Spanish Slang

11 February 2021

Joder Tío, Como Mola

Spain Expat's quick guide to everyday Spanish slang and informal vocabulary you may or may not find in your dictionary. As with most slang, these Spanish slang words are largely the province of informal situations.

Slang you may not find in your dictionary
Botellón = (bo-tay-YOWN) Outdoor drinking party or gathering in a square, street, park, or other public place with alcohol purchased cheaply at supermarkets or corner shops. Buenas = (buey-NAS) A greeting used at any time of the day. Similar to Hello / Hola, but more informal. Cabezota = (ka-bay-though-ta) Stubborn, when used as an adjective, and a stubborn person, when used as a noun. Caray = (KA-wry) God, oh my God, darn, darn it! Casero = (ka-sayr-Oh) Landlord. Note: Casera, apart from a female landlord, is a soda that, mixed into red wine, makes tinto de verano, a light summer drink. And as an adjective, casero means home-made. Chalado = (cha-la-doe) Crazy or nuts. Estar chalado = To be crazy or nuts. Chapuza = (cha-poo-the) Shoddy work. Chaval / chavala = (cha-ball / cha-ball-ah) Guy, boy, kid, lad / girl. Chino = (chi-no) Corner shop, convenience store. When all the other supermarkets and stores in Spain are closed, you can usually find a chino open. Chino also refers to the Chinese language, a Chinese person, and a Chinese restaurant. Chiringuito = (chi-riin-gEE-to) Beach bar or seaside restaurant. Chorrada = (cho-rA-da) Nonsense. ¡Qué chorrada! = What a bit of nonsense! That’s complete nonsense! That’s total crap! Chulo = (chew-low) When used as an adjective, chulo can mean: 1) nice, cool, etc. 2) cute, good-looking, 3) arrogant, insolent, cocky. ¡Qué chulo! = How cute! How cool! However, used as a noun, chulo means a pimp. Currar = (coo-rAr) To work (a verb). Your workplace or job is your curro. Cutre = (coo-tray) Cheap, seedy, shabby, tacky, kitschy, cheesy. De puta madre = (day poo-ta ma-dray) Bloody awesome, really kickass, fucking great. Enchufe = (en-choo-fay) A connection, a contact, someone who has some kind of power or influence and can help you. An enchufe could get you a job interview, for example. Enchufe literally means a plug or a socket though. Entender = (en-ten-dare) To be gay. However, the primary definition of the Spanish word entender is to understand, so keep in mind that if someone at a bar asks you “¿Entiendes?” it could just as likely be a reflection on your Spanish skills as an attempt to find out your sexual preferences. Estar como una cabra = (es-tar ko-mo Oon-a ka-bra) To be completely crazy, nuts, bonkers. Finde = Weekend. Shortened version of fin de semana. Friki = (free-key) Nerd, geek, freak. For example, a friki de ordenadores is a computer nerd and a friki de ciencia ficción is a sci-fi geek. Guarro = (gwa-Ro) Filthy, disgusting, nasty. It can refer to a lack of cleanliness or to liberal sexual habits. Guay = (gwhy) Cool. ¡Qué guay!  = How cool! How cool is that! Guiri = (gEE-ree) Foreigner in Spain, especially an Anglo-Saxon or northern European foreigner. This word can be as affectionate or as disparaging as the speaker intends to make it. Heavy = Fan of heavy metal music, metalhead. Hortera = (or-ter-ah) Tacky, in bad taste. Ir a su bola = (ear ah sue bowl-a) To do one’s own thing. For example, “No asistí a la fiesta, fui a mi bola” means “I didn’t go to the party, I did my own thing.” Ligar = (lee-gar) To pull or to pick someone up, especially for sex. Locutorio = (low-coo-tore-e-yo) Internet café where you can also make telephone calls (especially long-distance ones) in private booths, top up your mobile phone credit, buy phone cards, send faxes, etc. Locutorios largely cater to the non-Spanish market and can be found anywhere there’s a significant immigrant population in Spain. Marcha = (mar-chuh) Nightlife. Salir de marcha = To go out, to go party. Mileurista = (mill-lure-ista) Someone who earns approximately 1,000 euros per month. This relatively recent social phenomenon is a person in Spain who is often imagined as a twentysomething or thirtysomething with a low-paying job, who might live with their parents, might have a university degree, but in all cases has low prospects for improving their economic outlook. Mono = (mo-no) Cute, when used as an adjective. ¡Qué mono! = How cute! However, used as a noun, mono means monkey. Nene / nena = (nay-nay / nay-nah) Baby / baby, chick, as in, “Hey, baby!” (Hola, nene [for a male] or Hola, nena [for a female]) or “I like that chick!” / “A mí me gusta esa nena.”
Slang words are for informal situations.
Okupa = (oh-coo-pah) Squatter, a person who lives in a formerly abandoned or unoccupied building. The okupa movement is rather political in Spain, and some casas okupadas are organized as cultural centers for the surrounding community. Operación bikini = (oh-per-ah-the-own be-key-knee) The pre-summer custom many people have of exercising, going on a diet, joining a gym, and other activities associated with wanting to look good in a bikini or swimsuit. Operación salida = (oh-per-ah-the-own sa-lee-dah) Mass exodus and the resulting traffic on Spanish roads and highways at the beginning and end of the summer holiday season as well as on various long weekends and holidays throughout the year. Pasar de = (pah-saar day) To care less (about someone or something). Pijo = (pee-ho) Upper class conservative, when used as a noun, and yuppy, preppy, posh, stuck up, snooty, and snobbish, when used as an adjective. Puente = (pwen-tay) Long weekend due to a bank holiday. ¡Qué fuerte! or ¡Qué pasada! = (kay f-where-tay / kay pah-saa-dah) Wow! In other words, these expressions indicate great surprise or amazement, which can have positive or negative connotations, depending on the context. Ser la leche = (sayr la lay-chay) To be amazing (in a positive or negative sense). Siniestro = (see-knee-yestro) Goth, gothic. Tener buen rollo / tener mal rollo = (ten-air bwen Roy-yo / ten-air mAll Roy-yo) To get on very well, to have good vibes, to have good chemistry. / To not get along, to have bad vibes, to have bad chemistry. For example, “Mis compañeros de piso y yo tenemos buen rollo” means “My flatmates and I get on very well.” Tener un rollo = (ten-air Oon Roy-yo) To have a fling or a casual sex partner. Terraza = (teR-a-zah) Sidewalk café, bar, restaurant, or seating area. Many cafes and restaurants in Spain expand their seating area by setting up tables and chairs outdoors – most often during the summertime, but some terrazas are year-round. Tío / tía = (tea-yo / tea-ya) Guy or girl. This word is used in Spain more often than its English definition reveals, however, and is frequently heard in informal speech and/or among friends, especially among the younger generations. For example, “Tía, ¿qué haces?” / “What are you doing?” (said to a close woman friend). Tío bueno / tía buena = (tea-yo bwen-oh / tea-ya bwen-ah) A hot guy / hot girl. Or a hunk / hottie. Tipo = (tea-poh) Guy, especially a stranger. For example, “Did you see that guy?” / “¿Has visto a ese tipo?” Topmanta = (topp-mahn-tah) Illegal street vendor who displays his wares (often pirated or counterfeited goods) on a small square of cloth – a manta / blanket, if you will – that is handily bundled up at a moment's notice by the vendor, who often flees when the police appear.

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