The 121 Best Spanish Slang Words And Phrases to Sound Like a Native

Most Spanish speakers use many slang words in their daily conversations. The worldwide geographical distribution of Spanish speakers complicates matters even further; even for native speakers, it can be difficult to understand Spanish slang from other Spanish-speaking countries. 

Check out this great video from Spring Languages (a platform I’m a co-founder) where Juan teaches you some of the most important Spanish slangs Latinos use.

In this article, you’ll discover the most important Spanish slang expressions with example sentences. Use them and you’ll sound just like a native speaker.

Ready?

1. Essential Spanish Slang Chunks

Spanish SlangEnglish
Guay
Cool or awesome
Vale
OK or all right
Chévere
Cool, great or awesome
Bacán
Cool, awesome or amazing
Güey
Dude, guy or buddy
Órale
Wow, cool, awesome or OK
Tío/Tía
Dude, mate or pal
Mola
Cool, awesome or great
Pana
Friend, buddy or pal
Chido
Cool, awesome or nice

It’s not surprising that Spanish slang phrases are highly dependent on the region.

For example, in Spain you can say ¡Cómo mola! to say something is cool.

But!

What is 1 Spanish Mexican slang word? Well, if you’re in Mexico, you could say Está bien chido. to express something is cool. 

More Mexican slang in this video with teacher Paulísima from Spring Spanish, a YouTube Channel and language learning platform I co-founded.

Let’s see a list of Spanish slang chunks you can’t miss having in your vocabulary. 


Spanish Slang Chunks for Everyday Situations

SpanishEnglish
Ponerse/Ponte las pilas
To step it up
Echar/Echarle la mano a alguien
To help someone
Hablar hasta por los codos
To be very talkative
Dejar plantado a alguien
To stand someone up
Ser del año de la pera
To be really old

Now, let’s see a short story with all Spanish phrases to understand how a native speaker would use them. 

  • Tienes que ponerte las pilas Raul. Sino, te botaran del trabajo, Marcos habla hasta por los codos pero siempre quiere echarte una mano. No desperdicies la oportunidad que tienes. Aunque Marcos parece ser del año de la pera, jamás ha dejado plantado a alguien
  • (You have to step it up, Raul. Otherwise they’ll fire you, Marco is very talkative but is always willing to help you out. Don’t waste this opportunity. Even though Marcos seems very old, he has never stood anyone up.)

See?

There you go, a full monologue based on Spanish slang chunks.

For non-natives, understanding that monologue can be pretty difficult. But, thankfully, you have made the right decision.


Spanish Slang Words for Friend

Spanish SlangEnglish
Colega
Friend or mate
Compadre/Comadre
Friend or buddy
Cuate
Friend or pal
Pana
Friend or buddy
Güey
Dude or buddy
Tío/Tía
Dude or mate
Carnal
Buddy or brother
Parce/Parcero
Friend or dude
Mae
Dude or buddy
Llave
Friend or pal
Spanish Slang could be useful in the romantic scene of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Spanish Slang could be useful in the romantic scene of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

In some cases, native speakers use ponerse las pilas to say that you need to find motivation and move on. Sometimes, it might also might that you have to get to work. 

The slang phrase Hablar hasta por los codos is quite common in countries like Venezuela, Colombia, and Mexico. 

If you ever visit one of those countries and you’re very talkative, people will definitely tell you that. 

Struggling to pronounce Spanish slang? One of the best resources I’ve come across to improve your pronunciation is Speechling . Speechling allows you to record your pronunciation and your recordings will be sent to a human coach, who will provide feedback on your listening skills and your pronunciation so that you’ll know what are your strengths and weaknesses with oral Spanish.

I’ve used the platform myself to work on my Spanish and you get a free allowance of recordings and feedback every month 🙂 Give it a try!


Spanish Slang Words for Partner

Spanish SlangEnglish
Pareja
Partner or couple
Novio/Novia
Boyfriend or girlfriend
Esposo/Esposa
Husband or wife
Marido/Mujer
Husband or wife
Media naranja
Soulmate or better half
Amante
Lover or affair
Enamorado/Enamorada
In love or lover
Prometido/Prometida
Fiancé or fiancée
Ligue
Flirt or hookup
Rollo
Fling or affair

Of course, there are more Spanish slang chunks like the ones below. But, these, in some countries, aren’t that popular.

Spanish Slang Chunks for Native-level speaking

SpanishEnglish
Tomar el pelo
The Spanish equivalent to “pulling someone’s leg” and you can use it when someone is taking you/someone for a fool.
Hacer castillos en el aire
A Spanish phrase to say that someone is dreaming or has a lot of imagination and what they say is not even close to reality.
Tener pajaros en la cabeza
Natives use it to express that you’re not thinking in what’s important.
Estar en la luna
To be all over the place and not being able to focus.
Ponerse rojo como un tomate
This is an expression you can use when someone gets embarrassed.
Tirar la toalla
Literally, the Spanish slang equivalent to “to give up”.
Ser un ratón de biblioteca
An expression native Spanish speakers use to say that you or someone spends too much time studying.

Apart from learning Spanish slang phrases, it’s really important to get familiar with single Spanish slang words. As you already know their use depends on the region or country. Let’s see a few of the most popular words. 

Spanish slang phrases in Spanish-speaking countries

Spain spanish slang Spain flag
Venezuela spanish slang venezuela flag Colombia spanish slang colombia flag Mexico spanish slang mexico flag English
Pinta
Birra
Pola
Chela
Beer
Tío
Pana
Parce
Wey
Dude
Resaca
Pea
Guayabo
Crudo
Hangover
La poli
Los pacos
Los tombos
La chota
The police
Un favor
Una vuelta
Un catorce
Un paro
A favor
Guay
Chévere
Berraco/ Bacano
Chido
Cool

To give you an idea, here’s how to ask “Can you do me a favor?”  in different Spanish-speaking countries:

  • ¿Me haces una vuelta?
  • ¿Me puedes hacer un catorce?
  • Necesito me hagas un paro
  • ¿Me puedes hacer un favor?

Fun fact: although geographically, Colombia and Venezuela are right next to each other, their slang expressions and chunks are quite different. Spanish slang can even change from city to city within the same country. 

For example, here’s another video from Spring Spanish where we compare slang from Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela:


Spanish Slang Phrases for Family

Spanish SlangEnglish
Familia
Family or fam
Parientes
Relatives or kin
Viejos
Parents or oldies
Hermano/Hermana
Brother or sister
Primo/Prima
Cousin or friend
Tío/Tía
Uncle or aunt
Abuelo/Abuela
Grandfather or grandmother
Nieto/Nieta
Grandson or granddaughter
Sobrino/Sobrina
Nephew or niece
Cuñado/Cuñada
Brother-in-law or sister-in-law

2. Country-specific Spanish Slangs

Of course, the fascinating world of Spanish slangs might differ depending on where you’re in the world. These unique expressions will take you on a journey through the vibrant and colorful streets of Spain, Venezuela, Colombia and Mexico!

Don’t wait any longer – let’s explore the authentic world of country-specific Spanish slangs together!

Spanish Slang (🇪🇸)

Spanish Slang spanish slang Spain flag English
Vale
Okay
Guay
Cool
Tío/Tía
Dude/Girl
Chaval/Chavala
Kid
Molar
To like
Flipar
To be amazed
Pijo
Preppy/Snob
Colega
Friend/Pal
Empollar
To cram/study hard
Ser la leche
To be awesome
Ligarse
To pick up (someone)

Venezuelan Slang (🇻🇪)

Venezuelan Slang spanish slang venezuela flag English
Pana
Friend/Buddy
Chamo/Chama
Kid
Arrecho/Arrecha
Angry/Furious/Horny (context-dependent)
Echar los perros
To flirt with someone
Jevo/Jeva
Boyfriend/Girlfriend
Jalar bola
To flatter or praise someone excessively
Guachiman
Security guard
Chévere
Great/Cool
Pistear
To drink alcohol
Rumbear
To party/have fun

Colombian Slang (🇨🇴)

Colombian Slang spanish slang colombia flag English
Parcero/Parcera
Friend/Buddy
Chimba
Awesome/Great
Ñero/Ñera
Someone from the streets/criminal (context-dependent)
Bacano/Bacana
Cool/Nice
Catra
Group of friends/gang
Chévere
Cool/Great
Pelado/Pelada
Boy/Girl
Jartera
Boring thing/activity
Mono/Mona
Blond/Brunette
Coger lucha
To make an effort

Mexican Slang (🇲🇽)

Mexican Slang spanish slang mexico flag English
Güey/Güero
Dude/Guy/Blonde
Chido/Chida
Cool/Awesome
Mande
What/Excuse me? (used to ask someone to repeat)
Neta
Really/Truth
Padre
Cool/Awesome (similar to “chido”)
Chamba
Job/Work
Fresa
Preppy/Snob
Chambear
To work
Pedo
Problem/Issue/Trouble
Matar el gusanito
To have a snack (literally “kill the little worm”)

3. Why You Need to Know and Use the Spanish Slang Phrases?

Learning Spanish slang words will help you to: 

  • communicate in a natural and efficient way with locals
  • understand Spanish memes, jokes, and popular local phrases
  • travel through Spain and Latin American countries with ease

You don’t have to learn all Spanish slang, of course, but I recommend you learn some essential slang words that’ll help you discover more about Spanish culture and blend in with native speakers.

Another possible way to learn slangs is to check out the best Spanish shows on Netflix and listen carefully to the conversations the characters have.


4. Practice Section – Translate These Slangs (+Downloadable PDF)

Now that you’ve learned some basic Spanish slangs, it’s time to practice them! Translate the following slangs into English with flashcards!

Plus, if you want to learn the Top 100 Spanish Slangs All-in-One, check out our free Practice Worksheets!


5. Learn Spanish Slang and Speak Like a Native With Conversation Based Chunking!

Learning Spanish slang  will help you to communicate when traveling, meeting new people from different countries and more. Adding these phrases to your toolbox will make you sound less like a textbook and more like a native speaker. 

The easiest way to learn slang phrases (and Spanish in general) is through a method called Conversation Based Chunking™. This method (I’ve written a book on it too) is used by hundreds of thousands of students around the world with great success. 

If you want to get fluent in Spanish, I recommend you check out the free starter pack and start implementing the methodology in your studies.

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