1980'S SPANISH AND SLANG GLOSSARY

Los Lobos - Kiko and the Lavender Moon

Abogángster – A corrupt lawyer; the word derives from abogado (lawyer) and gangster 

Albóndigas – Meatballs; a traditional Mexican meatball soup; Spanish history traces the soup back to the Moors from the Arab invasion in 711 AD. Some food historians believe that albóndigas are of ancient Roman descent. 

Abuelita – Granny; literally means ‘little grandmother’ 

Adelitas - Women in the military who participated in the conflict of the Mexican Revolution, ranging from commanding officers to combatants to camp followers.

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. Modern usage by Latinos to  when cops are spotted 

Amá – Mom; used mostly in rural areas of Mexico

Ándale pues – OK then; go on

Apúrate – Hurry up; hustle

¡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. 

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 

Cabeza, Tripas y Sesos - Delicacy tacos made from cow face (cabeza) and cow brains (sesos). Some people believe eating sesos will make you smarter. 

Caca – Poop; a term meaning fecal matter used by Latina mothers to deter their children from touching something 

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. 

Casa de Cabeza, Tripas y Sesos – House of  cow face (cabeza), guts (tripas) and brains (sesos)

Chale – From échale, means throw it out; no way

Chanclas – House slippers; flip flops worn typically by Latina mothers and can be easily removed to be thrown; the scariest weapon known to Latino kids 

Chicharrónes – A popular Mexican snack that can be made from wheat or fried pork skin

China/os – Slang for person with curly hair; Asian; trousers 

Chingona   Badass female. Don't mess with her or she will kick you in the nalgas.

Chistes – Jokes 

Chonies – Spanish slang for underwear; derived from the Spanish word for calzones 

Chota, La – Police, the

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.

Criaturas – Kids; a cognate of ‘creature,’ is 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 woman who practices folk medicine; healer; a person who cures by using medicinal plants, charms, massage, and faith healing. 

Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe – The patron and symbol of Mexico; The Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill, bridging the worlds of the Aztec and that of the Spanish conquerors. 

Doña – Mrs; used as a courtesy title before the name of a woman 

¿Entiendes? – Do you understand? 

Espanto – Terror; a more severe and potentially fatal form of susto 

Exactamundo – Catch phrase of Fonzie from Happy Days. It is also the way some Anglos pronounce the Spanish word ‘exactamente.’ 

Feria – Money; literally a fair or festival 

Fútbol – Soccer; A highly respected sport in all countries except for the US 

Gabacha/o – Pejorative term for an Anglo person

Guácala – Ewe! Yuck!

Guacamole – 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 used often with affection; from the term for a castrated bull

Hijo de la chingada – Son of a bitch 

Híjole – Jeez; a general expression of surprise, annoyance or exasperation 

Huevón/a – An extremely lazy male/female; someone with large huevos (eggs/ testicles) 

Ja, ja – Ha, ha

Jamburger – Hamburger

Jamón – Ham; the bacon; money

Jefa – Mother or wife; chief

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 hangover cure made with spicy bloody Mary mix, Budweiser and a raw egg float

Los otros – The others; a derogatory way of referring to all non-Latinos 

Limpia – Ritual cleansing; a cleansing of the body, emotions, mind and soul from negative energies. Traditionally, it is used to get rid of blockages. Some people believe that it removes witchcraft, curses and hexes. 

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. 

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. 

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; one of the most well-known words to come 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 a certain thing. 

Otra vaga – Another loose one; another vagabond 

Otros, los – The others; a derogatory way of referring to all non-Latinos 

Papaya – Slang for pussy 

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 incompetence 

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?

Quihubo /quihúbole – Greeting; What was there? 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

Se va al carajo – Goes to hell; going down the drain

Simón – Yeah! (from Sí)

Sinvergüenzo – A shameless person

Suave – Smoothly agreeable; pleasant

Suavitel – Cheap fabric softener marketed by Colgate- Palmolive

Suéter – Sweater 

Susto – Scare; a loss of the soul due to a sudden frightening experience such as an accident, a fall, or witnessing any other potentially dangerous event. 

Tapado – Covered; constipated; uptight 

Tierra – Earth; home 

Tin-Tan – Germán Valdés (1915 - 1973) Mexican actor, singer and comedian 

Tonta – Dumb; foolish, silly 

Torta – Literally means cake; derogatory slang for a fat female 

Trampa – Tramp 

Vato – Dude, pal, or brother; can also be used to refer to a fellow gang member 

Vieja – Literally means old woman; girlfriend, wife; yerbera