Spoken Spanish in Mexico and in California is full of Mexican slang. Whether you are watching Narcos on Netflix, or chatting with a local you will be at a loss if you don’t have a basic understanding of the idioms below. Mexican slang is playful and fun. Even though some of these words are rude and not exactly polite, they are frequently used amount friends in a playful manner. If you are familiar with Castillian Spanish you will definitely need to review this slang before a trip to Mexico city or even Los Angeles.
Below is a list of the most common Mexican slang and their meanings:
- Güey/wey – This is best translated as dude/buddy/bro. Often simplified into wey. Read our detailed post on Güey here.
- ¡Órale! – This multi-purpose word can express a range of ideas and feelings, such as paying a compliment, as an exclamation, or to motivate, or to express approval, enthusiasm and a range of similar feelings.
- La Neta – This means the truth, but more so than in just a literal sense. Can also be used as a compliment (Eres la neta! – You’re amazing!)
- ¡No manches! – This is equivalent to saying/exclaiming “No way!”, or “For real?”
- ¡No mames! – This is the more colorful and less polite version of ¡No manches!
- Qué padre – Awesome, great, brilliant!
- Pinche – Best thought of as the equivalent of “fucking” in English. Eg. Eres un pinche idiota, Miguel – You’re a fucking idiot Miguel
- Gacho – Can be used to mean ugly, sad, boring, or uncool. Applied usually to people.
- Pendejo – While this literally translates as “pubic hair”, it is used mainly as a stronger, more derisive version of “idiot”
- Culero – Literally means arsehole
- Chingar – Literally translates as Fuck. Can be used in a complimentary manner, depending largely on context.
- Vives en las nubes – To have your head in the clouds
- ¿Qué onda? – What’s up? Often used with Güey.
- ¡Vámonos! – Lets go!
- Se la voló – He/she crossed a line, or he/she took the piss.