How to Sound like a Local in Mexico
Since Spanish is spoken in various countries around the world, the language as a whole is extremely diverse. Some varieties of Spanish slang words are more common in certain regions than others, like Mexican Spanish in the United States and, of course, Mexico! With its beautiful beaches and rich culture, Mexico is a popular tourist spot.
If you’re planning on visiting this amazing country, we have a list of words and phrases to help you fit in when you go!
¿Qué onda? = What’s up?
¡No manches! = No way!
Used to express disbelief, much like Get out of here! or Are you kidding me?, this phrase literally translates to Don’t stain. No manches isn’t usually considered vulgar, but be aware that people who aren’t close friends or family might get offended by it. The more vulgar version, if you’re wondering, is No mames, which literally translates to Don’t suck.
¡Aguas! = Watch out!
Literally meaning Waters!, the phrase ¡Aguas! is the best way of telling someone to look out or to be careful. Definitely use this if your friends are doing something risky and you want them to be careful. Conversely, if someone says this to you, make sure to dip, duck, dive, and dodge the possible danger ahead.
Chela = Beer
Estar pedo = To be drunk
Estar pedo is another phrase that is pretty straightforward, too, even if the literal translation is to be fart. While the phrase sounds a bit strange, it’s also useful for vacationing or clubbing in Mexico, especially if you’ve had several chelas.
Estar crudo = To be hungover
Now that you’ve learned how to say estoy pedo in Mexican Spanish, it’s time to learn how to talk about being hungover. The literal translation of this phrase is to be raw, a feeling you'll understand if you've ever had one too many tragos, or drinks.
Güey = Dude
If you’re around Mexicans, you’ll hear güey over and over again, which is essentially the equivalent of dude. Carnal is similar, but it’s usually reserved for people with whom you have a closer relationship, so it’s more like an affectionate bro.
¡Órale! = Come on!
There is no exact translation for this word, but phrases like Right on! and Way to go! come pretty close. Words like awesome and okay are slightly more of a stretch, but are also acceptable translations of ¡Órale!. You can even use this phrase to get someone to hurry up or move faster because it also means Come on!
Camión = Bus
In other Spanish-speaking countries, camión usually means truck. In Mexico, however, camión is the preferred word for bus. You should plan on using this word a lot if you're going to get around Mexico en camión (by bus), although you can also use the more formal term autobús.