Top 20 Mexican Slang (Top 10 Mexican Slang Part 2)

The most popular post on this blog is Top Ten Mexican Slang. But for sure ten words don’t even scratch the surface of slang here in Mexico.

I hear these words every day. Unlike the original Top Ten Mexican Slang, in this post every word has a PG rating. Maybe PG-13.

Pinche

Pinche could have been in the original top ten. It translates to many words in English, damn for example, but only when used to describe something.

“¡Pinche coche!” – damn car

“Pinche Juan” – goddamn Juan

Mande

Mande is the Mexican way to ask what or excuse me, when you don’t understand what someone said. It can also be used like tell me.

Neta

Neta can be used in several ways, but often like really? or for real?

“Estoy pedo, pero ya me tengo que ir a la chamba.”

“¿Neta?”

Ahorita

Ahora means now. The “-ita” or “-ito” (female or male) stem is a diminutive, used to show that something is small or cute. So literally ahorita means little now.

Mexicans might tell you that ahorita means right now, but really it means soon or eventually. If you ask a Mexican to do something and they reply with ahorita, then it could happen in five minutes, five hours, or never.

“¿Puedes ayudarme con mi tarea?” “Ahorita.”

“¿Ya vámonos?” “Ahorita.”

Aguas

You probably know that agua means water. But in slang aguas means be careful or look out!

I was told that it comes from when a lady would pour out a bucket of water onto the sidewalk. Is that right?

Cabrón

In places like Guatemala or Honduras, when I tell people that I live in Mexico, I often get “¡Ah, cabrón!¨ in response. That´s how Mexican this word is, that other Latins think of it right away when they think about Mexicans.

It might translate to bastard, but really it´s a word to say to a close friend. A male friend. Like bastard, cabrón isn´t appropriate for the family dinner table.

Other words for a male friend are carnal or wey. Vato is similar, more like dude, used in northern Mexico and by chicanos in the U.S.

Chicano

Chicano is the word for Mexican-Americans.

Tocayo

A tocayo is someone with the same name. You can say somos tocayos or just call the person with the same name as you tocayo.

Tope

When you visit Mexico you’ll see speedbumps everywhere. Aguas when you drive over them. They often aren’t marked. Hitting them hard at night makes everyone in the backseat bounce up and slam their heads into the roof of the car.

Speedbumps are called topes, and only in Mexico, I think. In other parts of Latin America and some parts of Mexico they are called something else – tumolo, right?

Camión

A camión is a bus. In other parts of Latin America it’s a truck. I told people in Guatemala that I arrived by camión. They looked at me crazy until I figured it out.

The more official word for a bus in Mexico is autobús, not just plain bus.

Chamba

A chamba is a job, often a lousy job.

You can say, “Tengo que regresar a mi chamba” or ask, “¿Que chamba tienes?”

Chafa

Chafa describes something cheap or low quality.

“Esta coche es chafa.”

Codo

Codo means elbow, but in slang it means cheap, as in a cheap person. A codo person doesn´t want to flex their elbow, as in pulling out money and putting it on the table.

The “real” word for this is tacano.

“No seas codo” – don’t be cheap.

Chavo/Chava

Continuing with the “ch” words, here are slang words for kids. You can also call kids chamacos. Remember the final “o” is for males and “a” for females.

Córrale / apúrate / tengo prisa

The first two mean hurry up. I don’t know if they´re actually slang, but they are damn common.

Tengo prisa means I’m in a hurry.

parade

I hope this list was helpful. Please write whatever I left out or got wrong in the comments.

Don’t miss my newly-published Mexican Slang Master List, with more than 100 words and phrases of Mexican Spanish.

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About Ted Campbell

U.S.-Canadian writer, translator and university teacher in Mexico. Travel stories and practical tips on my blog No Hay Bronca: nohaybronca.wordpress.com Twitter: @NoHayBroncaBlog // Contact: nohaybroncablog (at) gmail.com

Posted on November 8, 2013, in Learning Spanish, Mexico and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 34 Comments.

  1. you oughtta cope to the use of accents man. for instance, in yr “mande” above, the ‘idiom’ you are telling us about is spelt with an accent on the final “e”, cause the accent on the word is there.
    when accent on “mande” is on the first syllable, the meaning is not the same. right?
    just a misery to pass on to you. accents, bah. caint live wit ’em, cant live w/o ’em. andale, huey!

    • my bad: i shd say, i’ve always heard that idiomatic phrase with an accent on the last syllable, like this:
      manDE, and not MANde. if that orthography werks to explain the spoken sound difference. i guess grammatically this would be wrong, cause manDe would first person, preterite, whereas the idiom means generally “you called??” or “you sent??”

  2. this is great! thanks for writing this… i want more!

  3. no mames 😂😂

  4. What mean quítate los ojos

  5. Por que los chilagos usan esta frace cuando asen un trabajo. No mas asle un mickey mouse

  6. I think “aguas” menaing “watch out” probably originates from the time when people would urinate in a chamber pot at night and throw it out the window. In France and England, they used to shout “Gardy loo!” when emptying their piss out the windown, which derived from the French, “Gardez l’eau,” or “Watch out for the water!” This is how the term, “loo” came to refer to a toilet/bathroom in English.

  7. What does “te mando saludos mama cuca” ? from a friend vs boyfriend?

  8. What’s up mates, its wonderful piece of writing regarding cultureand entirely defined, keep
    it up all the time.

  9. melani morales

    Do you know of a similar blog regarding Guatemalan slang? My husband is Guatemalteco and I’ve lived there, but still occasionally get lost in slang! Puta seems to be one of their favourite words with a variety of interpretations, except of course the one we all think we know. Sometimes it’s puto. They also use va for a multipurpose word, from okay, see ya, yes, goodbye, oh no it’s you again, etc. Anyway, I enjoyed your blog – very well written and helpful!

    • Hi Melani, thanks for the nice comment… I don’t know a blog of Guatemalan slang offhand, and I looked for my notes from the several times I’ve been there, and I couldn’t find them! Anyway when I do I’ll post some. Or you could ask your husband and write a guest post here.
      Saludos

  10. What does, ” Yokis” mean? I hear it in Sinaloa. As in, “A lo Yokis” I think that`s how it`s spelled

  11. Hi! i’m mexican and i have been reading this and the last blog, i think it’s good even i found one or two words i didn’t know they existed :p also we have the letter “ñ” and it’s very important to use it when needed because if you forget it you can make someone feel bad, for example if you say “Feliz año nuevo” (Happy new year) and forget to say or write “ñ” in año you are saying (Happy new ass) i hope this to be helpful as well, sorry if i have english mistakes

  12. No te metes con mi cucu, that is, not “me”

  13. Yesterday at the Carnival in Zihuatanejo, I heard a slang word that was obviously edgy but not quite vulgar. At least it could be the name of a song at Carnival. It was a song, sung by a female vocalist, about touch my “pupu” (where pupu appeared to be slang for female derriere). I searched on Spanish slang blogs looking for more information. Is this local to Guerrero, or is it general to Mexico?

  14. Thank you! Your definitions and examples helped a lot. I have been living in Mexico City for 3 months now and you can imagine how often I have heard these words!! The Mexicans can usually give me a half answer but it helps coming from someone who has already fingered out what these words actually mean and how they are used here. Thank you a lot!
    Also, you left out a very common slang word: “tranza” or “tranzita”; commonly used as “¿Qué tranza?” or “¿Què tranza carnal?”. As I understand, it more literally means “What flows through you?” And it is used along with other greeting phrases such as “¿Què padre?” or “¿Què tal?”

    • Thanks for the nice comment! My first few months were pretty hard – I remember when I asked my friend what the hell “wey” meant and why he used it every other word. hahaha

      Yes, Que tranza is a good one, especially common in Mexico City.

  15. Pocho is a word often heard to describe a Mexican born in the USA. Sadly, it’s often said derisively.

    Chamba can also be turned into a verb, chambear, meaning to work.

    I see you made reference to chingo or chingar in the previous post. I’m not sure a more versatile slang word was ever born in any language. There’s a book called, El Chingonario, Diccionario de Uso, Reuso y Abuso del Chingar y Sus Derivados which is a must-read for anyone hoping to master Mexican slang.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we are hoping to soon be hearing and using Mexican slang in its native habitat.

  16. Thanks! I’ve not heard of most of these.

  17. Nice list and thanks for the shout out!

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