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Whether it’s a short visit or an international move, knowing the ins and outs of local life is important while traveling. Everything from street slang to most common greetings, these Colombian slang expressions will help you get around like a local and meld with the culture.

By Michael Barón | Unsplash


Colombians are not lacking in vocabulary seeing as these pretty much ALL translate to some variation of the English phrase: What’s up?

¿Qué más (pues)?

¿Quiubo pues m’ijo?

¿Qué tal?

¿Bien o no?

¿Bien o qué?

¿Qué más parce?

¿Qué tal parcero(a)?

¿Qué más socio(a)?

By sunsinger


Pelado(a) – a typical young person

Culicagado – brat, or more commonly used to refer to kids in general

Parce – dude, buddy, pal, mate

Parcero(a) – masculine/feminine specification of parce

Vieja – an informal term for a woman, e.g. girl or chick

**as a slang term this does not indicate older age

Man – an informal term for a man, typically one you don’t know well, e.g. dude or guy

Güevón – Idiot, stupid

Pinchao – someone really stuck up

Cucha – another way to refer to a woman

Malparido(a) – someone really rude or mean

Berraco(a)/Teso(a) – someone especially skilled or driven in their field

Bobo(a) – idiot, stupid, careless

By oscar garces

Useful Expressions

Dar papaya – put yourself at risk or ‘be asking for it’

¡Pilas! – to draw someone’s attention to something

Me da pena – (something) embarrasses/ashames me

¡Qué pena! – I’m sorry! / What a shame!

Qué pena contigo/ con usted – I’m sorry, usually expressing empathy or regret

Finca – a country house

**direct translation is ‘farm’ but more often refers to a house outside the city

By Ricardo Gomez Angel | Unsplash

¡Qué nota! – Cool!

Bacano(a) – Cool, the adjective

Chevere – Cool, neat

Genial – Really cool

Parchar/ el parche – to hang out/ a group hangout or ‘crew’

Conchudo – to be a freeloader or cheapskate

Mamar gallo – to joke around or ‘pull someone’s leg’

Guaro – Colloquial name for the typical anise Colombian liquor “aguardiente”

Echar los perros – to flirt with or ‘hit on someone’

Rumbear/ la rumba – to go out partying/ the party

Estoy enguayabado(a)/ tener guayabo – I’m hungover/ to be hungover

¡Qué pereza! – to say that something is boring or unpleasant to do

Maluco(a) – bad or unpleasant in some way

¡Gas!/ ¡Guácala! – Gross!

Está muy chimba – it’s really cool

Es una chimba – something is really bad

Chimbiar – to unnecessarily bother or play around with someone.

Lucas – another way to refer to Colombian pesos

Vaina – thing. Literally, can be any ‘thing’

Te Parece? – Does that sound good to you?

Vení – Literally means “come” but in the voseo form frequently used in Colombia. Often heard at the beginning of a sentence as “pay attention” or “hey”.

Venga – used the same way as Vení

Polas – beers

Mamado(a) – exhausted

Que gonorrea – Used for something really bad or annoying. Or also can be something really good.

Muy peye – really sucks


So whether you are at the level of ‘me da pena’ when you speak Spanish or you are pro enough to ‘mamar gallo’ with your ‘parceros’ it’s always helpful to learn the local jargon to maximize your Colombian experience.

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