Spanish Slang Dictionary
[m] = masculine noun, [f] = feminine noun
[v] = verb, [i] = intransitive, [t] = transitive, [ps-ref]
= intransitive pseudo-reflexive
[adj] = adjective, [adv] = adverb, [interj] = interjection
letter: A to C / from
D toL / from M to Z
año verde [m] [fixed phrase]
lit. '(the) green year' an imaginary time where extraordinary
things happen; usually in the phrase Argentina año
verde. (This would need pages of explanation. In short, suppose
the country is ruled by honest politicians and all public
services work fine; that's Argentina año verde.)
apoliyar [v]: to sleep. (Proper spelling,
I think, should be apolillar, from polilla 'moth'; the verb
apolillarse [ps-ref] means '(of clothes) to become old-looking
and unwearable because of being eaten by moths' and by extension
'to become decrepit', and it may have something to do, but
is not directly related in meaning.)
arriba [n, adv] above, the place
above; fig. the higher spheres of power; [fixed phrase] de
arriba free of charge, esp. granted by someone one doesn't
know or expect, or through sheer luck (lit. 'from above').
atorrante/a [adj, m, f]: (being)
a scum, a good-for-nothing, someone who leads a useless life
(generally meaning not working, not studying, just going to
parties and having fun). When used of women: easy, whorish,
a whore (in figurative or literal sense), esp. one who is
'known' by every men wherever she goes. When said of children
or young boys, the word can even be appreciative and friendly
(un atorrante as 'a cute little imp' or 'a sharp boy' à
la Bart Simpson in a good day).
autobombo [m, uncountable] self-advertising.
Etymology: from auto- 'self-' and bombo, a kind of big drum
used a lot in public demonstrations, strikes, etc., presumably
to call for attention.
baboso/a [m, f, adj] a skirt-chaser
(also the same sense applied to women), lusty, crazy about
(the opposite) sex. Lit. 'drooly'.
bacán [m, adj] a person who
lives or enjoys living a comfortable life and being served,
without having to worry. Etymology unknown, maybe something
to do with bacanal 'wild party', from Baco (the Roman god
bagarto [m] 1 alt. form of bagayo;
2 [rare] a burden, a problem left on one's hands, used e.
g. of hospital patients who are dumped in E. R. in a very
bagayo [m] an ugly person (esp. used
by men referring to women, no matter the grammatical gender,
but also increasingly used by women towards men). Alt. form:
bagarto. [John Cowan tells me that there's an American English
slang equivalent, dog. Thanks, John!]
bancar [v] 1 to support, to be supportive
of, to help (lit. 'to support financially', from banco 'bank');
also, by extension, to wait for, to to be there for; 2 bancarse
[ps-ref] to stand, to tolerate, to put up with. Examples:
Mis viejos me bancaron los estudios 'My parents supported
my studies'; Te banqué cuando necesitabas un amigo
'I helped you when you needed a friend'; Bancáme un
ratito acá 'Wait for me here just a while'; Se bancó
un montón de insultos 'He stood up to a lot of insults';
Ya no te banco más 'I don't (won't) support you anymore'
or 'I can't stand you anymore'.
barbaridad [f] 1 [negative sense]
outrageous thing; esp. in the phrase ¡qué barbaridad!
[interj]; 2 [appreciative] very good thing, well-done work,
spectacular result; can be used as an adjective (quedó
bárbaro/a [adj, interj] [appreciative]
great, very good, spectacularly good; [no connotation] great,
important, serious (as in a mess or disaster). (This word
has undergone an important semantic change; as a result, the
act of a bárbaro 'barbarian' is now called barbárico
'barbaric' instead of the 'correct' form bárbaro, to
avoid confusion -- the shortest form doesn't sound appropriately
basurear [vt] treat someone badly,
esp. in a consistent fashion; forrear. Formed on basura 'garbage'.
birra [f] [Italian, same origin as
English beer] beer, a bottle of beer.
bolazo [m] exaggeration, obvious
lie, bullshit (not interjectional); impossible or incredible
activity pictured as real or possible (esp. in a movie or
TV show). Etymology unknown; seems to be bol- 'ball' + the
suffix -azo used for violent movements or blows. Example:
"Misión Imposible" fue un bolazo ('Mission:
Impossible was a...')
bolonqui [m] syllable inversion of
boludez [f] 1 a stupid thing, a foolish
or rash action; 2 a simple matter that anyone can solve, a
thing that is easy to figure out. Example: El examen fue una
boludez 'The test was a piece of cake'.
boludo/a [adj] [rude] 1 (of a person)
stupid, annoyingly silly; clumsy; also used as an addressing
term among friends; 2 (of a thing) simple, almost insultingly
easy to solve. Can take the intensive prefix re-.
bombo [m] 1 lit. drum, bongo (see
autobombo); 2 the swollen belly of a pregnant woman, showing
her state; the fact of a woman being pregnant, esp. when unwanted
or unexpected, whence dejar con el bombo 'to impregnate a
woman unwillingly, to leave a woman that has unwillingly become
bondi [m] [colloquial] bus (public
urban transportation). I though this was probably from some
sort of convoluted syllable inversion, assimilation and shortening
of ómnibus (the proper word for 'bus'), but a reader
pointed out to me that trams in Rio de Janeiro are known as
bondis. This word apparently comes from English bonds, which
is how Rio's tram service got built and paid (being one of
the first in Latin America) by a British company.
brutal [adj, interj]: lit. brutal,
terrible; [appreciative] awesome, terrific. Used almost exclusively
by Susana Giménez (yuck!).
buenudo/a [m, f, adj] naive, easy
to take advantage of, stupid, easy to deceive or convince.
Etymology: a cross between bueno 'good, nice' and boludo.
buraco [m] [from Portuguese buraco
and/ or Italian buracco] hole, orifice, esp. a large hole
dug in the ground; a hole or mark made by a bullet or projectile;
a perforating wound.
cábala [f] [from Hebrew qabbalah
'tradition', the study and interpretation of the religious
Jewish texts using hermetic techniques, and the mystic philosophy
supporting them] a token of luck, a ritual action that must
be performed or a thing that must be carried or worn to bring
good luck to a person or group. Especially used of some gestures
in football matches (where, for example, some players might
cross themselves on entering the field), but also referring
to things like wearing red 'to avoid the evil eye from envy'
when going to a special party, or even calling a particular
person on the phone before a test. The cábala is a
thing to be repeated each time; this traditional repetition
is what makes it a cábala and not a single meaningless
cacho [m] a bit, a small amount (esp.
of time); a small portion of solid matter (esp. food). Usually
in the singular, un cacho. Also [fixed phrase] cacho de (used
for big great things or people in different contexts), for
example: ¡Lindo cacho de auto tenés! 'Some nice
car you have!', Es un cacho de doctor 'He's a hell of a doctor'.
cagar [v] [rude]: 1 [i] lit. to shit;
2 [t] to disappoint, fail to comply on, do something against
the interests of (people), ruin, destroy or damage (a machine)
as in Nos cagaste la fiesta 'You ruined (us) the party'; 3
[i] to die (esp. figuratively), to stop functioning, to be
ruined, as in Cagó la impresora 'The printer's dead'
(see finiquitar); 4 cagarse [ps-ref] lit. to shit on oneself;
to be a coward; to chicken out; 5 [fixed phrase] cagar a palos
to beat severely; to talk very badly of; to treat someone
with physical violence (more or less like 'to take the shit
out of'); 6 [fixed phrase] cagar a pedos to chastise, to punish
verbally, to give a dressing-down (Mi viejo me cagó
a pedos porque llegué a las 8 de la mañana 'My
old man gave me hell because I got back home at 8 a.m.');
7 [fixed phrase] irse a cagar to go to hell, to fuck off (usually
imperative, using the suppletive verb andar).
calzado/a [adj] lit. having footwear
on; armed, carrying a weapon, esp. a gun.
capo/a [m, f, adj] [Italian, lit.
'head'] 1 (esp. with the definite articles) boss, chief, leader;
[derogatory] the leader of an organization seen as a dark
high figure (capomafia 'mob leader'); 2 (being) a good person,
a person one likes, esp. for being supportive and charming
cana 1 [f] (generally in singular
definite form, la cana) the police force, as a whole; a group
of policemen. See also yuta. 2 [m, f] a policeman or policewoman.
careta [m, f, adj] [derog] lit. 'mask,
face covering'; a snobbish person, esp. upper-classy, affected
or pedantic, going always to expensive fashionable places,
always dressing fashionable clothes; a person who lives by
fashion and image. Also found as the augmentative caretón
or the diminutive (despective) caretita.
carrito [m] lit. a diminutive of
carro (in this meaning, 'moving kiosk'); a certain kind of
restaurant, esp. one with open spaces and rather informal;
a moving post with a portable gas supply and cooker, where
fast foods are sold (the equivalent of hot dogs and hamburguers).
chabón [m] a guy, a man (esp.
a silly one -- the word carries some indefinite derogatory
chanchuyo [m] [old-fashioned but
still in use] an act of corruption, an illicit agreement;
dirty business; political maneuvers done in the dark. Etymology:
probably a reference to chancho 'pig' and the idea of chanchada
'pig-like, dirty, filthy thing'.
changa [f] an informal job, for a
limited (sometimes undefined) period of time, without any
legally binding contract; a temporal job, for example, small-scale
house repairs not needing an architect.
chanta [m, f] [derogatory]: a deceiver,
a cheater, a swindler, someone known to perform dishonest
practices. Derivatives chantún/a [m, f], and chantada
[f] the act of such a person.
chau [interj] 'bye!', 'goodbye!'.
This word is a rendering of Italian ciao, ultimately from
[io sono il] tuo sciavo '[I am] your slave', an old goodbye
greeting (cf. English 'At your service'). A native speaker
and fellow conlanger, Luca Mangiat, tells me that in some
dialects medial -v- consistenly disappears, which accounts
even more for this etymology. This word has spread over the
world with its original sound /tSao/, chao, but this is extremely
rare and rather snobbish-sounding in Argentina.
che [interj] [vocative] 'hey!', 'hey,
you!'. Etymology unknown. This word appears in Mapudungu (a
language spoken by the Mapuche, natives from Southern Argentina
and Chile) meaning 'people', and in Guaraní (natives
of the Paraná River basin) where it means 'I'.
chupamedias [m, f, adj [derogatory]
lit. 'sock-sucker', boot-licker. Tends to lose the final -s.
chupar [v] to drink (said of alcoholic
drinks, esp. when too much). Lit. to suck (only this sense
is always transitive). Derivative chupero/a [m, f] 'alcoholic
chupina [f] the act of missing a
school day without the knowledge of one's parents; going out
as if heading for school and take a turn somewhere in the
way, or getting to school and then deciding not to enter.
In the fixed expression Hacerse la chupina. See also rata.
ciruja [m] informal recycler; a person
who picks up selected pieces of garbage in the streets, takes
them with him and re-sells them, including glass bottles,
metal, and paper. Sometimes this bounty is loaded on precarious
two-wheeled horse-powered carriages. These can be seen going
down the largest and most luxurious avenues in all big cities
in Argentina. The activity is called cirujeo; the verb is
cirujear. Nothing to do with cirugía 'surgery'..
combustible [m] lit. fuel; alcohol,
an intake of an alcoholic drink, thought of having a reanimating
or cheering-up effect.
concheto/a [m, f, adj] [derogatory]
an older form of careta.
copado/a [m, f, adj] [appreciative,
becoming old-fashioned] cool, a good thing, a nice thing or
person (see macanudo). Especially applied to people, places
and occasions like parties.
corralito [m] [new word (first attested
November 2001)] lit. 'little corral, small pen, little enclosed
space', the set of financial restrictions implemented by minister
Domingo Cavallo of the De la Rúa administration to
prevent growing amounts of money to be withdrawn from bank
accounts, by decreeing that people will have to get their
salaries by check only, imposing weekly and monthly limits
on the amount of money in banks allowed for withdrawal (initially
250 pesos a week, 1000 pesos a month), and completely freezing
some types of bank accounts, thus leaving people's savings
trapped for an indefinite time. These measures were intended
to keep the bank system from collapsing and avoid foreign
currency (dollars) to leave the country, but were soon breached,
and they deepened an already monstrous recession. (The government
fell a month later.) -- Lessened restrictions implemented
later received the name corralón ('big pen').
crepar [vi] to die, to pass away.
cuero [m] leather, animal skin; [fixed
phrase] sacar el cuero lit. 'to remove the skin (from sbdy)',
to speak (esp. badly) of someone who is not present, to gossip
culo [m] [taboo] 1 [not slang] bottom,
low end (of a bottle); ass, butt (of a person); culos de botella
('bottle bottoms'): a pair of glasses with very thick lenses;
2 good luck, esp. in games (see orto).
curro [m] a scam, a fraud, a deception;
a dirty business, an illegal arrangement. The corresponding
verb is currar [vt]. Note that this word means 'work, job'
(no negative connotations) in Spain.