1980'S SPANISH AND SLANG GLOSSARY
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, Las - 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
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.
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; an offensive word for a woman's vulva
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 – 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 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 Casa de Tripas y Sesos – House of tripe (tripas) and beef brains (sesos)
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 Mexican and Mexican-American folklore
Los otros – The others; a derogatory term referring to 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.
Michelada – Beer-based cocktail made with lime, hot sauce, Worcestershire, Clamato or tomato juice
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?
Piedra papel o tijera – Rock, paper, scissor
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
Sesos - Delicacy tacos made from beef brains. Some people believe eating sesos will make you smarter.
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
Tripas - Tripe (tripas)
Vato – Dude, pal, or brother; can also be used to refer to a fellow gang member
Vieja – Literally means old woman; girlfriend, wife