Spanish slang

Spanish Slang Phrases from the Around the World

Inside: A collection of Spanish slang phrases from different countries in the Spanish-speaking world. 
¿Así es, di?
¡Hola, huambrilla!

I remember the thrill of dropping slang into my sentences, as a baby Spanish learner. Di is special to the Pervuian jungle, so it got fun reactions when I learned to use it properly.

Heck, twelve years later it’s still infinitely satisfying to include that perfect piece of Spanish slang, at just the right time.

 Slang can make you sound like a native you aren’t (as long as you know how and when to use it!) and some phrases express things your native language can’t.

Spanish is fascinating, because it varies so widely across the world in both vocabulary and pronunciation. Some phrases won’t make sense to a native speaker from another country, or might be considered vulgar somewhere else, so you have to be careful. It’s important to pay attention to what works for each country.

This post is the result of crowdsourcing! My readers from all over sent in slang from their respective regions. If you find a mistake or disagree, please let me know in the comments.

I imagine this post will be organic for a while, as we correct and collect more. Please send me your favorite Spanish slang phrases and I’ll keep adding to the list.



¡Qué padre! – How cool!/ awesome

¡Qué chido! – very cool

chafa – cheap, lame poorly made

órale – to express surprise/ Really?

Híjole – Oh my goodness!

¿Qué onda? – What’s up?

¿Mande? – What?

cuate – guy

güey – man

compa – friend

suave – groovy (older form of cool)

Qué mala/buena onda – What bad/good luck

pasta – money

es la leche – cool

chavo – young man

Neta? – Really?

¡No manches! – No kidding!/ For real?

¡A la goma! – to express surprise/ Wow!

¡Qué fregón! – How cool!

chilango – person from Mexico City

foráneo – person from out of town

provinciano – person from elsewhere than Mexico City

lana – money

chanclas – sandals

coche – car

Spanish slang from Mexico


sujetavelas – third wheel (candle-holder)

sinpa – dash and dine

pelota – teacher’s pet

enchufado – well-connected, the favorite

Qué mal rollo – that sucks

¡Qué guay! – How cool!

tío – guy/dude

majo/a – very nice

a flor de piel – wear your heart on your sleeve (meaning varies)

pasta – money

¡Cómo mola! – How cool!

vale– okay

es la leche – cool

chaval/a – teenager

Qué chulo – How cool

flipar– to be shocked

picar– to bother someone


pana – friend

bielas – beer

mijin – friend (amigo inseparable)

guambra – guy/girl (chico/chica)

achachay – it’s so cold (qué frío)

ayayay – that hurts (qué dolor)

acolitar– help (ayudar/acompañar)

ñaño/a – brother/sister


chunche – thing

chiva – cool

¡Qué cachete! – How cool!

mop – close friend (primo, changed to mopri, shortened)

vara – thing

voy jalando – to leave a place with a bad attitude/feeling

mae – dude

manillo – dude

chiguines – kids

tico/a– a Costa Rican

tuanis – cool

pura vida– hello/ goodbye/ cheers/everything is good or cool

estar chineado/a– when you want to be cuddle/ loved/ taken care of


vaina – thing (as in, when you don’t remember what it is)

¿Qué sopa? – What happened? (¿Qué sopa?, after pig latin… ¿Qué sopa mopri?)



nombe – abbreviation of hombre (used as in “nuh uh no way”)

¿Qué hubo? – What’s up?/ How’s it going?/ to shoo away dogs or reprimand kids

ira – now

Spanish slang from Colombia


güiros – niños

pisto – dinero

patojos – teenagers


charro/charrería – something/someone is lame

vacilón – a great party, having lots of fun

mano – dude

algarete – something crazy

bochinche – gossip

bregar – to work something out

cafre – someone with little education and attitude

chabón – someone that bothers you

changa – a person that whines and complains a lot

lambón – someone who is always pleasing others

slang in Spanish from Puerto Rico

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  1. Jaimee De Pompeo says:

    For the Paraguay section:
    kaigue: lazy (guarani origins)
    gua’u: Fake or false (guarani origins)
    *colectivO: bus
    hule: plastic bag
    lorito hoga: homebody
    permiso’i: a person who is on a short leash from their partner
    *purete: cool
    a la gran siete: cool
    macanada: estupideces
    quilombo: a mess
    kachei: funny (guarani)
    motoquero: person who rides a motorcycle
    que valle: how tacky
    japu: liar (guarani)
    cheto: hipster
    chuchi: fancy
    kape: amigo (men)
    ama: amiga (women)
    cumplehape: birthday party
    asadohape: BBQ
    kunahape: going out looking for girls
    que tembo: how shitty/what an asshole/how messed up

    I will think of more later and add them. Thanks for this! So great!

  2. Jaimee De Pompeo says:

    Paraguay section:

    tavy: crazy

  3. Uruguay

    chiquilín/chiquilína — boy/girl
    guri — boy, used in just some parts of the country
    plata — money

  4. Cuba: acere (friend), que bola? (What’s up); Embullar (to get excited); Meter muela (to flirt); guagua and chevere are also used as bus and cool

  5. chévere — cool!

    todo el mundo dice “chévere” en Quito

  6. Es la leche is not used in Mexico, that is Spanish slang.

    Also, yes coche is used in some parts of Mexico more than carro or auto, but it’s not slang. It’s just the standard word for car, and it’s not only used in Mexico.

  7. For a Honduran list
    Macizo – cool, beautiful
    terco – desobedient
    chiguin – kid
    Que pedo? – What’s up?
    Te veo al rato – see you later

  8. Claudia S. Mercer says:

    For the Colombian :

    Ira: Is an expression that reflects surprise. Similar to WOW I English.

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