Common Spanish Slang: Seven Ways To Express Yourself Like A Local

Pimsleur Approach • Language LearningComments (0)
© alexsalcedo – Fotolia dot com

© alexsalcedo – Fotolia dot com

Slang is an essential part of any language and it gets to the very heart of the way the language is spoken in reality. In Spanish, just as in any other language, colloquial expressions are often the most expressive; a good grasp of slang will allow you to speak Spanish the way native speakers do.

We’ve compiled a list of commonly used phrases to help you spice up your Spanish vocabulary. This is a task that is easier said than done considering that Spanish slang is used differently in each Latin American country. Oh, and Spain, well, that’s a very different story we must also explore.

Get ready to start “talking the talk!”

1. “Qué onda, güey” is one of the phrases you’ll probably hear most often among Mexicans. It’s an everyday expression that basically means “Hi, dude” or “What’s up, man?”

A. ¿Qué onda, güey, cómo estás? (Hey, man, how are you?)
B. ¿Qué onda, güey, qué me cuentas? (Hey man, what’s up?)


2. “Bacano” is on the tip of every person’s tongue when saying that something is really cool or great, but only if you’re in Colombia. In Venezuela you’d say “chévere,” and in México the word is “padre,” while in Peru it would be “regio.”

A. Ese vestido está muy bacano. (That’s a very cool dress.)
B. Ese restaurant está muy chévere. (That is a great restaurant.)
C. Tu coche está padre. (Your car is cool.)
D. El paseo estuvo regio. (It was a cool trip.)


3. “Guita” is a way for Argentineans to say money. Sometimes they also use the word “plata” to express the same thing.

A. Quiero ir de vacaciones pero no tengo guita. (I want to go on a vacation, but I don’t have money.)
B. Eso cuesta mucha plata. (That’s expensive.)


4. “Echar los perros” is a way that Mexicans state that a man is flirting with a woman, or vice versa.

A. Ese muchacho(a) me quiere echar los perros. (That guy/girl is flirting with me.)


5. “Hacerla de tos” means, in Mexico, “to make it difficult.”

A. El policía quiere hacerla de tos. (The police want to make it difficult for us.)
B. No hay que hacerla de tos. (Let’s not make things hard.)


6. “Cuéntame una de vaqueros” is used in most Spanish-speaking countries when someone doesn’t believe what he or she hears.

A. No te creo nada, cuéntame una de vaqueros. (I don’t believe it; that’s just a good story.)
B. Mejor cuéntame una de vaqueros. (Don’t try to pull the wool over my eyes.)


7. “Parcero” is used in Colombia to say “man, dude or guy.” And speaking of “man,” this word is also used among Colombians when referring to a “dude.”

A. Pilas, parcero. (Pay attention, dude.)
B. Yo no conozco a ese man. (I don’t know that guy.)

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