6 Vote

H√≠jole! Qu√© onda? √Āndale! Gu√°cala!

Is that Spanish? Si'but you probably won't find those words in a traditional Spanish/English dictionary, and they most likely won't turn up in lessons at a language school because they're Mexican slang. Translated, they mean 'Holy cow! What's happening? Hurry up! That's horrible!? If you can incorporate these and other expressions in your speech down here, you've taken a step towards sounding like a local.

Like English slang, some words can mean different things depending on the situation. √Ņrale, for example, means 'sounds great? in a positive sense, but when spoken negatively, it changes to 'what the heck''or something a lot stronger. (Similarly, h√≠jole morphs from 'hey? to that stronger 'what the &'!!!#'.)

Qué padre! And Qué barbara! both mean 'cool!,? while qué poca madre signifies 'not worth a darn.? Although the dictionary says lana is wool, it also means 'money? or ? to use English slang ? 'dough.? If you call someone codo, you're saying he's a cheapskate, even though the dictionary primly says that word means 'elbow.? When you get the hang of this stuff, you may well say sale y vale, which means 'I agree.?

Cuate means fraternal twin in the traditional sense, but use it idiomatically and you're calling someone your buddy. Slang can also take on geographical connotations, illustrated by the word 'sanka,? which in Zihuatanejo signifies a local, but don't expect anyone to catch on four hours away in Acapulco.

Jefe (or jefa when feminized) means 'boss? but translates to 'father? ('mother') in slang. Patas de perro are your dog's paws, but spoken loosely, the expression means 'restless.? So you're starting to catch on? No hay bronca ? that's 'not a problem.? Ese chango means 'that guy? in slang, even though the dictionary says a chango is a monkey. Many north-of-the-border blondes are probably used to being called gueras in Zihua, though Webster's will tell you the word to use is really rubia.

My slang experts informed me the word gringo (gringa for females) originated during the Mexican/American War in the mid-19th century when green-uniformed U.S. soldiers were enthusiastically instructed by finger-pointing Mexicans to 'green-go!? Before anyone out there takes issue with this, there are at least half a dozen other explanations claiming to be the real story. (Quien sabe? That's non-slang for 'who knows'') Anyway, said my sources, the word has pretty much fallen out of favor these days, replaced by gabacho (gabacha), which used to mean only a French foreigner but now designates all non-Mexicans. Even slang words sometimes get abbreviated, so be alert for folks calling you a gabo (gaba) as you meander about town. There's even slang tongue-twisters. Tatacha la gabacha means 'Do you speak English'? If all this stuff is driving you to drink, be careful you don't end up crudo (cruda) ? that's with a hangover. Worse yet would be una cruda espantosa'a scary hangover. And that would be un desmadre, which is to say a mess.

Mexico can be a very classist society, and the country's slang reflects that. So, a naco describes someone who has money but no class or, alternatively, simply someone with no class. On a more egalitarian level, a 'jerk? (or fool or idiot) from any walk of life is often called a pendejo, quite a change from its dictionary definition as a pubic hair. Call someone your taco de ojo (word for word, the 'taco of your eye,') and you're saying that person is awfully easy on the eyes but falls in the 'look but don't touch? category. For the ladies, this 'forbidden fruit? could be some well-toned Chippendales performing on stage; for the men, a tempting table dancer in one of Zihua's night clubs.

There are longer expressions too. 'No hay de queso, no mas de papas? tells someone you're 'broke,? though the literal translation is 'I don't have cheese ? or potatoes either.?

Let's say you've done a small job for someone, and they ask what they owe you. Dame para un refresco ('give me enough for a soda'), you could say, hoping the person you're talking to is clever enough to realize you don't REALLY want a Pepsi but a little lana.

Here's one that might take a while to memorize, but it's worth it: Si montas un camello, no te vallan a salir ampollas en las nalgas. Use this anytime you need to say the equivalent of, 'Does a bear s___| in the woods'? In case you're wondering, the Spanish slang literally means, 'If you're going to ride a camel, you're gonna wind up with blisters on your butt.?

This is just a starter course, amigos, but enough for one lesson. Vámonos de reventón! 'Let's party!?

"Community Mexican Slang 101", By Nancy Seeley

  • Posted Jan 28, 2009
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49 Answers

4 Vote

Literally this means "What Wave, Cousin'"

True, but contrary to what many Spanish learners think, it does not mean a wave in the sense of ocean waves, which are olas. Rather, onda refers to waves such as those in curled hair or in a physics sense, such as light or sound waves. Vibrations are a type of wave, so I like to think of "Qué onda" (note accent) as having a meaning closer to "What's the vibe'" That English is outdated, but I think the meaning is very close to the Spanish here.

As for primo being used to non-relatives, just today I was at the gym when a guy asked me, "Are you using this, brother'," and I realized that this was almost exactly the same as using primo. I had never seen the guy before, but he called me brother.

3 Vote

I don't know if these qualify as "Mexican slang" but they seem to be said predominately by people from Mexico.

Examples:
"Se supone que iba a llegar luego luego." The first time I heard this, I was baffled. I learned soon after that it means "He was supposed to get there right away".

"A poco te vas a poner eso." This expression might come in handy. It means "Are you really going to wear that'" or "You're not really going to wear that, are you'"

3 Vote

A couple of extras:
- a key item of any Mexican's vocabulary is the expression "me vale madre" (I don't give a ...), and related variants ("valio madre", "me vale gorra")
- 'madre' is of course also used in various other expressions ("estaban hasta la madre" - "they were off their faces", "¬Ņqu√© es esta madre'" - "what's this stupid thing", "ni madres" - "not a sausage"...; "lo tengo hasta la madre" implies that you're somewhat fed up of something;
- practically everything is "pinche", especially the "pinche chacha" (feckin' housekeeper) who keeps breaking your finest cristal de Walmart
- however, if they deny it, you can always say "¬°ay, no mames!" ("come off it!") or, more euphemistically, "¬°no manches!"
- various words/expressions relating to the verb 'chingar' (which can also be combined with 'madre' when necessary), e.g.:
- 'un chingo de ...' = 'shedloads of ...', so e.g. "un chingo de lana" is a somewhat large quantity of pecuniary assets
- 'a/que la chingada!' is an expression of more than moderate moderate annoyance; 'de la chingada' = of somewhat poor quality or midly annoying; if somebody lives "hasta la chingada", that means that the place probably isn't quickly accessible by convenient means of transport
- as well as the expression "¬Ņqu√© onda'", if somebody is "muy buena onda", it means they're good company/good to get on with (this one is informal rather than particularly slang/vulgar)
- as an adjective at least, "gringo" appears to be alive and kicking -- I'd even say it's the normal, boring word for "American" (=US) much of the time ("una empresa gringa" = "an American company")

A while ago I also put together a short list of common (non-Slang) Mexican Spanish words, which surely needs lots more adding to it.

  • when u use the word chingo, chinga, chingada in any context it's not good. only slang takes it and you would not say it with people you're familiar with. - zenejero Oct 7, 2009 flag
  • I think we have to be careful with "¬°ay, no mames!". In Peru this would refer to performing oral sex on a man...!! - amy_moreno Nov 22, 2010 flag
1 Vote

Keep ém comin'!

1 Vote

thanks this is great, there's this mexican girl, she tells me that I should say this to other mexican girls.

Que onda, primo?

I googled it, and it seems like what's going on cousin? is that correct? or is there other flirtatious meaning to it.

1 Vote

Primo is commonly used in Mexico, but only by men to other men, as far as I know. I've heard completely strangers use this term. It's kind of like saying "What's up, pal'," even though you've never seen the guy before.

I'm not sure if Mexican women call each other prima, but I've never heard it.

1 Vote

I've never heard it used in my little corner here either, but could be a local thing'

1 Vote

What fun! -- just a quick question to the first of the longer expressions: 'No hay de queso, no mas de papas? (Note, I just posted another question about "mas" a few seconds ago and wonder if I will ever get it straight -> mas o m√°s.) If one were to translate literally, what role does the word play here? Is it "but no potatoes" or "no more potatoes"? Could it take an accent over the a'

  • No hay de queso, nom√°s de papas. I don't have any more made with cheese, only with potatoes. Used ever so often by el Chavo del Ocho. √ďrale, cuate, a ver c√≥mo te qued√≥ el ojo! - zenejero Oct 7, 2009 flag
1 Vote

Wow, these should be in a flashcard vocab list. Uhmmm, con permiso, I'm gonna make one for myself....if you decide to make one, too, I'll delete mine....

1 Vote

Bloody brilliant mate.
Annie.

1 Vote

Ok! thanks for reading!
Chegx

Mz Badger said:

Keep ém comin'!

>

1 Vote

que onda, primo - what's up pal, dude

James is right, it is used only by men to men

and yes, u can use it with someone u dont really know... just like "hey there" hey pal

is not used in all mexico but almost everybody understand it, if u use it

they use primo a lot in Mazatlan Sinaloa, I think is where this slang comes fromm

saludosss chegx

casper said:

thanks this is great, there's this mexican girl, she tells me that I should say this to other mexican girls.Que onda, primo'I googled it, and it seems like what's going on cousin? is that correct? or is there other flirtatious meaning to it.

>

1 Vote

Casper, Literally this means "What Wave, Cousin'" but as slang it means "whats up'" or "What's going on with you'" Cousin is rarely added to the end and it is just said as "Que Onda'" It can be flirting when it is a guy and girl talking, but mostly it is just an informal hello.

casper said:

thanks this is great, there's this mexican girl, she tells me that I should say this to other mexican girls.Que onda, primo'I googled it, and it seems like what's going on cousin? is that correct? or is there other flirtatious meaning to it.

>

1 Vote

Love this! So funny.

1 Vote

You are right LadyDi that's very mexican
I dont think that expressions are used in some other countries (not exactly those)
Your definitions about it are just perfect, It is the real meaning in english

Chegx

LadyDi said:

I don't know if these qualify as "Mexican slang" but they seem to be said predominately by people from Mexico.Examples:"Se supone que iba a llegar luego luego." The first time I heard this, I was baffled. I learned soon after that it means "He was supposed to get there right away"."A poco te vas a poner eso." This expression might come in handy. It means "Are you really going to wear that'" or "You're not really going to wear that, are you'"

>

0 Vote

Thanks, Neil, for the Mexican vs Peninsular word list. Also the slang as at least I'll know what these expressions mean.

And now a couple Q's about some of the slang.

1) Ummm are these madre, pinche, and chinga expressions used much in mixed company, or mostly among the guys?

2) And what, please, are "mames" and "manches"? ("¬°ay, no mames!" "come off it!" or, more euphemistically, "¬°no manches!")

0 Vote

Hi MJ. The words in your question #1 can be said by females and males but I would make sure your audience doesn't have sensitive ears because they're what one might consider colorful language. smile

0 Vote

MJ yes no manches or no mam.. is like ohhhh come onnnnn
we say no manches instead of mam.... cuz is a bad word

you do the same with freaking and f.....

Chegx

0 Vote

hahaha! I love it! I learned alot of my spanish "en las calles de Tijuana" I call it street spanish, and was very greatful to be able to understand everyone who was talking around me know matter who they were even los cholos. Even now my mexican cousins ( by marriage, I am not mexican myself) still laugh at me when I take them by surprise with some of the slang I come up with... LOL.. Like ... voy a jalar.... jalar means "to pull" but they use it as , I am going to work. Que guacho! How terrible! I sometimes got myself into trouble when using the slang words in the presence of more educated company but it was all worth it! LOL

0 Vote

Obviously it's very subjective, but I'd say that 'pinche' is a bit like 'bloody'/'damned' in English: some people would avoid the word, and you'd avoid it in polite company, but between friends it's not terribly vulgar or offensive. If you want to tone it down slightly, you can use the euphemistic variant 'chinche'.

The expressions with 'madre' are perhaps a 'notch up' in vulgarity, but most people still wouldn't find them terribly shocking. The expressions based around 'chingar'/'chingada' are maybe a notch up again in vulgarity from 'madre', probably on the level of 'fuck', 'shit' in English.

Of course, there aren't really "notches", and how appropriate these words are depends on the particular context and the particular relationship you have with the people you're speaking to. There are probably Mexican offices where every 5th word uttered starts with "ching-"...

MJ said:

Thanks, Neil, for the Mexican vs Peninsular word list. Also the slang as at least I'll know what these expressions mean.

And now a couple Q's about some of the slang.

1) Ummm are these madre, pinche, and chinga expressions used much in mixed company, or mostly among the guys?

2) And what, please, are "mames" and "manches"? ("¬°ay, no mames!" "come off it!" or, more euphemistically, "¬°no manches!")

>

0 Vote

Great page really interesting. mucho gracious.

0 Vote

I was never really interested in slang. But this discussion maybe me interested. Gracias.

0 Vote

Chegx, ¬Ņsabes qu√© quiere decir plagio? Este hilo s√≠ es divertido e interesante, pero si vas a poner algo escrito por otra persona, debes dec√≠rnoslo desde el principio. Lo que has puesto viene del siguiente sitio, escrito por Nancy Seeley.

http://www.adip.info/2005_2006/mar/10-slang.html

Pero tengo unas preguntas sobre esta frase.

Si montas un camello, no te vallan a salir ampollas en las nalgas.

1) Why does this saying appear so infrequently on the Internet, and usually in English sites dealing with Spanish? Makes me think it isn't really used much in Mexico.
2) Why is it montar un camello, instead of montar a camello, as in montar a caballo?
3) What is the verb? If it is vallar, it makes no sense. If it is supposed to be "vayan," that would be a negative command, which doesn't make sense, either.
4) Why is the second part of the saying in the negative? The positive form would make sense, but the negative does not.

I smell fish. Stinky fish.

0 Vote

Hey mi estimado James!
Estás en lo correcto, ese artículo ya lo había leído mucho antes de conocer éste sitio y me pareció divertido, simplemente lo copié para compartirlo con mis amigos aquí!!!
Creo que tu y Samdie se tienen que tomar un respiro y relajarse un poco amigos!! ésto es un foro y se es libre de poner lo que se plasca! mientras no infrinja las reglas del sitio claro smile
El foro No son los archivos del FBI o una investgación interestelar de la NASA, simplemente somos jóvenes tratando de aprender idiomas y divertirnos un poco, relájense hombre smile
Por lo del olor a pescado creo que puede ser en tu casa!! revisa bien amigo!

Si montas un camello, no te vallan a salir ampollas en las nalgas.

1) Why does this saying appear so infrequently on the Internet, and usually in English sites dealing with Spanish? Makes me think it isn't really used much in Mexico.
R: mmm en realidad no se que quiere decir esa frase ya que es probable que tenga un doble sentido
no es usado en Mex, pero si lo he escuchado alguna vez de gente naca generalmente

2) Why is it montar un camello, instead of montar a camello, as in montar a caballo?
R: Montar a caballo - es más como... la acción en conjunto, por ejm:
"Uno de mis hobbies es montar a caballo, salir con amigos..." no es conveniente decir montar UN caballo (especifico), la gente te preguntaría UN caballo? que tipo de caballo'? o.... Un caballo nada más? no 2 ni 3 ni 4? o tienes UN caballo favorito?
ejemplo con UN
"Me gusta montar un caballo alaz√°n" no puedes decir a caballo alazan
"Ella tiene un caballo negro"
En el caso de tu enunciado "si montas UN camello" se refieren a alg√ļn camello que podr√≠as o no montar en el futuro, es como una sugerencia/adevertencia

3) What is the verb? If it is vallar, it makes no sense. If it is supposed to be "vayan," that would be a negative command, which doesn't make sense, either.
R: Vallar? creo que cometiste un error y quisiste decir Vallan'... estás en lo correcto, ... es -vayan- del verbo IR.... valla es otra cosa y vallan creo que no existe esa palabra... por lo mismo que te comenté que éste tipo de frases son usadas por nacos o gente de bajo perfíl que a veces no han cursado ni la primaria, es "normal" que tengan faltas de ortografía al momento de escribirlo

4) Why is the second part of the saying in the negative? The positive form would make sense, but the negative does not.
R: A veces se usa el NO en esos casos para hacer una advertencia/aviso
"No entres!! no te vaya a morder el perro"
en el caso de tu enunciado:
"Si montas un camello -cuidate- no te vayan a salir... or si montas un camello espero que no te vayan a salir....

Saluods a todooooossss relaxxx!! jaja smile
Chegx

0 Vote

R: Vallar? creo que cometiste un error y quisiste decir Vallan'

No, I meant to write vallar, because what you posted says vallan, and that would have to be from the verb vallar (which does exist), since there is no verb valler or vallir.

R: A veces se usa el NO en esos casos para hacer una advertencia/aviso
"No entres!! no te vaya a morder el perro"
en el caso de tu enunciado:
"Si montas un camello -cuidate- no te vayan a salir... or si montas un camello espero que no te vayan a salir....

OK, thanks, that's helpful.

As for me relaxing, I think I'm pretty relaxed. I just think that people shouldn't quote big chunks of text without telling us that it's a quote, because we will react differently if it is written by the poster and if it is written by someone else. Plus, it's common courtesy to give credit to the original writer. I realize that this is a casual forum, but I still think this applies here. Others may disagree.

Thanks for the reply.

0 Vote

done!!! smile

Saludos a todoooossss!!

0 Vote

y besos a tigrin You're a good sport.

Now how does one express that in Spanish? I'm going to bet that there is appropriate slang.

Chegx said:

done!!! smile Saludos a todoooossss!!

>

0 Vote

You're a good sport.
Now how does one express that in Spanish? I'm going to bet that there is appropriate slang.

You might lose that bet. In the sense of someone flexibly going along with something, without putting up a fuss, I don't think there is an exact equivalent in Spanish. "Ser un buen perdedor" is used in the sense of knowing how to lose graciously, but that is different from the sense here.

I think in the same situation, a native might just say something like "Eres buena gente" or, in Mexico, "Eres buena onda."

And I agree, Chegx does seem like a good sport, and it's good to have him here.

0 Vote

Este hilo se ha incluído en los FAQ a petición popularsmile

0 Vote

Hi Chegx,
Thanks for referring this discussion to me. It is very interesting. However, I am surprised that with all the talk about Mexican slang no one has mentioned the word 'pedo'. From what I understand there are a number of slang expressions in Mexico that use the word 'pedo'. Would anyone like to comment'

0 Vote

Karen Swaffield said:

Thanks for referring this discussion to me. It is very interesting. However, I am surprised that with all the talk about Mexican slang no one has mentioned the word 'pedo'. From what I understand there are a number of slang expressions in Mexico that use the word 'pedo'. Would anyone like to comment?
Ah, but are they Mexican slang (peculiar to or characteristic of Mexico) or just slang expressions in Spanish'

0 Vote

I know someone who says "chispas" (sparks) in place of that other "chi''''" word under discussion here. smile Same idea.

Chegx said:

MJ yes no manches or no mam.. is like ohhhh come onnnnn we say no manches instead of mam.... cuz is a bad word

you do the same with freaking and f.....

Chegx

>

0 Vote

samdie said:

Ah, but are they Mexican slang (peculiar to or characteristic of Mexico) or just slang expressions in Spanish?

Hi Sam, this is Mexican slang, many expressions would mean nothing in Spain.

The word pedo used above by Karen for example in Spains simply means: to be drunk

Tiene un pedo no veas...he is sooooo drunk.

MJ has created a very nice vocabulary list on these expressions.

[url=http://my.spanishdict.com/vocabulary/vocabulary/show'id=1710195%3ATermList%3A1127554]Mexican slang[/url]

0 Vote

For what it's worth, "pedo" is also common in Mexico. A related Mexican slang word which maybe isn't so common across the pond is "chupar" = "to booze, drink (alcohol)" (as well as obviously its normal non-slang meaning). For example: "estuvieron chupando toda la noche" = "they were boozing away all night". If you need to go to the supermarket for some alcofrolic supplies, then instead of going "al super", you could thus go "al chuper". And by extension, a gas-guzzling car would be described as "chupagasolina" (but maybe this expression is also used in Spain')

Heidita said:

samdie said:

Ah, but are they Mexican slang (peculiar to or characteristic of Mexico) or just slang expressions in Spanish?

Hi Sam, this is Mexican slang, many expressions would mean nothing in Spain.

The word pedo used above by Karen for example in Spains simply means: to be drunk

Tiene un pedo no veas...he is sooooo drunk.

MJ has created a very nice vocabulary list on these expressions.

[url=http://my.spanishdict.com/vocabulary/vocabulary/show'id=1710195%3ATermList%3A1127554]Mexican slang[/url]

>

0 Vote

Hi, I was recently in Cabo San Lucas. It was my first visit to Mexico and I was sitting on the beach at a cantina.I attempted to ask the waiter (in my horrible Span-glish) if I could write a sign that would convey to the various vendors on the beach that I wasn't interested in buying anything. I really was getting exhausted trying to be polite and just enjoy the beach. He returned with a little sign he made that read, "No Gracias. Soy peijos". I hope that is an idiomatic expression smile We laughed but I wasn't sure if it meant that I was saying I had lice'? The waiter tried to tell me that it meant I had no more money; he motioned at his elbow as well. Some of the vendors had quite a laugh as well.

Any help appreciated. Now you know why I am here. I need to learn to speak Spanish properly and understand what is being said to me as well.

0 Vote

He returned with a little sign he made that read, "No Gracias. Soy peijos". I hope that is an idiomatic expression smile We laughed but I wasn't sure if it meant that I was saying I had lice'? The waiter tried to tell me that it meant I had no more money; he motioned at his elbow as well. Some of the vendors had quite a laugh as well.

Lice is piojos (although piejos does seem to be a variation on piojos, peijos is not), and peijo doesn't seem to be a Spanish word. I know a number of ways to say "broke," but none involves the elbow/codo. So I have no idea what your waiter was trying to say, but I'm guessing that you aren't remembering it correctly.

0 Vote

"...he motioned at his elbow as well."

This is a gesture meaning "cheap" as "codo" which technically means "elbow" is also slang for "cheap or cheapskate".

0 Vote

LadyDi said:

"...he motioned at his elbow as well." This is a gesture meaning "cheap" as "codo" which technically means "elbow" is also slang for "cheap or cheapskate".

Nice one! I almost said the same thing, since I remember seeing people do that in Mexico, but I wanted to confirm my memory, so I checked several references, but not one listed that meaning for codo. I think I remember hearing people use in as a question, as "¬ŅTe duele el codo'" Do you know how codo came to be associated with cheapness? I understand its connection to drinking, but not cheapness. To cheap to bend your elbow and reach into your pocket?

But what do you think her "peijos" could mean'

0 Vote

But what do you think her "peijos" could mean'

It's a stretch but it looks like "pellejos". I don't know.

0 Vote

Me again,
I DID misspell that word, it's "piojo". Strange coincidence; motioning down from the palm of your hand to your elbow also means 'cheap' in American sign language.

0 Vote

Amy Gonsalves said:

Me again, I DID misspell that word, it's "piojo".

I have no idea how piojos could be related to being broke or cheap. If you really want to know, I suggest you open a new thread to ask about this.

0 Vote

Thank you

James Santiago said:

Amy Gonsalves said:

Me again, I DID misspell that word, it's "piojo".

I have no idea how piojos could be related to being broke or cheap. If you really want to know, I suggest you open a new thread to ask about this.

>

0 Vote

*[i]Very good link para mexican slangs!

Las traducciones son mUy buenAs!*[/i]
LINK -- http://www.mexicoguru.com/mexican-slang.php

0 Vote

Todo lo dicho es muy cierto y completo. La expresión no hay de queso, nomás de papa además es utilizada para responder no hay de qué cuando alguien te da las gracias por algo.

- Gracias por traerme
-No hay de queso, nom√°s de papa

0 Vote

Tocallo supposedly means "someone with the same name as yourself."
"¬°Hola, Tocallo! Como est√°s."

0 Vote

Correction: it is spelled "tocayo."

0 Vote

Forget about the expression "No hay de queso, no mas de papas" All the other ones mentioned will be very useful, but "no hay de queso, no mas de papas" it is a slang used 30 years ago and you will never ever hear about it again.. It was used in a very successful "soap opera" and that was it, never been used in a "regular" conversation... so, i highly recommend not even to slightly consider it... most people won't understand what are you talking about, UNLESS you are talking about THAT famous soap opera

0 Vote

who wants to see a list of spanish-mexican slang?

0 Vote

i would love to put the mexican slang up for you all.

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