So you are on the right track in your Spanish learning journey and you are proud of your progress in the classroom. Then suddenly you try to have a conversation with someone whose native language is Spanish, and your pride is shattered.Eradid you just say
If this has happened to you, don't worry! This probably means that you have to learn something.colloquial spanishunderstand the informal vocabulary of Spanish.EspañolNatively spoken in over 20 countries, it has even more native speakers than English, making it an incredibly diverse language with many different slangs and phrases.
Let us walk you through some of the most popular ones.Colloquial words and phrases in Spanishthroughout Latin America and Europe. We cover popular Spanish slang for amigo, Spanish slang for cool, Spanish slang for texting, and more. We'll also break down some of the most popular slang by country, so you'll know what to say the next time you visit.
With this nifty guide, you'll soon be able to have casual conversations like a local!
Why you should know the Spanish slang
There are more than 20 Spanish-speaking countries around the world. Just as English-speaking countries like the US, UK, and Australia have unique slang, different countries in Latin America and Europe have different Spanish slang.
Learning a variety of Spanish slang will allow you to:
- Travel comfortably through Latin America and Spain.
- Save yourself awkward situations by not knowing the local Spanish slang.
- Communicate more effectively and naturally with the locals.
- Sounds more like a fluent speaker.
- Understand local memes and internet jokes!
- Watch YouTube videos, TV shows and other digital media full of slang from different countries.
While learning Spanish lingo can seem daunting, it is also a fun experience that will open many doors for you on your Spanish learning journey.
Download our free Spanish slang guide!
Now that you're excited to learn Spanish slang, let's get started. let's coverThe most popular jargon and phrases in Spanishand provide English translation as well as Spanish pronunciation for English speakers. Essentially, we are going to recreate the sounds with English words so that you know how to pronounce each word without having to imitate a native speaker.
Remember that Spanish slang is pronounced differently in each country. For example, the Spanish usually pronounce the letterCAs aºwhile Mexicans pronounce it as aS. The Spanish pronunciation column in the tables below reflects the local pronunciation of each country for accuracy.
Spanish is a very regionalized language, so most countries have their own slang. Some colloquial words may even have completely different meanings in different countries.
Before we get into the country-specific slang, here are some Spanish slang words that are pretty universal.
|colloquial spanish||Spanish pronunciation||meaning in English|
|Good Guy||bweh-nah-zoh||Very good|
|falla||you do not||One thing|
|Questions||Mahn-deh||That? / Go back?|
Slang Phrases in General Spanish
Spanish slang is also highly dependent on the country. Many nationals have slightly (or very!) different ways of saying things. Here are some common slang words that can be understood well in almost all Spanish-speaking countries.
|colloquial in Spanish||Spanish pronunciation||meaning in English|
|To insert the batteries||Poh-nehr-seh las pee-las||to intensify it|
|Talk nineteen to the dozen||Ah-blahr for the Coh-dos||be very talkative|
|aid||Eh-chahr oo-nah mah-não||to help someone|
|jilt||Deh-har plahn-tah-doh||lift someone up|
|drop fat||kah-ehr gor-doh||not like anyone|
|Mala pata||Mah-la Pah-tah||has varieties|
Spanish slang forFreund
when you studyEspañolyou probably know thatFreundis the word for "friend." However, did you know that there are dozens of other ways to refer your friends? Below are some of the most common Spanish slang words for "amigo", including the country where each word is used.
|Spanish slang for friend||Spanish pronunciation||Country where it is used|
|Because||the case of the couple||Colombia.|
|Gusto||Ya-veh||chile and colombia|
|compa||Let's go||Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Argentina.|
|Couple||kwh t shirt||Mexico, Venezuela, Guatemala, Bolivia.|
|eaves||ah-y-ro||Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.|
|Bis||arrow||Panama, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and more.|
|Brother||uh-mah-no||Virtually all of Latin America.|
|pata||pah-ta||Cuba, Peru, Bolivia and Chile.|
|Carnal||Carnal||Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Argentina.|
|Brother||brother-dehr||Most of Latin America.|
Spanish slang forlegal
One of the first things you'll notice about Spanish slang is that most countries have different ways of saying great. Our chart below will arm you with the cool Spanish slang you need to survive anywhere.
|Spanish slang for cool||Spanish pronunciation||Country where it is used|
|barbarian||The bar-bah tab||Argentina and Uruguay.|
|cool||Boo-eh-nah On-da||Chile, Mexico and Argentina.|
|Mine||Cah-che-teh||Chile and Costa Rica.|
|legal||Che-veh-reh||Most of Latin America.|
|Chico||Goo-yo||Spain and parts of Mexico.|
|piola||Pee-oh-la||Argentina and Chile.|
|Zu Tuani||too many knees||Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador.|
Spanish slang download guide for free
We've created a list of popular slang and idioms so you can start ringing in and connecting with local Spaniards. This slang guide will take your Spanish learning to the next level.
Other country-specific Spanish slang
|mexican slang||Pronunciation||meaning in English|
|cru||croo doh||male cat|
|Clear!||Ah weh-voh||That's how it is!|
|punishment||Chee-lan-go||someone from mexico city|
|are you serious||no chess man||half chance|
|Güey/Wey||goo-ay / woo-ay||Cara|
|liquid||Neh-tah||Actually? / The truth|
|At the moment||Ah-oh-ree-tah||at this precise moment|
|colombian slang||Spanish pronunciation||meaning in English|
|point||she patch||a group of friends|
|For him||Poh-lahs||some beers|
|Mono||chang-goh||go to dance|
|the tombs||come on tom-bohs||Police|
|And so||in the car||kiss|
|And the!||For him||Injury!|
|one fourteen||Oon kah-tor-se||A favor|
|cuban slang||Spanish pronunciation||meaning in English|
|Yuma||Yoo-ma||A foreigner who is not from Latin America.|
|a boy||Oon ma-teh||French kiss.|
|We have looted!||No-s pee-ya-mos||See you soon!|
|your briefcase!||very youthful||That is your problem!|
|i'm slipping||Meh Res-bah-la||I do not call|
|¡ Chao pescao!||Cha-oh pis-kah-oh||Bye bye!|
|must write down||Meh pee-ro||Leave|
|peruvian dialect||Spanish pronunciation||meaning in English|
|tap||Al toh-keh||Very fast|
|roast meat||Ah-sah-doh||Highly strung|
|To defeat||verde-foh||Fuel station|
|No||is-veh-son||actively doing nothing|
|Pituco||Pee-too-koh||a rich person|
|Argentinian slang||Spanish pronunciation||meaning in English|
|boy girl||Pee-beh / Pee-bah||boy / girl|
|has straw||Pah-ha of ten waters||feeling lazy|
|have bad mood||Ten bad air-ah Lay-che||have bad luck|
|Get comfortable||want her||Leave!|
|Chilean slang||Spanish pronunciation||meaning in English|
|walking stick||Uh-n-u||male cat|
|Pololo / Polola||Poh-low-low / Pow-low-la||Boyfriend Boyfriend Girlfriend|
|Venezuelan slang||Spanish pronunciation||meaning in English|
|Of||day to day||Clear!|
|A tool||Cheem-bo||Cheap or inferior.|
|Mixed||Ma-ma-ra-cho||A ridiculous thing or person|
|Want||cho-reihe||a thief or criminal|
|stayed||Kay-da-oh||A slow person (mentally)|
Spanish slang in Spain
|colloquial spanish||Spanish pronunciation||meaning in English|
|get scared||breaking pair||Get scared|
|Empanizado||em-pa-nah-doh||Someone slow (mentally)|
|Let's go!||ho-der||Damn you!|
|get angry||Kah-breh-are-seh||be upset|
|decadent||Koo-treh||opposite of sweet|
|alternative||Our vee-eh-hos||My parents|
|Ponte||Poo-en-teh||a long weekend|
Other Spanish slang from places not mentioned above
|colloquial spanish||Spanish pronunciation||meaning in English||Country where it is used|
|murmur||I could||Cara||Costa Rica|
|Tico / Tico||Tee-co / Tee-ca||A person from Costa Rica.||Costa Rica|
|And the!||Dee-sim||An exclamation word expressing confusion.||Costa Rica|
|Tiguere||Tee-guh-reh||A street smart person.||Dominican Republic|
|Candy shop||Kohl-ma-doh||a corner store||Dominican Republic|
|sought||love-cha||A celebration||Dominican Republic|
|¡Chendo!||Chen doh||I'm kidding!||Ecuador|
|The light bulb||Lam-pah-ra||incomplete||Ecuador|
|bay||Cal-seh-ta||house or house||Ecuador|
|whole / dig||Che-ro / Che-ra||boy/girl||The Savior|
|What soup?||kay so-pah||And from?||Panama|
Frequently asked questions about Spanish slang
What is SMS jargon in Spanish?
Just as English speakers use LOL, TTYL, and ILY when texting, Spanish speakers use a lot of slang when texting. Here are some of the most common Spanish SMS slang acronyms you should be aware of.
|SMS Slang in Spanish||spanish meaning||meaning in English|
|TQM/TKM||I love you very much||I like you a lot (friendly)|
|KYT||keep calm||Wake up|
|tuberculosis||very good / good||well well|
What is the Spanish slang for money?
As you can imagine, there are many Spanish slang words for money. Here are some of the most common ones so you never get caught when it comes to money:
What is the Spanish slang for girlfriend?
In Latin America, calling your girlfriend a cute slang name is very common. If you're trying to impress your Hispanic girlfriend, try calling her one of the following Spanish slang words for girlfriend:
- My life
- My princess
- My girlfriend
- The owner of my fortnight
- My girlfriend
When is it appropriate to use slang in Spanish?
Spanish slang should be strictly limited to casual, informal conversation. You should never use slang in a formal setting like school, work, or any other formal setting. Always try to limit the amount of slang you use when dealing with someone of higher authority than you, such as your boss, your spouse's parents, or employees.
Read our post on formal and informal greetings in Spanish here, if you seek expert advice.
Tips for learning colloquial Spanish
Learning Spanish slang is one of the few things you probably can't accomplish in a classroom. does not matter howimprove your spanish lessonsYou probably won't spend a lot of time learning Spanish slang as you will be focusing on grammatical structures and vocabulary.
Here are some great tips on how to improve your knowledge of Spanish slang so that you become more like a native speaker.
Find friends who speak Spanish
The best way to learn Spanish slang is through practice. Making friends who speak Spanish and communicating with them constantly is the best way to improve your understanding of Spanish slang.
Will you have trouble understanding jargon that comes naturally in conversation? Clear. Are you ashamed to abuse the jargon? Happens! But the best way to learn the lingo is through trial and error. Keep chatting with your Spanish-speaking friends and soon you'll be learning and mastering all the slang they use.
Immerse yourself in the language
Completedeepening of languageIt is a great way to improve your language skills. If you're trying to expand your Spanish slang vocabulary, there's no better way than exposing yourself to everyday conversations where slang tends to come naturally.
When full physical immersion is not possible due to work or family commitments, you can do everything you can to transform your life in a Spanish-speaking environment.
You can do this by:
- Listen to Spanish music.
- Watch TV shows in Spanish.
- Listen to podcasts in Spanish.
- Read books in Spanish, especially novels.
- Watch YouTube videos from Spanish YouTubers.
These are all great ways to increase the amount of Spanish slang you're exposed to on a regular basis.
Read informal forums online
One of the problems with reading books to increase your exposure to Spanish slang is that they tend to be heavily edited and written in simple Spanish. A great way to avoid this is to read what native speakers write and post online without filtering. Online forums are an ideal place for this.
If you have a hobby or passion, there are probably many Spanish forums online that you will find interesting. Google some of your interests in Spanish plus the word "he was' and you're sure to find an interesting website with lots of native content to consume.
Some important final conclusions
Learning the slang of Spanish can take your language skills to the next level. Knowing how to make sentences and use textbook vocabulary will not be enough to master everyday life in Spain, Latin America, or other Spanish-speaking regions.
Fortunately, learning Spanish slang is now easier than ever thanks to the internet and how you can mimic immersion in your own home.
We hope you found it.guidewith constructive and pleasant Spanish slang phrases. If you are traveling to any of the countries featured in our guide, we strongly recommend that you memorize all the slang for that country before you visit, and bookmark this page and return to it regularly.
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