15 Commonly Used Spanish Slang Phrases (Latin America)

1. Aventón (Av-en-tone): A ride

This word is commonly used when a person is asking for a ride.

Example: “¿Quieres un aventón?” This means “Do you want a ride?

2. A poco (Ap-oh-kow): Seriously? Really?

This phrase is commonly used when another person tells you something and you are in disbelief.

Example: When someone tells you “I just got engaged!” you can reply: “¡A poco!” meaning “seriously!?”

3. Awelita (Ah-weh-lee-tah): Of course! Yeah!

The formal Spanish to English translation of “awelita” (spelled “abuelita” correctly) is “granny” or “grandma.” However, when used as a response to a yes or no question, it is understood as “of course” or “yeah.”

Example: If asked “Are you going to the party?” you may reply “awelita,” which would mean “of course.”

4. ¡Ay wey! (A-ee-way): Oh my!

This sentence is commonly used when something unexpected suddenly happens and you react in a surprised manner.

Example: If you’re eating dinner and unexpectedly knock over the glass of water on the table, you may shout “¡ay wey!”

5. Chafa (Cha-fah): Cheap, poor quality

“Chafa” is commonly used when a person wants to describe a particular item as being poorly made or having bad quality.

Example: “Esto es chafa.” This would be understood as “This is cheap.” (Cheap as in poor quality).

6. ¿Qué onda? (Ke-own-da): What’s up?

“¿Qué onda?” is a way of saying hello or what’s up to someone.

Example: “¿Qué onda John?” This means “what’s up John?”

7. Chambear, Chamba (Chum-bee-ar, Chum-ba): To work, work

This is another way of saying work or job.

Example: To say “I’m going to work” a Hispanic person would say “voy a chambear” or “voy a la chamba.”

8. Chela (Che-law): Beer

“Cerveza” is the formal English to Spanish translation of beer. However, “chela” is another way of saying it.

Example: “¿Tienes una chela?” means “do you have a beer?” You can also use it in plural form: “¿tienes chelas?” which means “Do you have beers?”

9. ¿Cuál es el pedo? (Koo-al es el pe-dough?): What’s the problem? What’s going on? What’s the deal?

Just to be clear “pedo” means “fart” in Spanish. However, when used in this form, “pedo” is understood as an unexplained problem or situation.

Example: If you see a good friend in trouble, you might say “¿cuál es el pedo?,” which means “what is the problem?” or “what’s going on?”.

10. Me cai gordo/gorda (male/female) (Meh-kah-ee gor-dough/da): Someone who annoys you

“Gordo” is another way of saying fat in Spanish. However, it can also be used to describe someone who annoys you.

Example: “John me cai gordo” means “John annoys me.”

11. Gueva (Goo-e-ba): Laziness, lack of energy

“Gueva” is another way of describing general laziness.

Example: “Tengo gueva” means “I’m feeling lazy.”

12. Me late (Meh-latte): I like it

This expression is commonly used to express gratitude or show that you like something.

Example: If you show a friend your new car, he or she may reply “me late” meaning “I like it.”

13. Órale (Oh-ra-ley): Wow, okay, hurry up

“Órale” is a common word in the Spanish slang language, but it can have different meanings in different situations.

It can be used as a surprised response.

Example: You may say “I finally got the new car!” and a friend may say “¡órale!”, meaning “wow!

It can also be used to say “okay.”

Example: You may say to your friend “let’s go check out the cars” and your friend may respond “órale, vamos” meaning “okay, let’s go.”

It can also be used to hurry another person up.

Example: If your friend is in the car waiting for you to come out the house, he may yell “¡órale!” meaning “hurry up!”

14. Chesco/Refresco (Che-skow/Re-fre-skow): A drink

“Drink” in Spanish is translated as “bebida.” However, “refresco” (or “chesco” for short) is also understood as a drink. Though, it often implies a flavored soda, rather than plain water.

Example: You can ask a friend “¿tienes un refresco?” or “¿tienes un chesco?” and this would be understood as “do you have a soda I could have?”

Example 2: A friend may ask you “¿quieres un chesco?” and this would mean “do you want a soda?”

15. Simón (See-moan): Yes, for sure, without a doubt

Simón is often used when a person agrees to request.

Example: If you’re asked “Are you going to the game tonight?” you can reply “simón” meaning “for sure” or “yes”.


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