The Spanish Language Blog

Are you learning Spanish, but you have tried to speak to a native speaker and have not fully understood the words? You may have a high level of Spanish but what you need is to learn Spanish slang, which will help you understand common expressions and words that people use daily.

If you have ever felt that you didn't understand Spanish despite all your knowledge, don't worry, in this donQuijote article we will teach you some Spanish slang words and common phrases that Spaniards use daily.

Spanish slang is used a lot, and this vocabulary will help you understand it better. So, if you want to learn Spanish like a native, knowing Spanish slang is a must.

Read here the article in Spanish.

What is Spanish slang?

Spanish slang refers to the set of words, expressions and turns of phrase characteristic of a language, in this case, Spanish. These terms may be specific to a social group, a profession, or a specific region in Spain.

This jargon may include words or expressions that are not common in your academic books and that are not taught in schools, so it can be difficult to understand for those who are not familiar with the language or who are learning Spanish in Spain. Spanish slang can vary widely depending on the cultural, geographical, and social context. In addition, this type of slang can be used to establish identity and membership in certain groups or communities.

Spanish slang words

Although colloquial slang may belong to a specific group, in this article you will find Spanish slang words that will help you understand most native Spanish speakers.

  • Colega: is widely used and means friend. This is an exclusive word in Spain, as ‘colega’ means buddy in other Spanish-speaking countries.
  • Tío/Tía: in Spain it is used all the time to refer to a man or a woman; it is similar to saying ‘chico’ or ‘tipo’ when you are talking to someone. Not to be confused with the word ‘tío’ or ‘tía’, which refers to a relative, uncle or aunt.
  • Molar: means that you like something or that it's cool.
  • Guay: is a synonym for ‘molar’ and refers to something that is cool or you like.
  • Flipar: this verb refers to when something blows you away or surprises you for good.
  • Pasta: is a Spanish slang word meaning money, but you can also hear ‘guita’, ‘plata’ or ‘lana’, which refer to the same word.
  • Puente: can be translated as a long weekend, that is, when there are days off in a city because it is a holiday and coincides with the weekend.
  • Chulo: this word can have several meanings. The first can be translated as ‘pimp’, especially in Latin American countries. However, in Spain, this term is also used to describe something or someone who is attractive or beautiful.
  • Chaval: is a Spanish slang word to refer to children or young people.
  • Empollar: is a term that refers to studying intensely.
  • Joder: undoubtedly, a word widely used in Spanish slang by everyone and that you have probably heard in many places. It is a vulgar word to express surprise, anger or to emphasize something.
  • Currar: this Spanish slang word means to work.
  • Cutre: this word is very common in Spanish slang when you want to refer to something that is not pleasing to the eye or when something is of poor quality.
  • Tapeo/terraceo: in Spain going out for tapas is very popular, so in the same line you will find the word ‘terraceo’, which derives from ‘terraza’. This term is used when you want to go with friends to have a drink on a terrace.
  • Liarse: refers to when you go out for a drink, or ‘terraceo’, and you end up going out partying, although the first intention was to go home early.
  • Vaina: this word is used to refer to a specific thing you don't know the name of or when you don't remember how to say something.

Examples of sentences with the above-mentioned Spanish slang words:

  • Me flipó la última película de Scorsese (I love Scorsese's last movie)
  • Te ves muy bien, tío, te queda genial ese corte de pelo (You look great, man, you look great with that haircut)
  • Aprovechamos el puente para ir a la playa (We took advantage of the long weekend to go to the beach)
  • Cómo mola el coche de tu padre (How cool is your father's car)
  • Me liaron ayer y acabé de fiesta en una discoteca del centro (I got caught yesterday and ended up partying in a nightclub downtown)
  • Esa camiseta es muy cutre, está rota por el cuello (That T-shirt is crappy, it's torn at the neck)
  • Qué chula tu nueva cazadora (How cool is your new jacket)
  • Me toca currar el fin de semana (I must work on the weekend)

Spanish slang expressions

In addition to Spanish slang words, you can also find some Spanish slang expressions that are used daily and have a peculiar meaning:

  • Dar palo: it means that you are lazy or don't feel like going somewhere or doing something specific; it also refers to when it bothers you to do something. Example: ‘Me da palo ir hasta el centro a ver a María, podría venir ella a casa’ (I don't want to go to the center to see Maria, she could come home').
  • Estar como una cabra: refers to when someone is crazy or behaving strangely. For example: ‘Tu primo está como una cabra, el otro día se fue sin pagar’ (Your cousin is crazy, the other day he left without paying).
  • Me sabe mal: is an expression of apology or regret for something that has been said or done. Example: ‘Me sabe mal haberte hecho esperar tanto tiempo’ (I'm sorry I kept you waiting so long).
  • Por la cara: means to get something for free or without effort. For example: ‘Conseguí las entradas del concierto por la cara’ (I got the concert tickets for free).
  • Ir a tu bola: means to do what you want without worrying about others. For example: ‘Siempre va a su bola, no le hace caso a su madre’ (He always goes his own way, he doesn't even pay attention to his mother).
  • Mala pata: this expression in Spanish means to have bad luck or misfortune.
  • Qué corte: it is used when something embarrasses you or when you are in an embarrassing situation.
  • Dejar plantado: refers to when you don't keep an appointment or commitment with someone. Example: ‘Me dejó plantado en el restaurante en nuestra primera cita’ (He stood me up at the restaurant on our first date).

These are just some of the most popular Spanish slang words and expressions in Spain, but there are certainly many more. If you want to learn to speak with a native speaker and get to know all these colloquial slang terms, sign up for a Spanish course in Spain and learn firsthand the Spanish slang of cities like Madrid or Barcelona.

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