Spanish Slang Words: 159 of the Best | Mexican, Cuban & more (2023)

So you're well on your way to learning Spanish and you're proud of your progress in the classroom. Then suddenly you try to have a conversation with someone whose native language is Spanish - and your pride is shattered.Wasdid you just say?

If this has happened to you before, don't worry! It probably means you have to learn somethingSpanish jargonunderstand informal Spanish vocabulary.Spanishis natively spoken in over 20 countries and has even more native speakers than English, making it an incredibly diverse language with many different slang words and phrases.

Spanish Slang Words: 159 of the Best | Mexican, Cuban & more (1)

Let us walk you through some of the most popular onesSpanish colloquial words and phrasesthroughout Latin America and Europe. We cover popular Spanish slang for friend, Spanish slang for cool, Spanish slang for texting, and more. We'll also break down some of the most popular slangs per country, so you'll know what to say next time you visit.

With this nifty guide, you'll soon be able to have casual conversations like a local!

Why you should know Spanish slang

There are over 20 Spanish-speaking countries worldwide. Just as English-speaking countries like the US, UK, and Australia have unique slang, different countries in Latin America and Europe have different Spanish slang words.

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Learning a variety of Spanish slang phrases will allow you to:

  • Travel comfortably through Latin America and Spain.
  • Save yourself some embarrassing situations by not knowing the local Spanish slang.
  • Communicate more effectively and naturally with locals.
  • Sounds more like a fluent speaker.
  • Understand local memes and internet jokes!
  • Watch YouTube videos, TV shows and other colloquial digital media from different countries.

Although learning slang Spanish can seem daunting, it is also a fun experience that will open many doors for you in your Spanish learning journey.

Download our free guide to Spanish slang!

Spanish Slang Words: 159 of the Best | Mexican, Cuban & more (2)

Spanish jargon

Now that you're excited about learning Spanish slang, let's get into it. We coverthe most popular Spanish slang words and phrasesand provide their English translation and Spanish pronunciation for English speakers. Essentially, we're going to recreate the sounds with English words so you know how to say each word without having to imitate a native speaker!

Remember that Spanish slang is pronounced differently in each country. For example, Spaniards generally pronounce the letterCAs athwhile Mexicans pronounce it asS. The Spanish pronunciation column in the tables below reflects the local pronunciation for each country for accuracy.

Spanish colloquial words

Spanish is a heavily regionalized language, so most countries have their own slang. Some colloquial words can even have completely different meanings in different countries.

Before we get into country-specific slang, here are some Spanish slang words that are pretty universal.

Spanish colloquial wordSpanish pronunciationEnglish meaning
good guybweh-nah-zohReally good
To blameyou-noA thing
OjoOh hoDanger
QuestionsMahn-dehWhat? / Come back?

Common Spanish slang phrases

Spanish slang phrases are also highly dependent on the country. Many nationals have slightly (or very!) different ways of saying things. Here are some common slang phrases that can be understood fairly well in almost any Spanish speaking country.

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Spanish colloquial phraseSpanish pronunciationEnglish meaning
To insert the batteriesPoh-nehr-seh las pee-lasTo increase it
Talk nineteen to the dozenAh-blahr for go coh-dosBe very talkative
Give a helping handEh-chahr oo-nah mah-neinTo help someone
JiltDeh-har plahn-tah-dohlift someone up
drop fatkah-ehr gor-dohdislike someone
Mala pataMah-la Pah-tahBad luck

Spanish slang forFreund

when you studySpanish, you probably know thatFreundis the word for "friend". However, did you know that there are dozens of other ways you can relate to your friends? Below are some of the most common Spanish slang terms for "friend" including the country where each word is used.

Spanish slang for friendSpanish pronunciationCountry where it is used
WeilThe couple caseColombia.
TasteYa-vehChile and Colombia
CompaCome onMexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Argentina.
DudeKwah-TeeMexico, Venezuela, Guatemala, Bolivia.
eavesAh-and-roGuatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
BisPah-nahPanama, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and more.
BrotherEr-mah-neinPractically all of Latin America.
PataPah-taCuba, Peru, Bolivia and Chile.
CarnalCarnalMexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Argentina.
BrotherBro-dehrMost of Latin America.

Spanish slang forCool

One of the first things you'll notice about Spanish slang words is that most countries have different ways of saying cool. Our chart below will prepare you for coolness with the Spanish slang you need to survive anywhere.

Spanish slang for coolSpanish pronunciationCountry where it is used
BarbarBar-bah rowArgentina and Uruguay.
CoolBoo-eh-nah On-daChile, Mexico and Argentina.
MineCah-che-tehChile and Costa Rica.
CoolChe-veh-rehMost of Latin America.
billy goatChee-voThe saviour.
GuyGoo-ISpain and parts of Mexico.
PichudoPee-choo-dohCosta Rica.
PiolaPee-oh-laArgentina and Chile.
at the topToh-pee-see-moChile.
Tuani'sToo-ah-KneeCosta Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

Free downloadable guide to Spanish slang

We've made a list of popular slang words and phrases so you can start sounding like it and connect with Spanish locals. This slang guide will take your Spanish learning to the next level.

Spanish Slang Words: 159 of the Best | Mexican, Cuban & more (3)

Other country-specific Spanish slang

Mexican slang

Mexican slang wordPronunciationEnglish meaning
ChelaThat theBier
Naturally!Ah weh-vohDamn yes!
punishmentChee-lan-goSomeone from Mexico City
ReallyNo human chessNo way
Güey/WeyGoo-ay / woo-ayAlter
networkNeh-tahReally? / The truth
At the momentAh-oh-ree-tahAt this very moment
saleSah-lehOK sure

Colombian slang

Colombian slang wordSpanish pronunciationEnglish meaning
The patchSie par-cheA group of friends
untilPoh-lahsSome beers
ApeChan-gohGo dancing
the TombosCome on Tom-BohsThe police
That's it!foot-laInjury!
a fourteenOon kah-tor-seA favor
ChinoByeA child
TintoTeenager-tohBlack coffee

Cuban slang

Cuban slang wordSpanish pronunciationEnglish meaning
YumaYoo-maA foreigner who is not from Latin America.
A buddyOon ma-tehFrench kiss.
We have plundered!No-s pee-ya-mosSee you soon!
your briefcase!Zu mah-and-teenThat's your problem!
I'm slidingMeh Res-bah-laI do not care
¡ Chao pescao!Cha-oh pis-kah-ohGood bye!
Must scoreMeh pee-roI'm leaving
billy goatChee-voBicycle

Peruvian dialect

Peruanisches SlangwortSpanish pronunciationEnglish meaning
At the momentAl toh-kehVery fast
roast meatAh-sah-dohFurious
BeatGree-fohGas station
Nowoe-veh-areActively doing nothing
PinaPee-n-yahSomeone with bad luck
PitucoPee-too-kohA rich person

Argentinischer Jargon

argentinisches SlangwortSpanish pronunciationEnglish meaning
child / girlPee-beh / Pee-bahguy / girl
This oneWah-choSchlingel
dickGrowThe best
have strawTen-water-pah-hafeeling lazy
have bad milkTen air mal-ah Lay-chebe unlucky
coatingFor rowIdiot
The willVo-lahLeave!

Chilenischer Jargon

Chilenisches SlangwortSpanish pronunciationEnglish meaning
StockUh-n-uMale cat
Pololo / PololaPoh-low-low / Pow-low-laBoyfriend Boyfriend Girlfriend
MinaMee-nahYoung woman
LukasLoo-kah1,000 Pesos
FiloFee-loIn order
Good lookingBoo-and-mo-soSchön

Venezuelan jargon

Venezuelan slang wordSpanish pronunciationEnglish meaning
Financial supportCha-moAlter
OfThen teamNaturally!
A toolCheem-boCheap or inferior.
HereDrill-daVery / really.
Mixed upMa-ma-ra-choA ridiculous thing or person
WantCho-rowA thief or criminal
MausRa-TonneMale cat
QuedaoKay-da-ohA slow person (mentally)
far awayLa-dee-ya-dohTo be annoyed

Spanish slang in Spain

Spanish colloquial wordSpanish pronunciationEnglish meaning
freak outFlee-parGetting crazy
Come!friend-gahLet's go!
KindCha-vah-lA child
BreadedEm-pa-nah-dohSomeone slow (mentally)
become angryKah-breh-are-sehTo get mad
shabbyKoo-trehopposite of sweet
AltThe Vee-eh-hosMy parents
PuentePoo-en-tehA long weekend

Other Spanish slang from places not mentioned above

Spanish colloquial wordSpanish pronunciationEnglish meaningCountry where it is used
MaeMayAlterCosta Rica
Tico/TicaTee-co / Tee-caA person from Costa Rica.Costa Rica
That's it!Dee-jaAn exclamation word expressing confusion.Costa Rica
TiguereTee-guh-rehA street smart person.Dominican Republic
grocery storeKohl-ma-dohA corner storeDominican Republic
soughtDear ChaA celebrationDominican Republic
¡Chendo!Chen-dohJust kidding!Ecuador
bayCal-seh-tahouse or homeEcuador
MeatChoo-choDogThe saviour
¡ Puchika!Poo-chee-caDamned!The saviour
Everyone / YouChe-ro / Che-raguy / girlThe saviour
OffiOh feeOkayPanama
Which soup?Kay So-pahWhat works?Panama
ChupataChoo-pah-taA celebrationPanama

Frequently asked questions about Spanish slang

What is Spanish SMS Slang?

Just as English speakers use LOL, TTYL, and ILY when texting, Spanish speakers use a lot of slang when messaging each other. Here are some of the most common Spanish SMS slang acronyms you should know.

Spanish SMS slangSpanish meaningEnglish meaning
XVonFrom / why
TQM/TKMI love you so muchI like you very much (friendly)
KYTBe quietKeep your mouth shut
TBso good / all goodThat's okay / everything is fine

What is Spanish slang for money?

As you can imagine, there are many different Spanish slang words for money. Here are some of the most common ones so you never get caught off-guard when it comes to money:

  • Baro
  • Lana
  • ticket
  • copper
  • Morralla
  • Happy
  • balls
  • Feria

What is Spanish slang for girlfriend?

Spanish Slang Words: 159 of the Best | Mexican, Cuban & more (4)

Calling your girlfriend with a cute slang name is common across Latin America. If you're trying to impress your Hispanic girlfriend, try calling her one of the following Spanish slang words for girlfriend:

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  • My life
  • My princess
  • my girl
  • The owner of my fortnight
  • My girlfriend

When is it Appropriate to Use Spanish Slang?

Spanish slang should be strictly limited to casual and informal conversation. You should never use slang in a formal setting, such as school, work, or any formal setting. Always try to limit the amount of slang you use when first meeting someone with higher authority than you, like your boss, your spouse's parents, or public officials.

Read our post on formal and informal greetings in Spanish hereif you are looking for expert guidance.

Tips for learning colloquial Spanish

Spanish Slang Words: 159 of the Best | Mexican, Cuban & more (5)

Learning Spanish slang is one of the few things you most likely can't accomplish in a classroom setting. No matter howImprove your Spanish lessonsIf you are, you probably won't spend a lot of time learning Spanish slang as you will focus on grammar structures and vocabulary instead.

Here are some great tips to improve your knowledge of Spanish slang so you become more like a native speaker.

Find Spanish speaking friends

The best way to learn Spanish slang is through practice. Making Spanish-speaking friends and communicating with them constantly is the best way to improve your understanding of Spanish slang.

Will you have trouble understanding slang as it occurs naturally in conversation? Secure. Could you be embarrassed if you abuse slang? It happens! But the best way to learn slang is through trial and error. Just keep talking to your Spanish-speaking friends and you'll soon pick up and master every slang word they use.

Spanish Slang Words: 159 of the Best | Mexican, Cuban & more (6)

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Immerse yourself in the language

Fulllanguage deepeningis a great way to improve your language skills all round. If you're trying to expand your Spanish slang vocabulary, there's no better way than to expose yourself to everyday conversations where slang is most likely to appear naturally.

When full physical immersion is not possible due to work or family commitments, you can do your best to transform your life into a Spanish-speaking environment.

You can do this by:

  • listen to spanish music
  • Watch Spanish TV shows.
  • Listen to Spanish podcasts.
  • Reading Spanish books, especially novels.
  • Watch YouTube videos from Spanish YouTubers.

All of these are excellent ways to increase the amount of Spanish slang you are exposed to on a regular basis.

Read informal online forums

One of the problems with reading books to increase your exposure to Spanish slang is that they tend to be heavily edited and written in basic Spanish. A great way to get around this is to read what native speakers write and post online without filtering. Online forums are an ideal place for this.

If you have hobbies or passions, chances are there are many Spanish language forums online that you will find interesting. Google some of your interests in Spanish plus the word "went' and you're sure to find an exciting website with lots of native content for you to consume!

Some final key takeaways

Learning Spanish slang words can take your language skills to the next level. Just knowing how to put sentences together and use textbook vocabulary will not be enough to master daily life in Spain, Latin America or other dominant Spanish-speaking regions.

Luckily, learning slang Spanish is now easier than ever thanks to the internet and how you can mimic immersion from the comfort of your own home.

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We hope you found thisguidewith Spanish slang phrases constructive and entertaining. If you are traveling to any of the countries featured in our guide, we strongly recommend that you memorize each slang word for that country before you visit - and bookmark this page and come back to it regularly!

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