In addition to being a wonderful country, Mexico is also a linguistic powerhouse in Latin America. Learn about these Mexican expressions and their importance for translation into and out of English. There are still some words that are derived from old Spanish spoken in Spain, despite having been removed from the language a couple of centuries ago.

However, the enormous influence of the Mayan civilization has contributed to the development of a Spanish language full of Mexicanism, which we find extremely interesting as an important addition to its vocabulary. Mexican phrases and expressions are so important that there is an official dictionary of Mexicanisms.

Generally, Mexicanism can be divided into three categories:

  1. Indigenisms- Often, these words are transcriptions or phonetic adaptations of Mayan or Nahuatl words that still serve the same purpose. The use of consonants, particularly their complex pronunciation, is fascinating to those who study languages and love to learn about consonants.
  2. Synchronic Mexicanisms- Around 600 of these exist, and what makes them special is that they aren’t Mexican, but Spanish. Over the ocean, their use has continued despite their disappearance in the country. An important tribute to a rich and indispensable language, this group could be regarded as the archaeological remains of Spanish.
  3. Mexicanisms- That’s exactly what it says. Speakers of standard, everyday Spanish produce these.

Let’s get down to business and examine some of the most common Mexican expressions. we will share the most commonly used words and proverbs in Mexico. Despite our efforts to convey the most accurate meaning of these expressions, if you know of any other variants or definitions that should be considered, please let us know!

20 Mexican Slang Phrases Or Expressions You Need to Know Before You Travel

Let’s say you’ve been studying Spanish for a while. Now it’s time to put all that knowledge into practice by visiting a Spanish-speaking country.

Mexican Expressions
Mexican Expressions

There are many great things to do in Mexico. It’s close to the States, it’s cheap, and it’s got great food and a lot of fiestas! To mingle with the locals, you just need to know a few Mexican slang words.

This post will explain how Spanish originated in Mexico, why some words don’t exist elsewhere, and some of the most widely used Mexican slang (which I should know, as a Mexican myself).

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{1.\ Chido}}\)

Chido means awesome and cool. Even though it’s not a bad word, it almost certainly comes from one. It is understood by everyone in Mexico. It is also possible to say padre instead, both words mean the same thing.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{2.\ Chavo/chava}}\)

Due to the popular Mexican TV show El Chavo del 8, these words mean boy and girl in most Latin American countries.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{3.\ Güey}}\)

Güey used to be a bad word, but not anymore. Nowadays, you can hear it on the radio, in TV ads, and everywhere. This word means “dude,” “buddy,” and “mate,” and it is also widely used in Mexico as a filler.

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\(\mathbf{\color{red}{4.\ La\ neta}}\)

La neta is the truth, but as explained in the Mexican film Y Tu Mama Tambien Also, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, it is much more than that. There is a cosmic significance to the net in that movie, as it is a crash course in Mexican slang.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{5.\ Chafa}}\)

An item of low quality is referred to as chafa. Objects such as cars and phones, as well as places or events, can be considered. It’s not nice. A vacation, a government meeting, or a concert can all be considered chafas. The English word “crappy” is similar.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{6.\ Gacho}}\)

Chafa and gacho share similar meanings, but they are not exactly the same. You can use it to describe something that is ugly, bad, boring, or uncool. Although objects can be gachos, the term generally refers to situations or people.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{7.\ ¡No\ manches!}}\)

An expression that isn’t suitable for all audiences has been adapted for kids. This expression expresses surprise, disgust, and rejection. In different situations, it can mean “really?” “no way!” or even “damn!”

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{8.\ Carnal}}\)

It literally means “brother,” but it can also refer to good friends, like “bro” in English.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{9.\ Compa}}\)

Compa is derived from compadre, which refers to a kid’s father and godfather. The word means “friend.”

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{10.\ ¡Aguas!}}\)

Usually, Agua means water, but in this case, it’s a warning. Sewage waters were once thrown out of windows and people would shout “Aguas!”. Other people passing by were alerted. In Mexico, it’s now used as a general warning. Languages evolve in interesting ways.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{11.\ Buena\ Onda}}\)

The phrase “Buena onda” was coined in the sixties and embodies the spirit of the era. The phrase means “good vibes,” “groovy,” or “cool.”

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{12.\ ¿Qué\ onda?}}\)

Onda introduced whole vocabularies and sparked cultural and literary movements. ¿Qué onda? The meaning is “What’s up? ”

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{13.\ ¡Órale!}}\)

¡Órale! This can be translated as “Wow!” or “Awesome!” It conveys undefined admiration.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{14.\ Pachanga}}\)

A pachanga is a party or a simple get-together with friends.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{15.\ Chamba}}\)

In other words, a Chamba is a job. If you want to work, you can go to La Chamba. Also, it’s a verb -chambear means to work.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{16.\ Un\ chorro}}\)

To have un chorro of something is to have a lot of it. In Spanish, the double r is a strong sound.

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\(\mathbf{\color{red}{17. Un\ choro}}\)

By removing an r, the word becomes completely different. The word Un choro refers to an excuse, a lie, what people say when they haven’t done what they were supposed to and are now trying to talk themselves out of trouble.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{18.\ Hueva}}\)

Hueva is a term that describes laziness, a lack of motivation. A sloth can be translated as it.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{19.\ Codo}}\)

Basically, codo means elbow, but in Mexican slang it means stingy.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{20.\ Lana,\ feria,\ varo}}\)

In Mexican slang, all of these words mean “money.” Think of American “bucks” or British “quids.”

15 Meaningful Mexican Slang Phrases/ Expressions Or Proverbs About Life

Immersion is generally considered to be the best method for learning a language. Go somewhere, learn the language, and soak up the culture. Although that’s a great idea on paper, it’s not feasible for everyone to go on an immersive trip.

The alternative is to bring language and culture to the learner. That means a solid language course and some first-rate cultural experiences. What role do proverbs play in this? There are nuggets of wisdom that are indicative of a culture. Proverbs are a great way to gain cultural insight into people, how they live, and what they think.

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Furthermore, Mexican proverbs provide plenty of vocabulary to build a strong grasp of the language.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{1.\ Con\ dinero\ baila\ el\ perro.}}\)

Meaning or Translation in English: With the money the dog dances.

There are two sides to this proverb. In other words, it has more than one meaning. According to some, everyone has a price. Even a dog will dance if you pay enough.

You will also be happy if you work hard to get paid. It might even make you want to dance!

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{2.\ El\ que\ con\ lobos\ anda,\ a\ aullar\ se\ enseña.}}\)

Meaning or Translation in English: He who runs with wolves will learn to howl.

You are influenced by the people you surround yourself with. During those teenage years, we hear this proverb a lot from our parents and grandparents!

Mexicans aren’t the only ones who use this proverb: other Spanish-speaking countries are as well.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{3.\ Desgracia\ compartida,\ menos\ sentida.}}\)

Meaning or Translation in English: Shared misfortune, less felt.

According to the English proverb, “Misery loves company.” It is easier to endure sorrow when it is shared, at least that is the implication!

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\(\mathbf{\color{red}{4.\ Al\ mal\ tiempo,\ buena\ cara.}}\)

Meaning or Translation in English: To bad times, a good face.

There is power in positive thinking across cultures. In hard times, this saying reminds us to remain positive.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{5.\ En\ boca\ cerrada\ no\ entran\ moscas.}}\)

Meaning or Translation in English: No flies enter a closed mouth.

I’d be rich if I had a dollar for every time my Abuela (Grandma) said this to me and my cousins!

Keep quiet, mind your own business, or don’t comment on something you don’t understand.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{6.\ Cuando\ el\ río\ suena\ es\ que\ agua\ lleva.}}\)

Meaning or Translation in English: When the river sounds, water is running.

The maxim “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” applies here as well. It means that you should go to the source if you want the truth.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{7.\ A\ darle\ que\ es\ mole\ de\ olla.}}\)

Meaning or Translation in English: To give you mole de olla.

I think this is such an interesting cultural tidbit. In other words, you need to be enthusiastic about whatever task you are assigned.

It is a traditional Mexican soup known as mole de olla. It is nourishing and tasty and is a staple in many families. There is no doubt that mole de pot is a popular and well-loved dish!

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\(\mathbf{\color{red}{8.\ Más\ sabe\ el\ diablo\ por\ viejo\ que\ por\ diablo.}}\)

Meaning or Translation in English: The devil knows more because he is old rather than because he is a devil.

As a result, wisdom comes with age.

This one’s really popular, so you can learn a lot about the way the culture views its elderly. There’s no doubt you’ll hear it if you spend any time in Mexico!

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{9.\ Más\ vale\ un\ pájaro\ en\ mano,\ que\ cien\ volando.}}\)

Meaning or Translation in English: A bird in the hand is worth more than one hundred in flight.

In English, you’ve probably heard the proverb “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”. Simply put, doing one thing well is better than doing many things wrong.

Mexican Expressions twists go one step further by replacing bushes with 100 flying birds. It paints a vivid mental picture, doesn’t it?

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{10.\ Lo\ barato\ questa\ caro.}}\)

Meaning or Translation in English: Cheap is expensive.

Make sure you don’t replace a cheap item by investing wisely. When a product inevitably falls apart, buy quality so you don’t have to buy it again.

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Meaning or Translation in English: Shoemaker, to your shoes.

You can use this phrase to tell someone to mind their own business.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{12.\ El\ que\ busca\ encuentra.}}\)

Meaning or Translation in English: If you search you will find.

You’ll find everything you want in life if you look for it! It’s important to get out there and do something rather than sit around waiting for good things to happen.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{13.\ A\ falta\ de\ pan,\ tortillas.}}\)

Meaning or Translation in English: Lack of bread, and tortillas.

Use tortillas instead of bread if you don’t have any. Honestly, neither tortillas nor bread has anything to do with this!

All you have to do is make do with what you have. You’ll be able to make it work if you use what you’ve got!

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{14.\ Poco\ a\ poco\ se\ anda\ lejos.}}\)

Meaning or Translation in English: Little by little one goes far.

Progress comes from commitment, as this adage illustrates. Don’t give up and you’ll succeed.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{15.\ Zapatero,\ a\ tus\ zapatos.}}\)

It’s considered to be a fine addition to one’s life, so when something is compared to soup, it must be worthwhile.

A soup like this doesn’t just come together; it’s not a recipe for beginners. To many, this proverb suggests that even if a task is long or difficult, it’s still worth doing.

8 Most Popular Mexican Slangs/ Phrases Or Expressions For Homie

In English, “homie” is slang that one uses to refer to, call out, or address a close friend or acquaintance. But other languages also have their equivalent, and Mexican Spanish is no exception.

Mexican Expressions offers a variety of unique and intricate words or phrases that you can use to spice up your vocabulary. And there are plenty of Mexican slang phrases or words for your “homies”.

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Some of these words or phrases usually mean well. However, like homie, it might have some nuances you should be aware of to avoid offending or insulting anyone. Now, let’s begin.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{1.\  Amigacho/a}}\)

Meaning or Translation in English: The term refers to a friend or buddy, but it is typically used by unmarried people.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{2.\ Cabron}}\)

Meaning or Translation in English: Cabrón means male goat, but it is commonly used to refer to a dumbass or bastard. In addition, it is also used among friends endearingly or playfully. You should only use this with someone you are really close to.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{3.\ Carnal}}\)

Meaning or Translation in English: It is derived from carne, meaning flesh and blood, and is therefore used to refer to someone close to you.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{4.\ Compa}}\)

Meaning or Translation in English: Originally short for compañero, which is Spanish for “companion”. Buddy is similar to this in English.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{5.\ Cuate}}\)

Meaning or Translation in English: The term refers to a twin or closest friend. The word cuate refers to someone close to you, like a family member.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{6.\ Hombre}}\)

Meaning or Translation in English: As with the English word “man,” it can also be used casually like homie or homeboy.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{7.\ Güey}}\)

Meaning or Translation in English: A bro or dude is someone you call out directly, even if you aren’t so close with them.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{8.\ Mano}}\)

Meaning or Translation in English: A short form of hermano, which means a brother.

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FAQs

What do Mexicans say when excited?

¡Órale! Almost untranslatable due to the wildly varying contexts it can be used in, órale can be used as an interjection of encouragement, an expression of shock, surprise, or excitement – even agreement with a statement can be communicated through timely use of the word órale.

How do Mexicans say thank you?

Gracias is used just like “thank you” in English. But, there will be occasions when you will wish to express gratitude in a more polite and obvious manner, and then you should use the expression muchas gracias.

What does vato mean in slang?

Bato is a Spanish slang term that means, roughly, “guy, buddy, or dude.” It always pertains to males. Vato, with a v, is also used, but has a different connotation, and can be seen as vulgar and offensive.

Is Papi Chulo offensive?

But generally, calling someone papi chulo is in reference to their appearance and their confidence, either with a negative (Rico Suave) or positive connotation (a hunk). Attitudes toward the term papi chulo are mixed among Latinx Americans, given chulo’s history as a derogatory, racialized term in American English.

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