For more translations, check out our traductor inglés español!
Planning a trip to Chile? As you pack your bags and prepare to take in the sights, people, and culture of this amazing country, be sure to consult this list of common slang words and phrases! You’ll be partying with the locals in no time!
1. ¿Cachai? = You know?
You'll probably hear this at the end of every other sentence. It's used informally to engage in conversation, in the same way that you know is used in English.
Friend: Es un hombre muy ocupado, ¿cachai? (He's a very busy man, you know?)
You: Supongo que sí. Me parece que no tiene ni un minuto libre. (I guess so. It seems like he doesn't even have a free minute.)
2. Bacán= Cool/Awesome
Because every country has a different way to say cool, right? You’ll hear this word over and over again!
You: ¡Hay helado gratis ahora en el parque! (There's free ice cream right now in the park!)
Friend: ¡Bacán! ¡Vámonos! (Awesome! Let's go!)
3. Al tiro = Right away
Literally meaning at the shot, this phrase means that something is happening or is going to happen NOW.
You: ¡Me voy al tiro! (I'm going right away!)
Friend: ¡Apúrate! (Hurry!)
4. Flaite = Sketchy
This word can be used to describe dark alleys, abandoned houses, strange people at the bar - you get the picture! Just don't use it around anyone’s grandmother.
You: Este hombre nos ha seguido por dos cuadros. (That man has followed us for two blocks.)
Friend: Estamos en un lugar muy flaite... debemos correr. (We’re in a really sketchy place... we should run.)
5. Carretear/Carrete = to Party/Party
As opposed to fiesta, carrete typically implies alcohol. You can go de carrete, which means to go out, or you can go to a carrete, which implies that you’re only going to one place to party.
Friend: Vamos a salir de carrete esta noche, ¿cachai? (We're going to party tonight, you know?)
You: Por supuesto. No tengo que trabajar mañana. (Of course. I don't have to work tomorrow.)
6. ¡Sí, po! = Yeah, of course!
Po is an expression that comes from the word pues, meaning well (as in, well, of course!). You'll hear po (like ¡sí, po! or ¡no, po!) just as much as you'll hear cachai.
Friend: ¿Quieres ir a cenar con Celia esta noche? (Do you want to go have dinner with Celia tonight?)
You: ¡Sí, po! No la he visto por mucho tiempo. (Yeah, of course! I haven't seen her in a long time.)
7. ¡Qué lata! = How boring!
This phrase is used to describe something lame, boring, or dreadful. You can say it to a friend when s/he can’t go out, or maybe you’ll hear children say it when their parents make them pose for yet another photo.
Friend: Mañana tengo un examen en la clase de matemáticas. (Tomorrow I have a math test.)
You: ¡Qué lata! Iba a preguntarte si querías venir al cine conmigo esta noche. (How lame! I was going to ask you if you wanted to come to the movies with me tonight.)
8. Buena onda = Good vibe
Though this phrase literally means good wave, it’s used to describe people that you like. You can say that someone is buena onda, implying that s/he is likeable, or you can say that you have a buena onda with someone. Good vibes, good people… Why would you ever leave Chile?
You: ¿Conoces a Mario? Es muy buena onda. (Do you know Mario? He's really nice/cool.)
Friend: Sí, lo conozco del colegio. Es muy bacán. (Yes, I know him from school. He's really cool.)
9. Fome = Boring
This word is a casual way to say boring, used among friends and family. You don't ever want to be someone/somewhere/something fome.
Friend: Me voy al parque para jugar al fútbol. ¿Quieres venir conmigo? (I'm going to the park to play soccer. Want to come with me?)
You: No, no me gusta al fútbol. (No, I don't like soccer.)
Friend: ¡No seas fome! (Don't be boring!)
10. ¿Te tinca? = You think?
Tinca actually comes from the English word think, and this phrase is used to ask someone's opinion about something.
You: Quiero llevar este vestido negro al carrete. ¿Te tinca? (I want to wear this black dress to the party. What do you think?)
Friend: ¡Es perfecto! (It's perfect!)
Now you're ready to book your travels to Santiago or Valparaíso. Remember to take this list with you on your journey. Safe travels!
For other travel vocabulary lists, check out these related blog articles: