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 website I’m a co-founder of) 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.
1. Essential Spanish Slang Chunks
|Cool or awesome|
|OK or all right|
|Cool, great or awesome|
|Cool, awesome or amazing|
|Dude, guy or buddy|
|Wow, cool, awesome or OK|
|Dude, mate or pal|
|Cool, awesome or great|
|Friend, buddy or pal|
|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.
What is 1 Spanish Mexican slang word? Well, if you’re in Mexico, you could say Está bien chido. to express something is cool.
Let’s see a list of Spanish slang chunks you can’t miss having in your vocabulary.
Spanish Slang Chunks for Everyday Situations
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.)
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
|Friend or mate|
|Friend or buddy|
|Friend or pal|
|Friend or buddy|
|Dude or buddy|
|Dude or mate|
|Buddy or brother|
|Friend or dude|
|Dude or buddy|
|Friend or pal|
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
|Partner or couple|
|Boyfriend or girlfriend|
|Husband or wife|
|Husband or wife|
|Soulmate or better half|
|Lover or affair|
|In love or lover|
|Fiancé or fiancée|
|Flirt or hookup|
|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
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
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
|Family or fam|
|Relatives or kin|
|Parents or oldies|
|Brother or sister|
|Cousin or friend|
|Uncle or aunt|
|Grandfather or grandmother|
|Grandson or granddaughter|
|Nephew or niece|
|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 (🇪🇸)
|To be amazed|
|To cram/study hard|
Ser la leche
|To be awesome|
|To pick up (someone)|
Venezuelan Slang (🇻🇪)
Echar los perros
|To flirt with someone|
|To flatter or praise someone excessively|
|To drink alcohol|
|To party/have fun|
Colombian Slang (🇨🇴)
|Someone from the streets/criminal (context-dependent)|
|Group of friends/gang|
|To make an effort|
Mexican Slang (🇲🇽)
|What/Excuse me? (used to ask someone to repeat)|
|Cool/Awesome (similar to “chido”)|
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.