Slang Essentials: 10 Fun Spanish Slang Phrases for Your Trip to Latin America
They say you haven’t truly conquered a new language until you know how to effortlessly swear or use slang. Slang in particular is a unique part of every language in the world and an important form of communication. You’re bound to be out of your depth if you travel to Latin America without knowing at least a little slang, so check out our list of Slang Essentials before you hit the road:
1. Echando la hueva = Throwing the egg
This phrase is most common in Mexico and is a way of telling someone when they’re being particularly lazy. In fact, huevón is used to say dude, idiot, or lazy idiot and you can also say Me da hueva (which literally means It gives me egg) to let someone know that you’re feeling too lazy to take on a particular task. Who knew egg could be used in so many creative ways?
2. Hazme un fa = Do me a favour
Hazme un fa is literally a shortened version of the phrase Hazme un favor (or Do me a favour). The same applies to por favor (please) which can be shortened to porfa. While Hazme un fa is most common in Colombia, people use the expression porfa in many Latin American countries!
3. Guácala = Nasty
I love throwing around the word Guácala because, let’s face it, it sounds pretty hilarious. This particular slang word can be found from Mexico to South America and is a great way to strongly express your disgust for something. It’s so much better than saying Ewwwwww, don’t you agree?
4. Buena Onda = Good waves
This expression can also be found across Latin America and has a particularly 60s vibe to it as, literally translated, it means Good waves or Good vibrations (anyone hearing the Beach Boys singing in their head right now?). However, remember that your onda can be either good (buena) or bad (mala), so be cool, man!
5. Qué padre = How father
While Qué padre’s literal translation is How father, its meaning is actually very, very different. This phrase can be understood to mean cool or awesome. Considering Mexicans tend to populate their day-to-day language pretty liberally with this phrase, it’s one you definitely shouldn’t forget.
6. Vivir en una nube de pedos = Live on a cloud of farts
This rather amusing expression is quite popular in Argentina and is meant to indicate when someone is out of touch with reality. It seems that Argentinians love their fart analogies, because it so happens that En pedo, another common slang term, means To be drunk while Ni en pedo (not even in farts) is a way to say No way in hell.
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7. Me vale madre = It’s worth a mother to me
This is one phrase that might be considered offensive, so avoid using it in formal settings. Me vale madre is a way to say I don’t care or It doesn’t matter to me. Perhaps one of the closest translations you can find in English is the expression: I don’t give a f***.
8. No manches = Don’t stain
You would probably find this expression confusing if you didn’t have any knowledge of Latin American slang, because it really doesn’t seem to make sense, does it? No manches is the slang term for No way, Get out of here, or Come on. It tends to be most popular in Mexico, although you may hear it in a few other Latin American countries as well.
9. Comiendo moscas = Eating flies
If you have the tendency to drift off during long, boring meetings, then you are comiendo moscas. In English, we usually say someone is sawing logs if they go to sleep, but somehow comiendo moscas is a much more puzzling slang term.
10. Más loco que una cabra con pollitos = Crazier than a goat with chicks
Let’s finish off our list of Latin American slang with a real doozy! This phrase is pretty straightforward and pretty much means what it says. If you’re the type to take part in daredevil activities with gusto, then you may be Más loco que una cabra con pollitos!
Is there are particular slang phrase or word in Spanish that you enjoy using? Share your favourites with us!
And if you’d like to learn more slang terms straight from a native speaker, we can help! Our professional tutors from all over Latin America can fill you in on every slang term you need to know for your future trips to this region. Just send us a message and we’ll pair you up with a teacher ready to prepare tailor-made lessons for you!