Spanish Slang: 159 of the Best | Mexican, Cuban and more (2023)

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.

Spanish Slang: 159 of the Best | Mexican, Cuban and more (1)

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!

Spanish Slang: 159 of the Best | Mexican, Cuban and more (2)

colloquial spanish

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.

colloquial spanish

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 spanishSpanish pronunciationmeaning in English
Good Guybweh-nah-zohVery good
fallayou do notOne thing
ojoOh hoAttention
QuestionsMahn-dehThat? / 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 SpanishSpanish pronunciationmeaning in English
To insert the batteriesPoh-nehr-seh las pee-lasto intensify it
Talk nineteen to the dozenAh-blahr for the Coh-dosbe very talkative
aidEh-chahr oo-nah mah-nãoto help someone
jiltDeh-har plahn-tah-dohlift someone up
drop fatkah-ehr gor-dohnot like anyone
Mala pataMah-la Pah-tahhas 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 friendSpanish pronunciationCountry where it is used
Becausethe case of the coupleColombia.
GustoYa-vehchile and colombia
compaLet's goMexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Argentina.
Couplekwh t shirtMexico, Venezuela, Guatemala, Bolivia.
eavesah-y-roGuatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
BisarrowPanama, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and more.
Brotheruh-mah-noVirtually all of Latin America.
patapah-taCuba, Peru, Bolivia and Chile.
CarnalCarnalMexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Argentina.
Brotherbrother-dehrMost 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 coolSpanish pronunciationCountry where it is used
Ministertypographic errorChile.
barbarianThe bar-bah tabArgentina and Uruguay.
coolBoo-eh-nah On-daChile, Mexico and Argentina.
MineCah-che-tehChile and Costa Rica.
legalChe-veh-rehMost of Latin America.
DemandChee DohMexico.
PresageChee-voThe Savior.
ChicoGoo-yoSpain and parts of Mexico.
PichudoPee-choo-dohCosta Rica.
piolaPee-oh-laArgentina and Chile.
Very coolToh-pee-see-moChile.
Zu Tuanitoo many kneesCosta 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.

Spanish Slang: 159 of the Best | Mexican, Cuban and more (3)

Other country-specific Spanish slang

mexican slang

mexican slangPronunciationmeaning in English
chelathat heCoffin
crucroo dohmale cat
Clear!Ah weh-vohThat's how it is!
punishmentChee-lan-gosomeone from mexico city
are you seriousno chess manhalf chance
Güey/Weygoo-ay / woo-ayCara
liquidNeh-tahActually? / The truth
At the momentAh-oh-ree-tahat this precise moment

colombian slang

colombian slangSpanish pronunciationmeaning in English
pointshe patcha group of friends
For himPoh-lahssome beers
rumbiarbee roomCelebrate
Monochang-gohgo to dance
guavaGoo-ah-ya-bohmale cat
the tombscome on tom-bohsPolice
And soin the carkiss
And the!For himInjury!
one fourteenOon kah-tor-seA favor
tintoadolescentBlack coffee

cuban slang

cuban slangSpanish pronunciationmeaning in English
YumaYoo-maA foreigner who is not from Latin America.
a boyOon ma-tehFrench kiss.
We have looted!No-s pee-ya-mosSee you soon!
your briefcase!very youthfulThat is your problem!
i'm slippingMeh Res-bah-laI do not call
¡ Chao pescao!Cha-oh pis-kah-ohBye bye!
must write downMeh pee-roLeave

peruvian dialect

peruvian dialectSpanish pronunciationmeaning in English
tapAl toh-kehVery fast
roast meatAh-sah-dohHighly strung
flourishingflor-re-sonTo lie
To defeatverde-fohFuel station
Nois-veh-sonactively doing nothing
PiñaPee-n-yahsomeone unlucky
PitucoPee-too-koha rich person

Argentinian slang

Argentinian slangSpanish pronunciationmeaning in English
boy girlPee-beh / Pee-bahboy / girl
cockAdultThe best
has strawPah-ha of ten watersfeeling lazy
have bad moodTen bad air-ah Lay-chehave bad luck
coatingline aheadIdiot
Get comfortablewant herLeave!

Chilean slang

Chilean slangSpanish pronunciationmeaning in English
walking stickUh-n-umale cat
Pololo / PololaPoh-low-low / Pow-low-laBoyfriend Boyfriend Girlfriend
MineMee-nahyoung woman
LucasMira?1,000 Pesos
filoshare-itEverything's fine
Good lookingBoo-y-mo-soLindo

Venezuelan slang

Venezuelan slangSpanish pronunciationmeaning in English
Financial supportcallCara
Ofday to dayClear!
A toolCheem-boCheap or inferior.
Heredrill-daVery realistic.
MixedMa-ma-ra-choA ridiculous thing or person
Wantcho-reihea thief or criminal
MausMousemale cat
stayedKay-da-ohA slow person (mentally)
latinLa-dee-ya-dohget irritated

Spanish slang in Spain

colloquial spanishSpanish pronunciationmeaning in English
get scaredbreaking pairGet scared
I couldMah-hoLindo
For!friend-gahLet's go!
Empanizadoem-pa-nah-dohSomeone slow (mentally)
Let's go!ho-derDamn you!
get angryKah-breh-are-sehbe upset
decadentKoo-trehopposite of sweet
alternativeOur vee-eh-hosMy parents
PontePoo-en-teha long weekend

Other Spanish slang from places not mentioned above

colloquial spanishSpanish pronunciationmeaning in EnglishCountry where it is used
murmurI couldCaraCosta Rica
Tico / TicoTee-co / Tee-caA person from Costa Rica.Costa Rica
And the!Dee-simAn exclamation word expressing confusion.Costa Rica
TiguereTee-guh-rehA street smart person.Dominican Republic
Candy shopKohl-ma-doha corner storeDominican Republic
soughtlove-chaA celebrationDominican Republic
¡Chendo!Chen dohI'm kidding!Ecuador
The light bulbLam-pah-raincompleteEcuador
bayCal-seh-tahouse or houseEcuador
vir-latachu-chopuppyThe Savior
¡Puchica!Poo-chee-cadrugs!The Savior
whole / digChe-ro / Che-raboy/girlThe Savior
officialOh taxaOKPanama
What soup?kay so-pahAnd from?Panama
chupataChoo-pah-taA celebrationPanama

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 Spanishspanish meaningmeaning in English
TQM/TKMI love you very muchI like you a lot (friendly)
KYTkeep calmWake up
tuberculosisvery good / goodwell 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:

  • baro
  • Lana
  • ticket
  • copper
  • Morralla
  • Feliz
  • pellets
  • Feria

What is the Spanish slang for girlfriend?

Spanish Slang: 159 of the Best | Mexican, Cuban and more (4)

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

Spanish Slang: 159 of the Best | Mexican, Cuban and more (5)

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.

Spanish Slang: 159 of the Best | Mexican, Cuban and more (6)

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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