50+ Top Mexican Slang Words and Phrases

One of the most interesting features of different languages around the world is its ability to evolve and further develop. This can be said about any language, and Spanish is no exception.

Mexican Spanish, specifically, is interesting because of its various influences. Besides Spanish, it also has a lot of influences from indigenous languages like Nauhtl. In addition, because of its proximity to the United States, there's also a lot of anglo influence. The result is a beautiful language that is colorful and dynamic.

In this article, we list down some of the most common Mexican slang words and phrases along with their definition. We also use them in a sentence for you to understand its usage. 

Note that some of the items on the list are linked to longer articles that discuss the words/phrases in further detail and more examples. We will keep updating this list with more phrases and examples as necessary.

Happy reading!


Table of Contents

Mexican Slang Words & Phrases (Alphabetical Order)


A

Aguas

Meaning

  • (interjection): used as a warning to call someone's attention and ask them to watch out
  • Example: ¡Aguas! The floor is really slippery.
  • Example 2: ¡Aguas! The ball is going to hit you.

Arre

Meaning

  • (interjection): a command that is used when addressing animals to go faster, like "giddyup" or "giddyap" in English. Similarly, it is used informally to ask someone to move along.
  • Example: The cowboy yelled, "arre" to his horse.
  • Example 2: ¡Arre! We've been late for the dinner for 30 minutes now!
  • (expression): An affirmative response to a proposition or suggestion.
  • Example: Do you want to grab some tacos on the way home? Sure, arre!

¡Apá!

Meaning

  • (interjection): literally, apá means father, but as a slang, it is an expression that is used to surprise, annoyance, alarm, or exasperation, similar to the English "goodness" or "goodness gracious."
  • Example: Stop bothering me with your endless questions! ¡Apá!

Awiwi

Meaning

  • (expression): a strong positive response to what is being suggested or asked, similar to "hell, yeah" in English.
  • Example: I'm starving, do you wanna go grab something to eat? Awiwi.

B

Bizcocho

Meaning

Literally, bizcocho is Spanish for different types of pastry products. But as a slang word, it could mean:

  • (noun): a term of endearment for women. Also, the dimunitive form bizcochito may also be used in this sense.
  • Example: Bizcocho, mi amor, let's go out for dinner tonight.
  • (noun): a street slang for vagina
  • Example: No digas bizcocho, use the proper word.

Buey

Meaning

  • (noun): a lesser known alternative to the ubiquitous Mexican slang guey, originally meaning "ox." But as a slang word, it is the Mexican equivalent of "bro" or "dude."
  • Example: Que onda, guey? (What's up, dude?)

Bugga

Meaning

  • (noun): a straight/heterosexual person
  • Example: "You're probably the only bugga in this gay bar."

C

Cámara

Meaning

  • (expression): Used in place of "okay", to express agreement or acknowledgment.
  • Example: Let's meet at the café at exactly 9, cámara?

Chale

Meaning

Not to be confused with echale, which is another slang word we include on this list.

  • (expression): an expression of disgust, disapproval, or disappointment, similar to "what a pity" in English.
  • Example: He is gambling all the money he got from his inheritance. Chale.

Chido

Meaning

Chido is in fact a word accepted by the Royal Spanish Academy (the regulator of the Spanish language), used as an adjective to describe that something or someone is good, nice, beautiful. But here is the its Mexican usage:

  • (expression): used to express acknowledgment, agreement, thanks, or even displeasure.
  • Example: Person 1: Let me know if you need anything. Person 2: Chido.
  • Example 2: Person 1: Don't be late for the meeting later at 3, okay? Person 2: Chido.

Chinga

Meaning

  • (swear word): As a swear word, it has a very flexible usage, ranging from surprise to annoyance.
  • Example: I have been working hard all week while everyone else is having a good time. Que chinga!

Chingón

Meaning

  • (adjective) typically used to describe an someone that is intelligent or skilled, similar to "badass" in English
  • Example: He's an investment banker but he writes poetry and runs a gourmet restaurant on the side. Que chingón!

Chino

Meaning

  • (noun): Literally meaning Chinese, it is a term generically used to refer to people of East Asia; may be considered offensive.
  • Example: Ese chico no es chino, he's from Japan.

Chulo/Chula

Meaning

  • (adjective): handsome or beautiful; also used with objects
  • Example: You look great. That vestido is muy chulo.

D

Dale

Meaning

  • (expression): A way to acknowledge or encourage someone to go for what they said they would.
  • Example: Just go for it. Dale.
  • (expression): A way to agree with someone.
  • Example: Person 1: I'll be right back. Person 2: Dale.

Dispensa

Meaning

  • (expression): Literally a noun meaning exemption, as a slang, it is used to informally ask for an apology.
  • Example: Oye, dispensa, I didn't mean to hit you.

E

Epa

Meaning

  • (expression): An informal greeting.
  • Example: Epa! How's it going?

Ese

Meaning

  • (noun): A way to refer to a guy, similar to "homeboy" in American English.
  • Example: Come have drinks with us, ese.

G

Gabacho

Meaning

  • (noun): Alternative to gringo, a person or thing from the United States.
  • Example: Introduce me to the gabacho.

Gacho

Meaning

  • (adjective): ugly or bad
  • Example: Take that sombrero off, que gacho!

Gente

Meaning

  • (noun) Literally meaning people, but as a slang, (often mi gente), it is used to refer to one's folks, community, family, or friends.
  • (Example): I can't wait to go home to Guadalajara. I miss mi gente.

Gordito/a

Meaning

  • (noun): Although the word literally means "little fat one", it is being used as a term of endearment.
  • (Example): Come here, gordito. 

Gringo

Meaning

  • (noun): Someone considered a foreigner, especially one from the United States.
  • Example: It's weird to hear gringos speak Spanish.

Guey

Meaning

  • (noun): Mexican for dude or bro.
  • Example: How is it going, guey? 

Güero/a

Meaning

  • (noun): a blond man/woman
  • Example: Don't you remember Horacio, the güero living next door?

H

Hijole

Meaning

  • (interjection): a general expression of surprise, similar to "darn" in English
  • Example: Look at the car he drives, hijole!

Hyna

Meaning

  • (noun): a girl (may be considered disparaging)
  • Example: Is Miguel dating the hyna I saw him with last night?

Huevos

Meaning

  • (noun): literally, huevos is Spanish for eggs, but as a slang, it can mean balls, as in testicles and may be used in a variety of ways. 
  • Example: You need some huevos to be able to do something like that.

I

Igualado/a

Meaning

  • (noun): an insult used for a social climber
  • Example: She married that rich doctor and now she's an igualada.

Iralo

Meaning

  • (expression): a shortened, informal way of saying miralo, "look at him."
  • Example: Look guys, Mario is here, iralo!

J

Jalada

Meaning

  • (noun): something that is overdone in a ridiculous way
  • Example: I couldn't finish that telenovela; es una jalada

I

Leva

Meaning:

  • (noun): usually used among urban youth referring to someone they don't like, or a former member of the group that they resent
  • Example: I'm never talking to that leva again after what she said behind my back.

La neta

Meaning

  • (noun): the truth; the real deal
  • Example: I heard you were getting married, es neta?

Lata

Meaning

  • (noun): a nuisance, a pain in the neck
  • Example: You can come with us to the trip, but only if you won't be such a lata like the last time.

M

Mamón

Meaning

  • (noun): derogatory, a stupid person, similar to "dumbass" in English
  • Example: I hate having to explain myself to that mamón.

Morro/a

Meaning

  • (noun): used among young people, equivalent to dude/buddy; also used to indicate that someone is young
  • Example: Hola, morro! Wanna come have a drink with us?

N

Naco/a

Meaning

  • (adjective): pejorative, a way to describe badly educated people or those with a poor taste, similar to "tacky" in English
  • Example: Some important people are joining us for drinks, so get rid of that naco tablerunner.

Nel

Meaning

  • (expression): no way, nope
  • Example: Person A: So are you gonna get a summer job this year? Person B: Nel. Para nada. 

No mames

  • (expression): used to express disbelief or excitement, similar to "you've got to be kidding me" or "no way."
  • Example: There's no way you're giving me this little for lunch today. No mames.

No manches

  • (expression): very similar meaning to no mames, used in the same contexts.
  • Example: Person A: Have you heard? Doña Marta is pregnant again. Person B: No mames.

O

Onda

Meaning

  • (greeting): often accompanied by "que", as in "que onda?", meaning, "what's up?"
  • Example: I haven't seen you in a while, Carlito. Que onda?

Orale

Meaning

  • (expression): used to exhort or encourage someone to do something
  • Example: If you wanna fix things with her, you have to take the first step. Talk to her. Orale!

Oso

Meaning

  • (expression): often accompanied by "que", as in "que oso", meaning "how embarrassing"
  • Example: Person A: I thought I was on mute so I literally yawned while my boss was taking us through her presentation in a Zoom meeting. Friends: Ay que oso!

P

Padre

Meaning:

  • (adjective): Padre literally means father but as a slang, it is often used as an expression meaning "cool."
  • Example: That costume you wore last Halloween was muy padre.

Papi

  • (noun): Literally meaning daddy, but used as a general term of endearment for a man from his mother, his partner, or his friend.
  • Example: Mother to a child: Come here and drink your leche, papi.

Pinche

  • (adjective): Used to exaggerate or enhance an object being described.
  • Example: My pinche iphone keeps freezing; I really need to get myself a new one.

Pisto

Meaning

  • (noun): General term for any alcoholic beverage.
  • Example: Let's stop by a 7-11 and buy us some pisto.

Pocho/a

Meaning

  • (noun): a pejorative term used by Mexicans to refer to Mexicans who have left Mexico, typically living in the US and not speaking Spanish.
  • Example: When I talk to you in Spanish, you answer me in Spanish. Don't be such a pocho.

Primo

Meaning

  • (noun); Spanish for cousin, but may be used as a term of endearment among familiar people, similar to "dude"
  • Example: Primo, did you have fun at the party last night?

Q

Que onda?

Meaning

  • (expression): used as a casual greeting, meaning "what's up?"
  • Example: I feel like there's something you've been wanting to tell me. Que onda?

Que padre

Meaning

  • (expression:) awesome; how awesome
  • Example: I love the photos you posted from your trip. Que padre!

Que pasa?

Meaning

  • (expression): literally means "what happens" but is used as a casual greeting, meaning "what's up" or "what's going on?"
  • Example: You don't seem yourself today, que pasa?

Quiubo?

Meaning

  • (expression): short for "que hubo" which literally means "what's up," hence its usage is similar to "sup" in English.
  • Example: Quiubo, nena? You didn't say you were coming?

R

Raza

Meaning

  • (noun): translates literally to "la raza", although it does not necessarily refer to a particular race, but generally to the Mexican/Chicano population.
  • Example: Send my regards to la raza. I wish I could go home soon.

Riata

Meaning

  • (noun): colloquial way of referring to a penis
  • Example: No digas riata, say pene.

Ruca

Meaning

  • (noun): an elderly woman
  • Example: Mama, has Mrs. Smith called you yet? The ruca wants to talk to you.

S

Sancho/a

Meaning

  • (noun): the other man/woman in a relationship
  • Example: I've kind of felt that Lupita has been cheating on Gabriel, but I can't believe Miguel has been the sancho.

V

Va

Meaning

  • (expression): short for vale, which means "okay."
  • Example: You don't do anything until I you hear from me, va?

Vaga

Meaning

  • (adjective): Used to describe a person that likes to have fun more than anything else
  • Example: I don't wanna date that vaga who can't even hold down a job.

Vale

Meaning

  • (expression): fine, okay, good
  • Example: Person A: Let's meet at 5, okay? Person B: Vale.

Vato

Meaning

  • (noun): used as a familiar term among males, like "dude" or "bro."
  • Example: Vato, is there a bar nearby?

Y

Yesca

Meaning

  • (noun): colloquial for marijuana/cannabis
  • Example: I don't smoke no yesca.

Ya basta

Meaning

  • (expression): enough is enough!
  • Example: I don't wanna hear any of your excuses anymore. ¡Ya basta!

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