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So you’re heading to Mexico and want to talk and haggle like a local. Every country has its own, unique slang words, and Mexico is home to some of the largest variations of the Spanish language in the world. Always stay polite, and only use slang if the environment is appropriate. Here are some of the most used Mexican slang words and phrases:
Warning: This article contains strong language
One of the most used slang words in Mexico is calling someone a ‘pendejo’. While the word ‘pendejo’ literally means ‘pubic hair’ it’s the equivalent of calling someone ‘stupid’ or an ‘asshole’ and can be used in both an endearing way (between friends) or in an offensive way — it all depends on the tone of voice. While Mexican Spanish varies greatly from other Latin American countries, you can also find this word used in countries such as Colombia and Venezuela. Wherever you’re using the word, it’s mildly offensive, so must be used with caution. For example, ‘Eres un pendejo’ means ‘You’re an asshole’.
Güey, sometimes spelled in the way it is pronounced as ‘wey’, means “mate” and is used all the time in Mexican Spanish. For example ‘¿Como vas, wey?’ means, ‘How’s it going, mate?’
3. Chido & Padre
If you want to say something is cool, use the word ‘chido’. For example, ‘Esa camisa es muy chida‘ means, ‘That shirt is really cool!‘. You can also use the word ‘padre’ to say the same thing. While ‘padre’ means father in Spanish, in Mexican Spanish it also means ‘cool’. For example ‘¡Que padre!’ means ‘How cool!‘
While the literal translation of ‘cabrón’ is a male goat, its slang meaning is somewhat ruder. It generally translates to ‘asshole’, ‘fucker’ or ‘bitch’. It’s an offensive term and the type of word that shouldn’t be said in front of children. On the flip side, it can also be used in a positive way to say you’re ‘really fucking good at something’, for example, ‘Soy bien cabrón cantando’ would mean, ‘I’m fucking good at singing’.
5. Buena Onda
The phrase ‘buena onda’ means the equivalent of good vibes or good going. If a place has ‘buena onda’ it means it has a cool atmosphere. A person can also be of ‘buena onda’, which means they are laidback and easy to get along with. Put your Spanish to the test and meet some chilled locals with one these exciting tours in Mexico.
6. La Neta
Using ‘la neta’ in a sentence is generally like saying ‘really?’ or ‘the truth?’. It can be used to ask someone to confirm something or to make a declaration like ‘La neta te amo!’ which means ‘The truth is, I love you!’. La neta can also be a way to emphasize a statement, like ‘Mi nave es la neta wey!‘, which roughly translates to ‘My ride is the shit, man!’.
Pinche is a word used to exaggerate or enhance what you’re saying. It translates to ‘fucking’ (in a non-sexual way) and it can be used in the context of phrases such as: ‘My fucking car is broken‘ which would be ‘Mi pinche nave esta roto‘.
Nearly every Spanish speaking country has its own word for a hangover, and Mexico is no exception. The word ‘crudo’, which literally means ‘raw’, is used to describe a hangover in Mexico slang. ‘¡Estoy muy crudo esta mañana!’ means ‘I am really hungover this morning!‘
If you’re a party animal looking to refine your Spanish, see how to say you’re hungover like a local in Colombia with these Colombian Slang Phrases.
While the literal meaning of the word ‘fresa’ is strawberry, in Mexican slang it can also be used to describe a person that’s snobby or stuck-up. ‘Mi jefa es muy fresa’ would mean, ‘ My boss is really stuck up.’
10. ¡A huevo!
While the word ‘huevo’ in Spanish means ‘egg’, the phrase ‘¡A huevo!’ has nothing to do with food. It actually means ‘hell yeah!’ ‘Want to come to the party tonight? ¡A huevo!’
The feminine version of the word, hueva, can also be used to describe feeling lazy. ‘Tengo mucha hueva‘ means ‘I’m feeling lazy’.
11. Chinga Tu Madre
To be reserved for only the most necessary situations, ‘chinga tu madre‘ means ‘go fuck yourself‘. If someone has really made you angry, this is the phrase for you. It can also be used in a more light-hearted way, meaning ‘you’re annoying me, go away’ but again, it depends on the tone of your voice when you say it.
If you’re heading South and want to refine your Spanish, be sure to read up on the Best Spanish Schools in Latin America and secure a seat to speak like a local.