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.
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 read The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz. (Click the book below for more info.) For more everyday uses, check out the Chinganario.
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.
If you are studying Spanish, there’s no better book than Madrigal’s Magic Key (click the book for info):
Please click here for more books I recommend for studying Spanish.
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