Mexico Travel Hacks

26 Mexican Slangs You Have to Know Before Visiting Mexico

26-mexican-slangs

Mexican Spanish is one of the most spoken Spanish in the world with at least 122 million people in just Mexico. During my journey of learning Spanish in Mexico, I had “discovered” a lot of interesting words that ONLY used in Mexico. Each of them is very unique and commonly used in Mexican society. Whenever you’re in Mexico and asked somebody there to teach you some Spanish, they would first think of teaching you the Mexican slang. Learning these slangs not only help you have a better understanding of Mexican Spanish, it also makes easier to get around Mexico and making more local friends.

1. Orale (Hell yeah)

  • oh-rah-leh

An affirmation, stronger word for yes, just like hell yeah.

Example

“Vamos al cine?” (let’s go to the cinema?)

“Orale!” (hell yeah!)

2. Cabrón (Dude/Bastard)

  • car-bron

Mainly used among close friend to replace their name. It might be offensive if you say this to somebody that’s not too close.

Example

“Como estas, cabrón?” (How are you, dude?)

“Eres un cabrón cuando te tardas de responder.” (You’re a bastard when you are late to answer.)

3. Guey (Bro/Dude)

  • wey

Similar usage as cabrón but this is more common to be heard in conversation and Mexican tends to use this a lot. It’s pronounced as “wey”

Example

“Guey, cual es tu problema?” (Bro, what’s your problem?)

“Guey, como te va?” (Dude, how are you?)  

4. Que Chido (Amazing/Awesome)

  • keh chee-doh

To express when you think something is amazing or cool.

Amazing, super, cool “que chido que alguien invento el whatsapp”

Example

“Que chido que alguien inventó el whatsapp.” (How amazing it is that somebody invented whatsapp.)

“Que chido que estes visitando Mexico.” (How awesome it is that you’re visiting Mexico.)

5. Que Padre (Amazing/Awesome/Cool)

  • keh pa-drey

It has the same meaning as “que chido” and it is less used.

Example

“Que padre que estas aprendiendo slangs.” (It’s cool that you’re learning slangs.”

6. Que Onda (What’s up?/That’s good!)

  • keh on-dah

There are two meaning for “que onda” depends on how you use it.

  1. In a question form: “Que onda?” it means what’s up?
  2. “Que buena onda” contains the meaning of telling something is great and have a good vibe.

Example

  1. “Que onda, guey?” (What’s up, bro?)
  2. “Que buena onda que viajes mucho.” (That’s good that you travel a lot.)

7. Que Pasó (What have you been doing?)

  • keh pa-soh

Normally comes right after greeting. It has the same meaning as “que onda”.

Example

“Que pasó, Alejandro?” (What have you been doing, Alejandro?)

8. Pendejo (Asshole)

  • pen-deh-ho

It is a very offensive word, beware of using it!

Example

“Eres un pendejo si haces algo y no te queda bien hecho.” (You’re an asshole if you’re doing something and not doing it well.)

9. Aguas! (Watch out!)

  • a-guas

To warn somebody or to tell somebody to watch out.

Example

“Aguas con el carro que paso muy rápido!” (Watch out for the car that’s driving fast.)

10. Cruda (Hangover)

Cruda only used in Mexico, the word for hangover in other spanish countries is “resaca”

Example

“Tengo cruda.” (I’m having hangover.)

11. Nini (A person who neither work nor study)

  • ni-ni

It’s the short form of “Ni trabaja ni estudiar”(neither work nor study). It’s equal to NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) in English.

12. Chingon (cool)

  • chin-gone

To saying somebody is cool or better than the rest. An equivalent to cabron.

Example

Manuel es un chingon porque sabe snowboard mejor que todos sus amigos. (Manuel is a cool guy because he knows snowboard better than his friends.)

13. Pinche (it sucks)

  • pin-cheh

To describe someone in a bad way. This adjective is used in a negative way.

Example

Pinche los estudiantes no saben nada de español. (The students who doesn’t know Spanish are suck)

14. No Mames (are you kidding me?)

  • noh mah-mess

Mexican says it when they don’t have 100% credibility over something. It also used among friends to tease each other.

Example (a)

Alguien dice es que aprendi a jugar futbol como messi en 1 año. (Somebody said he learned to play football like Messi in just a year.)

“No mames es imposible” (You must be kidding me)

Example (b)

Alumno: “Maestro! No entiendo esto que me explico.”

(Students:”Sir! Please explain this to me because I don’t understand.)

Y tu piensas, eso ya lo explique 1000 veces y en tu mente dices o piensas: “No mames!”

(You have explained 1000 times and you thought: “No mames!)

15. No Manches

  • noh man-chess

Similar to no mames but less vulgar.

16. Compa (mate, bro)

  • kom-pah

A term used among guys to call their besties.

17. A Huevo (of course!)

  • ah u-eh-vo

To emphasize the certainty of your answer. A strong “of course”.

Example

“Quieres ir al cine esta noche?” (Do you want to go to the cinema tonight?)

“A huevo” (Of course!!!!!)

18. Hueva (laziness)

  • u-eh-va

To describe the feeling of not wanting to do anything. Laziness.

Example

“Vamos al centro por tomar algo.” (Let’s go for a drink in downtown)

“Tengo hueva.” (I’m feeling lazy)

19. Fresa (strawberry??)

*freh-sah

Strawberry in Spanish is “fresa” but Mexican called a person who came from a high class and educated family.

20. Ahorita (Right now? Now? Later? Never?)

*ah-oh-ree-ta

A verb with indefinite meaning. Ahorita literally means “a little now”, but it could mean now, later or never.

Example

“Lava los platos!” (Wash the dishes!)

“Ahorita!” (The person gets up and do the job/ the person still sitting around/ the person never wash the dishes in the end.)

21. Carnal (bro)

* kar-nal

Refers to a brother or very close male friend.

22. Chafa (cheap, lousy)

*chah-fah

A synonym for low quality or lousy. Equivalent to “Pinche” that was introduced in number 13.

Example

“Que chafa la bolsa que tiene.” (What a low-quality bag that she has.)

23. Que pedo

*keh-peh-doh

It has a different meaning in different context.

  1. What’s up?
  2. What’s your problem?

24. Simon (yes!)

*see-mon

Yeah or yes. Not the name Simon though.

Example

“Vas a jugar el fútbol con nosotros?” (Are you going to play soccer with us?)

“Simon!” (Yes!)

25. Nel (no)

*Nel

Equivalent to no. Most spoken by chilangos.(residents of Mexico City)

26. Ojete (bad person)

*oh-het-teh

Mean, bad person. Asshole.

There you go! 26 Mexican slangs. (sorry to end this list with a vulgar one.) There are a lot more slangs that haven’t been included here for two reasons. Firstly, it’s because I couldn’t recall any of them since there are a lot! Second, I just hadn’t spent much time in Mexico to learn all of them. (That’s a good reason to return to Mexico!);) Hopefully, this compilation of Mexican slangs do help some of you, good nor bad.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Lydia@LifeUntraveled
    November 5, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    It’s so interesting that the same language can be spoken (or interpreted) differently in different countries. I would say “Que paso” and “Ahorita” are common in other Latin countries but I enjoyed learning about the other ones. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      TakaTaka
      November 6, 2016 at 2:10 pm

      Thank you! Some of them are widely used in other part of Latin America.

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