Spanish Slang Phrases from the Around the World

by | Aug 15, 2018

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, as an obvious extranjera living there.

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

Perhaps it’s that sense of, “This isn’t my native culture, but I belong. I have roots here too.” 

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.


Spanish Slang Phrases by Country


Mexican Slang Phrases


¡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

guey – 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


Spanish Slang


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


Ecuadorian Slang


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


Costa Rican Slang


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


Panamanian Slang


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

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



Colombian Slang Phrases


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


Guatemalan Slang


güiros – niños

pisto – dinero

patojos – teenagers



Puerto Rican Slang


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


Peruvian Slang


causa – friend

– friend

– cool

– girlfriend

– guy/girl

– brother/sister

– beers

chamba – work

bacán – wonderful

calato– naked

cana – jail

chape – kiss

mosca – alert

pituco – wealthy

yunta – best friend

chibolo – niño



Chilean Slang


bakán – cool

filo – over it (no importa)

pololo/a – boy/girlfriend

al tiro – right now

carrete – party (carretear – to party)

poh – filler words used for emphasis

Cachai? – You get it?

fome – boring

seco/a – awesome, a person who is good at doing something

guagua – baby

bebida – soda



Slang from the Dominican Republic


un chin – a little bit

vaina – stuff

guagua – bus

jevi – cool

Qué lo qué – What’s up

colmado – convenience store

bacano – cool/ someone good at something difficult

pana – buddy

jeepeta – SUV

chévere – cool

tato – everything is good/alright

ñapa – bonus/ when you buy something and they give you extra

esquimalito – popsicle

jevo/a – boy/girlfriend or girl/boy

concho – non-reulgated public transportation/ to express discomfort

tripear– to joke around/ to be pleasing (as in, “te tripea”)

quillao/quillá– being very mad

guapo/a– to be angry


Nicaraguan Slang


tuani – cool/awesome

chigüin/a: boy/girl

dale pues – do it then, go ahead

chaval/a – boy/girl

chele/chela -light-skinned person

chunche – thingamajig

Qué encave – How messed up

están jalando – they are dating

ni chicha ni limonada – to express confution



Slang from El Salvador


chivo/a – cool

va – ok/uh huh/got it/ah

cara de chumbe – turkey face

bicho, cipote(a) – child

chucho – dog

pisto – money



Venezuelan Slang


dale pues – go ahead and do it, let’s go, to express agreement

chévere – cool

chamo/a – boy/girl

chimbo – not good/bummer

coroto – thing (when you’re unsure of the name)

guácala – yucky, gross

bululú – a crowd

na’guará – to express admiration of something incredible or true



Paraguayan Slang


colectiva – bus

dispensa – corner store

puerete – cool (Guarani origins)

chulina – cute (Guarani origins)

chamigo/a – close friend (mix of che and friend)



Uruguayan Slang


ta – okay

chiquilín/a – boy or girl

guri – boy

plata – money


Argentinian Slang


che – meaning varies (hey, cool, guy)

pibe/piba – boy/girl

mina – girl

re – prefix that means “very”

tener fiaca – lazy

morfar – to eat

bondi – bus

¿Me estás cargando? – What the heck?

baja un cambio – call/ slow down

dale – ok/ hurry up

plata/mango/guita – money



Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

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