You will sound more authentic when you speak Spanish if you are familiar with Mexican slang. Learning regional variations is one of the most challenging parts of learning any language, particularly when it comes to slang. Given the diversity of Spanish dialects, this is particularly true.
Due to North America’s proximity to Mexico, you probably know more Mexican Spanish and slang than anyone else. And Mexican Spanish has been influenced by English in turn. Mexican Spanish has the greatest number of English terms out of all the regional varieties.
Use these Mexican slang terms with caution if you are learning Spanish for the first time. Some of them should not be used around strangers or even your family. Although learning slang is entertaining, if you are just learning Spanish, we suggest that you start with the most basic words and phrases so that you can start speaking Spanish right away.
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Now let’s start learning some interesting Mexican slang.
Wey – “Dude”
Let’s begin with the most widely used slang phrase in Mexico. When speaking to friends, Wey means “dude.” It can also be used to refer to a guy in general or to call someone a “bro.” Even though it’s sometimes spelled güey, the pronunciation and meaning are the same.
It is common to greet a friend in Mexico with ¿Qué onda, wey?
It can also be used as an exclamation, like Wey, ¿viste eso? which means, “Bro, did you see that?”
Take another example:
Estaba estudiando español, y wey esta frase fue muy difícil …
“I was studying Spanish, and like, this phrase was really difficult…”
You may also hear vato in Mexican slang, but it’s not as common as wey. It is more cholo, or gangster.
¿Qué onda? – “What’s up?”
Like ¿Qué tal? or ¿Qué pasa? in Spain, this means “What’s up?” in Spanish. ¿Qué onda? Literally means “What wave?” like, “What wave you riding, dude?” or “How’s it hangin’?”
You can use ¿Qué pedo?, which also means “What’s up?” But pedo means “fart”, so the actual translation is “What fart?”
No Manches – “No Way” or “For Real”
This is an exclamation that is frequently used when someone is narrating a story to you. No manches is the equivalent of English phrases like “No way,” “For real,” and “Are you serious?” in Mexican Spanish.
No Mames – “No Way!”
The exclamation no mames is used similarly, but it is stronger. It sounds more like “No fucking way!” This one carries a heavy connotation, so use caution.
Pinche – “Fucking” or “The Worst”
When something is described as “the worst,” “ugly,” or “awful,” pinche is used. Or it could be a cuss word that gets stronger, like “fucking” in English. This word, in addition to wey, is a dead giveaway that someone is from Mexico.
Before using such slang, it is essential to have detailed research on Spanish-speaking countries and their cultures.
La Neta – “The Truth”
La neta is slang for “the truth,” but it also has other connotations. When used like ¿Es neta? it can be an interjection that means “For real?” or “No way!”
Eres la neta, which roughly translates to “you’re amazing” or “you’re trustworthy,” can be used to thank someone for a favor.
Fresa – “Snobby”
Fresa usually means “strawberry”. But when you call someone fresa, it means they are snobby or from a rich family.
Pendejo – “Dumbass”
The literal translations of this one include “asshole” and “pubic hair.” However, when used in jest or otherwise, this term denotes “you’re stupid,” “dumbass,” or “idiot.”
¿Cuándo vas a dejar de actuar estúpido?
“When are you going to stop acting stupid?”
Carnal – “Buddy”
This word is used between close guy friends, or “bros”, to call each other “buddy” or “pal”. When used toward a stranger, it comes off as a little threatening. It’s kind of like calling someone out and letting them know you can see right through them and what they are up to when you say it to a complete stranger.
Chamaco / Chamaca – “The Kid”
This is Mexican slang for a young person, typically one who is annoying or a bit of a punk. For example:
Ese chamaca necesita calmarse. Me estoy irritando.
“That kid needs to calm down. I’m getting irritated.”
Gacho – “Uncool”
To be completely uncool or even sloppy is referred to as gacho or gacha. For example:
El cine era muy gacho. No lo recomiendo.
“That movie was so lame. I wouldn’t recommend it.”
Aguas – “Watch Out!”
This is a slang expression for “Watch out!” or “Be careful!” which means “waters” when used as an exclamation. You can substitute this for ayuda.
Although it might seem odd, it dates back to a time when people would throw their sewage out the window onto the street. When they were about to empty el bacn, also known as their “chamber pot” from the past, they would signal others by saying aguas.
Chancla – The Mom Beating
This one is more of a cultural allusion than a slang term. Chancla is Spanish for “flip flop,” but in Mexican culture, it has taken on the role of every madre’s go-to weapon. For example:
¡Aguas! Chanclas de mamá!
Watch out! Mom’s flip flops!
Jaina – “Chick”
This means “chick” or “chica”. For example:
¿Qué tal, jaina?
“What’s up, chick?”
Here are some crucial Mexican slang expressions that you should be aware of. For instance, Mexican TV programs frequently use these.
Me Vale Madres – “I Don’t Care”
This phrase literally means “I don’t care mothers,” but “I don’t give a fuck” or “I don’t care, motherfucker” would be a better translation.
A Huevo – “Hell Yeah”
The phrase “of course,” “hell yeah,” or “fuck yeah” are used when you are enthusiastically in agreement. The correct translation is “to egg.”
In Spanish, “testicles,” which we refer to as “balls” in English, are called “huevos.” Therefore, there are many other foul or offensive phrases associated with Huevo. Like Qué huevos, which roughly translates to “What balls!” when describing a courageous act.
Eso que ni qué – “No Doubt About It”
Literally, this phrase means “That what or what.” or “That which neither what.” It is a slang expression that means “There is no doubt about it.”
A La Verga – “Aw, Shit”
Another slang using verga, this time it’s an exclamation. When something goes wrong, you can say ¡A la verga! The actual meaning is “to cock”, so it basically means the same as “it went to shit” or “shit hit the fan” in English.
Tu es Chismosa – “You’re a Gossip”
This one stems from chisme, which means “gossip”. But if you want to call someone a gossip, you would say tu es chismosa or tu es chismoso.
Frequently asked questions about Mexican slang
Q. What is the Mexican slang word for cool ‘?
A. Chido. Chido means cool, and awesome.
Q. What is a Papi?
A. Papi is a colloquial term for “daddy” in Spanish, but in many Spanish-speaking cultures, particularly in the Caribbean, it is often used as a general term of affection for any man, whether it’s a relative, friend, or lover.
Q. How do you swear in Mexican?
A. Qué Cabrón, Tonto del culo, Gilipollas, Pollas en vinagre. There are several other phrases to swear in Mexican.
If you want to get immersed in a foreign culture, try learning Mexican slang, Colombian slang, and other formal and informal phrases. Knowing such words and phrases allow you to understand people in a better way.
Try engaging in Spanish dialects to understand people and the kind of conversations they have in a particular situation. Remember learning ant foreign language doesn’t only mean knowing all the formal phrases. In fact, knowing the informal words and phrases are equally important.
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