Top Ten Mexican Slang
The order of this list has 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’re a FRESA (stuck-up person) you might be offended by some vulgar language, but if you’re a NACO (low-class, person with bad taste), you’ll overuse most of the words on this list.
10. You may have noticed that 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 used 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, 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 – DE LA CHINGADA.
Or, if there is a lot of something, traffic for example, you can say HAY UN CHINGO DE TRAFICO. In general, you can use it 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 books for info.) For everyday uses, check out the Chinganario.
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1. WEY / GUEY – I’m not sure how to spell it. WEY isn’t as famous as ORALE or versatile as CHINGAR, and may not be as common as CHIDO. You might spend a month here without hearing it. But, once in the proper circles, you’ll hear WEY between every other word, like 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 “sí,” yes.
HONORABLE MENTION(S): You can add “-ón” or “-ona” to any body part to describe someone who has a prominent one. For example:
NARIZ: nose — NARIZÓN – guy with a big nose
CEJAS: eybrows — CEJÓN – guy with bushy eyebrows
FRENTE: foreheard – FRENTONA – girl with a big forehead
CULO: ass — CULONA – girl with a big ass, often complimentary (vulgar)
You also can do this with jobs. “-ero” or “-era” makes a job title.
OBRA: work project — OBRERO – worker
PALOMITA: popcorn — PALOMERO – popcorn seller
CULO: ass — CULERO – literally “ass seller,” but actually more like “asshole.”
For more slang check out Part 2 here.
And don’t miss my newly-published Mexican Slang Master List, with more than 100 words and phrases of Mexican Spanish.
Also A Spanish Cheat Sheet for Travelers in Mexico.
Click the link for Frijolero, a song that has all this slang
If you’re 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.
Practice your Spanish while traveling in Chiapas or the Mayan Riviera, two top destinations in Mexico. You will save the low price of my Cancun and Mayan Riviera 5-Day Itinerary or Your Chiapas Adventure: San Cristobal de las Casas and Palenquethe first time you follow my advice on a bus, restaurant, hotel or cenote.
About Ted CampbellU.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
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los niñosthe children;de niñoas a child;desde niñosince childhood;since I etc was a child
ser el niño mimado de algnto be sb's pet
¡qué coche ni qué niño muerto!all this nonsense about a car!;car my foot! (familiar)
está como niño con zapatos nuevos desde que se compró el coche
el niño bonito del toreothe golden boy of bullfighting
niño/a de la callestreet kid
niño/a peraniño/a pijo/apampered child;daddy's boy/girl
niño/a prodigio/achild prodigy
niño/a terribleenfant terrible
va a tener un niñoshe's going to have a baby;hacer un niño a unato get a girl in the family way;cuando nazca el niñowhen the baby is born;when the child is born
niño/a azulblue baby
el Niño de la bolathe infant Jesus;fortune's favourite
niño/a de pechobabe-in-arms
el Niño Jesústhe Christ-child;(con menos formalidad)the Baby Jesus
niño/a probetatest-tube baby
¡niño, que te vas a caer!watch out, lad, you're going to fall!;¡niña, no seas tan tonta!don't be such a silly girl!