale” would, I believe, be closest to the American use of “Tell it!”. Orar being to orate, tell, or pray…at least as a more literal translation. And isn’t “wey” actually, “buey” literally, “ox” – sort of like “dude” inasmuch as it is a cowboy term for a man.

    • Hi David, where are you from? I’m originally from the midwest and I don’t think people say “tell it” there. Now that I’ve lived in Mexico a little longer, I think orale is like “right on” or wow.”
      Thanks for commenting.

    • Orale can translate differently depending on the context.

      It can mean OK…

      – Te llamo despues
      – Orale

      – Quieres ir al cine?
      – Orale, vamos.

      Disbelief:

      – Mi novia esta embarazada.
      – Orale wey! Neta ? [neta = en serio]

      – Estoy saliendo con Selma Hayak
      – Orale wey, no manches.

      There are probably other ways to use it as well, that’s just what comes to mind and probably other uses I just don’t know about.

      • Rodney you are the man. Thanks for the breakdown – and thanks to the people with the previous comments too. Orale is one of those expressions you won´t learn from a book or blog, you just have to hang out with Mexicans and hear them use it.

        Neta – isn´t la neta like chingon?

  8. I think the origin of “wey” is “buey” which is an ox. The original idea was similar to being a sheep, basically a dummy with no ideas of his/her own who would do as told. Then the spelling changed to “güey” (“guey” would be pronounced as “gey”) and finally in recent years to wey. It is the most common “dude”-like word in Mexico, at least central Mexico, where I grew up.

  9. You can say Eres la neta, meaning something like “you’re awesome!”. While it has the same meaning as chingon, it’s not vulgar.

    Esos tacos son la neta! (those tacos are awesome)

    In general neta = verdad, “really”, or “the truth”

    – Estoy embarazado.
    – Neta?

    – La neta que si (It’s really true)

    – Dime la neta

    There’s also netamente…

    La neta es una expresión muy coloquial y netamente mexicana

  10. Haha great list :D Now I will know what I hear as I travel through the streets of MX in a couple weeks!

  11. Hijole is a considered a more polite, shortened version of hijo de la chingade (literally son fo the fucked one) in truly high class circles both are frowned upon. A proximate English equivalent might be SON OF A GUN in place of SON OF A BITCH as an expression of disbelief, suprise, frustration etc.

  12. MADRE is the most insulting word with others (that I won’ mention) cuz mention mom and the fight is on…WHEY does more or less means DUDE..but stupid or dumb goes with it. Mostly used by the Northern people of Mexico..My come back is usselly “AQIE NO SE AN’DA LOS WHEY’S'”…

  13. Here I have two new ones for you: “esto vale madres” means “this is worthless” or “it`s no use”, and “ya valió madres” which means “it`s all screwed up”. I hope these expressions are useful. I´m an Spanish native speaker, I´m from Mexico, City but I´m also an English teacher and student and I´d like to know about american slang and idioms

    • Thanks a lot Alex. Any questions about American slang, post them here.
      For example, me vale madres could also translate as “I don’t give a fuck.” jajaja

  14. It’s hard for me to give you the full image or the full meaning and the equivalents in English, since I don’t know the slang in English to give you equivalents, but I sure know the use of most of our slang in Mexico, so let me try to help you with “Orale”:

    Agree: synonym of OK:
    – Call me later
    – Órale (yes, Ok)
    Synonym of “you’re on”:
    – I’ll bet you 100 dollars on today’s game
    – Órale (you’re on), or also “Órale, ya vas” (ok, you’re on). “Ya vas” is redundant in this case, but we use it that way.
    Amazement – Congratulations (positive):
    – I just received an offer for the job I’ve been looking for.
    – Órale! I knew you could make it! (Great!, or Good for you!)
    Disbelief (in an ironic way, as in “yes, sure”)
    – I’m dating Jennifer Lopez
    – Si, órale, (yes, sure… in an ironic way, meaning I don’t believe a single word).
    Hurry up, do it right now
    – A mother to her kids: Órale niños… apúrense, Come on kids, Hurry up. It could be just Órale!!!!, meaning hurry up in whatever it is that you have to do.
    Please… Come on
    – Papa, préstame el coche, órale. (Dad, let me use the car, come on)
    Used for something that stands out, in either a negative (ironic again) or positive way
    – Órale con el vestido de Diana: (something like “check Diane’s dress”), it could mean that it’s the best by far, or that it’s ridiculous)

    Well… that’s what I can think of right now. I hope it helps

  15. Haha, really great list!;)
    Also too much common is “pues”: “orale pues!”, “vamonos pues”, “corrale pues”, “pues vas a ir o que?”)) I hear it 1000 times per day)

  16. caguamas are 32 ounces not 40. I believe a 40 ounce is called a caguamon. Some other drinking related slag is pisto = booze/hard liquor and crudo = hungover.

  17. I do think it should be mentioned that “wey” IS used casually like “dude” among friends.. but it also means someone who is being cuckolded … so, if you don’t know someone well you should be careful saying it. I’ve definitely seen people take offense when some strange gringo uses it with them.

  18. AMexusInTheNexusOfTexus

    Re: buey, guey
    “Buey” is an ox in English i.e. a castrated bull. Slang spelling “guey”.

    1. “Tu senora te esta haciendo buey”.
    “You wife is being unfaithful”. “You wife is fooling you.”
    The word can also mean that you’re being cheated.
    “Pagaste $100? Te hicieron guey!”
    “You paid $100? They fooled you!”
    2. “Guey” can also mean stupid.
    “- Voy a nadar hasta china.
    – No seas guey, te ahogas.”
    “- I’m going to swim to China
    – Don’t be stupid, you’ll drown”
    3. Of course, can also mean “dude/guy”
    “Que paso guey?”
    “What’s going on dude?”
    “Quien es ese guey?”
    “Who’s that guy?”

    “Pendejo” can be used instead of “buey/guey” for 1 & 2

  19. Ted, I just saw the message you left on my blog. I’d love to have you write something, send me an email wey…rodney.prince@gmail.com

  20. I lived in Guadalajara with a Mexican family for 2 months while I was taking interim classes there. We met a couple of boys who were the family’s friends. They took us places and got us “cultured” so to speak. We learned right away (being 2 spunky college girls with blonde hair and preppy clothes) that we would need to be cool and casual around locals or we would be devoured. I was instructed to say, “iNo mames!” everytime I heard an aggressive “ch ch mamasita!” and when we walked into a nightclub and got rubber necked glares to say “!Hola, que pedo!” It worked. Though my mother wouldn’t have been so proud. The first time I tried it was when a guest at a party in our honor, no less, approached me and said, “Necesito tu fuego,” to which I snapped back, “No mames,” and he looked mortified. I thought, wow that was powerful! then he said, “No, No, encendedor, necisito tu encendedor!!! por favor?” I’m such an ass at this point. Then another guy really was being aggressive so I said, ‘No mames!” and he said, in tortured english, “Or what?” I didn’t have amo for that one, so I did the dorkiest thing, I said, “or I’ll crema tus cacahuates!” But it worked. He laughed and let me walk away. I said that Just cuz I had peanutbutter on my toast that morning and I made a comment about the funny word for it. This was in 1985 by the way, and thank you for bringing back memories… iQue buena onda!

  21. Carnal la neta te faltan varias, pero no hay bronca, como yo soy bien buen pedo te voy a rolar algunas:

    – Carnal: brother Used between friends or actual brothers.
    – ser buen pedo, ser buena onda: to be a nice person. Ex. ese wey es buena onda, ese wey es buen pedo.
    – vato: used in the north of México mostly offensive. Means dude.
    – mijo: comes from “mi hijo” used by moms and also by older people to refer to younger ones like “son”
    – puto, puñal, joto, maricón, marica: faggot
    – chale: shit Ex. Chale me quedé sin varo
    – varo, feria, lana: money
    – verga: it means penis in a very vulgar way, but can also be used like “chingón” Ex. soy el más vergas. Can also be used in a negative way Ex Te ves de la verga (You look like shit)
    Another use of this word is to say “I don´t give a fuck” Ex. Me vale 3 kilos de verga (I don´t give 3 kg of fucks) and like “vete a la verga” go to hell)

    Note: You can use the extremely vulgar phrases and words in your circle of friends and it won’t be inappropriate.

    There is a large variety of slang here in México and it changes depending on the location, we also have slang of ethnical origins. As you can see México is a beautiful and culturally extended country.

    Ay nos vidrios wey, te la lavas. Saludos.

    • Excelente! Gracias carnal.

    • AMexusInTheNexusOfTexus

      “Riata” may be used in place of “verga”
      Can also be used for “fistfight”
      “Se ponieron bien pedo, y luego se agarraron a riatazos.”
      “Se ponieron bien pedo, y luego se agarraron a vergazos.”
      or
      “Se ponieron bien pedo, y luego se agarraron a chingazos.”
      “They got wasted, then got into a fight”
      “Si no dejas de estar chingando, te voy a meter unos riatazos.”
      “If you don’t leave me alone, I’ll kick your ass.”
      Note: “lariat” is an loan word from “la riata”

  22. Excellent post Luis. Also: Me vale 3 kilos de verga = Me vale 3 kilos de riata

    Question….Chale = shit? Are you sure? I’ve never read that or had anyone tell me it was that strong.

  23. Reblogged this on Word Wabbit and commented:
    Great post and great site!

  24. Love this look forward to following blog
    Alex

  25. Just so you know a CULERO is also a onsie.. those things you put on a baby with the snaps at the bottom! :-)

  26. Wow, yours are the best description ive ever read. Most of those words and expressions are so absolutely engraved in our mexican psyche and are so commonly and visceraly used, that its difficult for us to give an objective explanation of them.

  27. Sta muy bien pero estos son palabras en general. En Villahermosa y e otras partes son muy differente.
    Pero, stoy celosa d tu trabaja jeje

  28. I first went to Mexico just when I was learning Spanish so wasn’t able to enjoy the slang or even identify Mexican Spanish compared to Spanish from other countries.

    Now, I’d have a great time exploring the local Spanish, and I’d love to learn more about the regional vocabulary and accents within Mexico.

    Fun article Ted, thanks,

    Jared

  29. chale can have several meanings : shit, reaffirming something in favor of it. it depends on the tone and feeling transmitted.
    chale m

  30. güey is the proper spelling but it doesn’t really matter people understand you, it’s kinda like the way we say dude or man in the US. Also Cabrón, is one of those words where it may be vulgar to say it to someone you don’t know but if you hang out with Mexicans you’ll hear it pretty frequently in similar situations as güey, and I’m with these guys on pinche, thats a pretty common one too

  31. What does this phrase mean?
    Una fria bien fria… A chiflar su flauta las flemas

    • Fría, frío= cold
      Una cerveza = a cold
      Una fría bien fría = a beer very cold
      Also people say, ” una cerveza bien muerta” = a beer very dead, since dead people are cold, “pásame una bien muerta” “quieres una cerveza? Si pero que este bien muerta”.
      “A chiflar su flauta” comes from: “a chingar su madre” which means fuck you! , screw you I’m off!
      I think “las flemas” it’s just to put some folklore to the sentence, which makes me think, he just want to take off and have some drinks! ;-)

    • Hahaha, Una bien fría means one very cold, they’re talking about beers of course, you can use, vamos a hecharnos unas frías _Let’s go have some cold ones.
      A chiflar a su flauta las flemas(To blow their flutes the phlegms), means in spanish A chingar a su madre las flemas (To hell with the phlegms

  32. how about, me vale also can be used with me vale medre, me vale ve*ga me vale means i dont care or i can care less its a typical one too bro

  33. I think it was Salman Rushdie who said you really know a society by its untranslatable words (or something cool like that.) This blog is awesome. I love languages in general, but the past couple of years my love for Mexican Spanish has grown into a passion and it’s the slang, man. There’s nothing quite as vivid and colorful.

    What does “ya ni chingas ” mean? Is it like “no way, you’re shitting me? “

  34. Nice work describing our mexican slang words…very accurate too.

    I will put your blog on a craiglist page which has a section for blogs (http://www.ahuevoloencuentro.com)…by the way this craiglist site also has a slogan based on a slang word “ahuevo” which also means cheap..for example “las cosas valen a huevo”. that’s because time ago in mexico the eggs were very cheap, not today.

  35. Being Mexican, I can tell you that our slang is very unique and everybody uses It! doesn’t matter the social class you belong to. “No mames”, “Me parti la madre”, “No hay pedo”, “Me la pelas”, “A toda madre”, “A huevo”, “Como chingas” , “Ve y chinga tu madre”, “Son chingaderas”, “Como eres culero”, this are just a few samples believe me there are so many more. This is Mexican slang better known as “calo”. Words like madre,pedo,chinga,culo,mamar,huevo are used in many forms of expressions in Mexican slang.

  36. It’s really nice to find a blog like this. The expressions are explained well, including all those variations that Mexican use on daily speech.

    About the word “Güey” if we write it without the dots it sounds like the word “gay” in English, It’s true that a lot of people usually don’t know how to spell correctly this word and that’s why some people prefer the use of W instead of Gü wich has the same sound.
    Güey or Wey both are correct.

  37. So glad I found this! I’m writing something that has two Mexican Angeleno teenagers in it, so this will be VERY helpful. :-)

  38. What about the words “Homes” (sounds likes Holmes) and “Ese”? Are those words just used by Chicanos in Southern California?

    • They are not used where I live in central Mexico. I know “ese” from Cypress Hill. Don’t you know I’m loco?

      • Homes is more of a cholo or chicano slang.
        Another one that is used is morro or morra, which means child, boy/girl
        Ruca/ruco, usually used when you talk about an older male/female
        Jefe/jefa which means boss, but also used when referring to your father/mother
        “Como estas jefa?”
        Another slang: Te la voy a partir which would translate to I’m going to break it for you, actually saying ” I’m going to beat you up”

      • Good ones, thanks!

      • “Te la voy a partir” – I’ve always heard the complete expression, ” Te voy a partir la madre”. You probably don’t want to use this unless you’re ready for a fight.

        Nice to know you can shorten it. Not that I plan on having to use it one day.

  39. Thanks for this. I lived in Mexico two decades ago and was surprised to find all the terms I learned then still fairly current now. It made me smile as it took me to memory lane!

  40. This is hilarious. I have fanatically studying Spanish since I was 15 and was pretty close to fluency when I met my bilingual husband who is Mexican. Within a few months I had heard the words chido, guey, pedo and no manches about a billion times, after years of only hearing proper Spanish, some words my husband never even uses. I prefer to keep it proper but understanding language every way it comes it the way to go. I am bookmarking this. I always learn something new.

  41. Hi there! I was wondering if I can copy – paste some of your posted info, for a Dia de Muertos website I´m doing.
    Luis

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