writes books and eats food
eats food, and then writes books
Glossary of 1980s Spanish y
Slang in 10,000 Souls
Abogángster – A corrupt lawyer; the word derives from abogado (lawyer) and gangster
Albóndigas – Meatballs; a traditional Mexican meatball soup; soup can be traced back to the
Moors from the Arab invasion in 711 AD.
Abuelita – Granny; literally means "little grandmother"
Adelitas, Las (Las Soldaderas) - Women in the military who participated in the conflict of the
Aguas fresca – Translates to “fresh water” or “cool water.” Beverages are made by blending
fruit, seeds, grains or flowers with water and sugar.
¡Aguas! – Watch out; head’s up; literally means "waters"; historically, women in Mexico would
holler the word before tossing dirty water from their window to warn passing people. Today, it's used when police or in-laws are spotted.
Amá – Mom; used mostly in rural areas of Mexico
Ándale pues – OK then; go on
Apúrate – Hurry up; hustle
¡Ay Dios mío! ¿Has llamado a la policía? – Oh Lord! Have you called the police?
Ay mamí! Deja ver tus tetas – Oh mommy! Let’s see your boobs
Ay, mija – Oh, my daughter/honey/dear
¡Ay, qué bella! – Oh, how beautiful!
Ay te huacho/ay te watcho – See you later
Babosa – Slug; dribbler; fool; simpleton
Barrida – Sweeping; a ritual cleansing for purification. An object (egg, rosemary brush, lemon,
crucifix, etc.) is used to sweep away negative energies.
Barrio – Neighborhood; In medieval times, the Arabic word barrī, "of the land," was applied to
villages and hamlets that lay in the territory surrounding a town or city. As medieval towns outgrew their original walls and overflowed into the surrounding countryside, these villages or barrios were enveloped by the expansion and became neighborhoods of the town itself.
Bebé – The most common word for baby. Always masculine, even when referring to a girl.
Birria – A spicy Mexican meat stew usually made with goat, lamb or mutton
Bote, el – Literally means can; jail
Caca – Poop; a term meaning fecal matter used by Latina mothers to deter their children from
Cacahuates – Peanuts; an expletive kids use when grownups are within earshot, and vice versa;
the loophole that turns crude profanity into benign food, like saying, son-of-a-biscuit, or
kiss my ass-paragus
Caliente – Hot, sexy
Cantinflas – Mario Moreno Reyes (1911 - 1993) Actor; Charlie Chaplin of Mexico; Cantinflas
made 49 films, but is best known for his role as Passepartout in the 1956 film Around the World in 80 Days.
Chale – From échale, means throw it out; no way
Chanclas – House slippers; flip flops worn by Latina mothers. Can be easily removed and used
like Chinese throw stars; the scariest weapon known to Latino kids
Chicharrónes – A popular Mexican snack that can be made from wheat or fried pork skin
Chiles – Chilies
China/os – Slang for person with curly hair; Asian; trousers
Chingona – Badass woman; a form of chingar (fuck); historically used to describe women who
are “too aggressive,” while the masculine version of the word “chingon” is used as a way to compliment men.
Chispas – Sparks
Chistes – Jokes
Chonies – Spanish slang for underwear; derived from the Spanish word for calzones; "Don't get
your chonies in a bunch!"
Chota, La – Police, the
Chucha – Female dog; bitch; nickname for some Mexican females named "Jesusa"
Claro que sí – Of course
Comida – A meal; the principal meal taken in the mid or late afternoon
Concha – Sea shell; a traditional Mexican sweet bread roll (pan dulce). The name derives from
their round shape and seashell-like appearance; an offensive word for a woman's vulva
Criaturas – Kids; a cognate of creature; sometimes used as an affectionate term. Criatura is
always feminine, even if it refers to a boy
Crudo – Raw; hungover
Cuco Sanchez – Singer, songwriter, guitarist, and actor; composer of nearly 200 songs, including
songs for some of the movies he acted in.
Culo – Ass; booty; buttocks
Curandera – A healer; A woman who practices folk medicine; healer; a person who cures by
using medicinal plants, charms, massage, and faith healing. She believes that for every physical ailment there is both a physical and spiritual cure.
Deja de trabajar – Stop working
Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe – The patron and symbol of Mexico; the Virgin of
Guadalupe is said to have appeared to Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill
Dicho – A saying; an adage
Dime con quien andas y te diré quien eres – Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who
Doña – Mrs.; used as a courtesy title before the name of a woman
El Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe – The Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Empanadas de piña – Pineapple turnovers
¿Entiendes? – Do you understand?
Espanto – Terror; a more severe and potentially fatal form of susto
Es su – It is
Exactamundo – Fonzie's catchphrase, which Anglos mistake for Spanish
Feria – Money; literally a fair or festival
Fútbol – Soccer; a highly respected sport in all countries except Canada and the US
Gabacha/o – Pejorative term for an Anglo person
Guácala – Ew!; Yuck!
Guacamole – Avocado-based dip. Name derives from the Nahautl word ‘ahuacamolli,’ which
translates to ‘testicle sauce.’
Güera/o – Blonde; a term used for Latinos who have a fairer complexion and lighter hair/eyes.
Güey – Dude; bastard; fool; demeaning but often used with affection; from the term for a
Gringa – An anglo woman
Hijo de la chingada – Son of a bitch
Híjole – Jeez; a general expression of surprise, annoyance or exasperation
Hoja santa – Holy leaf
Huevón/a – An extremely lazy person; someone with large huevos (eggs/testicles)
Ja, ja – Ha, ha
Jamburger – Bastardized word for hamburger
Jamón – Ham; the bacon; money
Jefa – Mother or wife; chief
La Casa de Cabello – House of Hair
La señora que hace los cakes – The cake lady; usually hired because she is less expensive than
the bakery, and for her relation to a community.
Lechuza – A witch that turns into an owl in Latino folklore
Limones – Lemons
Limpia – Ritual cleansing; a cleansing of the body, emotions, mind and soul from negative
energies. Some people believe that it removes curses and hexes.
Llorona, La – The Weeping Woman or The Wailer; a ghost who roams waterfront areas
mourning her children whom she drowned
Malinche – Literally means the captain’s woman. Before she was Malinche, she was Malinali
and was sold into slavery by her mother. This indigenous woman accompanied Hernán
Cortés and played an active role in the Spanish conquest of Mexico. Seen by some as the traitor of the race; others see La Malinche as the founding figure of the Mexican race.
Mantilla – A veil or shawl worn over the head and shoulders
Michelada – Beer-based cocktail made with lime, hot sauce, Worcestershire, Clamato or tomato
Mientras más invitados, más alegria la fiesta – The more people are invited, the party is more
Mija – Term of affection; short from ‘mi hija’ meaning my daughter
Mojado – Spanish for wet; a racial slur for an illegal Mexican immigrant who crossed the
US/Mexican border by swimming across the Rio Grande
Mota – Literally means speck; slang for marijuana
Naranjas – Literally means oranges; nope
Niño envuelto – Mexican jelly roll made with strawberry jam and grated coconut
¡No mames! – Derives from the word mamar meaning ‘suck’; a vulgar or informal way to say
you’re kidding; stop messing around; no way
Novia, La – Bride; girlfriend
Novelas - Mexican soap operas
Ojalá que sí – I hope so; traced back from the Arabic expression: ‘ma sha Allah’ which means
‘should God will it.’
Orale – A greeting; right on; expression used to encourage someone to do something
Otra vaga – Another loose one; another vagabond
Otros, Los – The others; a derogatory way of referring to all non-Latinos
Papaya – A tropical fruit; slang for pussy
Pati – Adaptation of "Patty'; see Pati Jinich
Pierda, Papel, Tijeras – Paper, rock, scissors
Pedo – Literally means fart; intoxicated; problem; ¿Que pedo? also means, what’s up?
Pendejas/os – Pubic hair, or anal hair; asshole; carries an extra implication of rank and willful
Piedra, papel o tijera – Rock, paper, scissors
Piñata – A decorated container, usually made of papier-mâché, filled with candy. Blindfolded
children take turns beating the shit out of it during birthday parties or other celebrations.
Pinche – An adjective to describe something as insignificant, lousy, miserable or worthless;
literally means tight, stingy, ungenerous
Quetzalcoatl – Feathered Snake. One of the major deities of the Aztec, Toltecs, and other Middle
American peoples. He is the creator of the sky; creator of the original cosmos and
participated in the creation and destruction of various world periods.
¿Qué noticia? – What news?
¿Qué onda? – What’s happening?
¿Qué tienes para colateral? – What do you have for collateral?
Quihubo /quihúbole – Greeting; "How’s it going?"
Recuerdo – Memento, memory
Remedios – Remedies; cure; woman’s name
Rosario – Rosary; wake; woman’s name
Ruca – Literally means old woman; girlfriend
San Pancho – San Francisco
Sebeneleben – 7-Eleven; English word that has worked its way into Spanish (sort of)
Se va al carajo – Goes to hell; going down the drain
Sesos – Delicacy tacos made from beef brains. Some people believe eating sesos will make you
Simón – Yeah! (from Sí)
Sinvergüenzo – A shameless person
Suave – Smoothly agreeable; pleasant
Suavitel – Cheap fabric softener marketed by Colgate- Palmolive
Suéter – Sweater; English word that has worked its way into Spanish
Susto – Scare; a loss of the soul due to a sudden frightening experience such as an accident, a
fall, or witnessing a horrible event.
Tapado – Covered; constipated; uptight
Tierra – Earth; home
Tin-Tan – Germán Valdés (1915 - 1973) Mexican actor, singer and comedian
Tío – Uncle
Tonta – Dumb; foolish, silly
Torta – Literally means cake; derogatory slang for a fat female
Tortas de jamón – Ham sandwiches
Trampa, La – The tramp
Tripas – Intestines
Vaga – Vague; slang for vagabond; a partier; a night owl
Vato – Dude; pal; brother; can also be used to refer to a fellow gang member
Vieja – Literally means old woman; girlfriend; wife
Virgen, La – The virgin Mary
Yerbera – An herbalist; healer who uses medicinal herbs in her remedies. Like the curandera, she
believes that for every physical ailment there is both a physical and spiritual cure.