Spanish Slangs (México) | SpanishDict Answers
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6 Vote

Híjole! Qué onda? Ándale! Guácala!

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. ÿrale, 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, híjole 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", "¿qué 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 "¿qué 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 más.) 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, nomás de papas. I don't have any more made with cheese, only with potatoes. Used ever so often by el Chavo del Ocho. Órale, cuate, a ver cómo te quedó 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'!

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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'"

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