Ever get that annoying feeling that you can't find the exact word to describe something? You may not be thinking in the right language. Here are 10 very specific words in Spanish that don't quite have an English counterpart.
That moment after eating a meal when the food is gone but the conversation is still flowing at the table.
Llegué tarde porque la sobremesa del almuerzo se alargó. Rough translation: I was late because the time spent talking after eating went long.
To wear or use something for the first time.
¿Te gustan mis zapatos nuevos? Me los estoy estrenando. Rough translation: Do you like my new shoes? I'm wearing them for the first time.
3. Pena Ajena/Verguenza Ajena
To be ashamed or embarrassed on behalf of someone else, even if they don't share the feeling.
Me dio pena ajena cuando le botó todo el vino encima a su suegra. Rough translation: I was really embarrassed for her when she spilled wine on her mother-in-law.
A one-word way of saying the day before yesterday. A shorter version of "antes de ayer."
Ella llegó de viaje antier. Rough translation: She got back from her trip the day before yesterday.
Unable to sleep or to be sleep deprived.
Estuve desvelado porque el perro no paró de ladrar toda la noche. Rough translation: I didn't get any sleep last night because the dog wouldn't stop barking.
A man with only one eye.
El pirata es tuerto. Rough translation: The pirate only has one eye.
Someone who is very sensitive to cold.
Él es muy friolento y siempre pide que apaguen el ventilador. Since the cold affects him so much, he always asks them to turn off the fan.
8. Te quiero
A way to tell someone you care about them. Particularly when romance is involved, more meaningful than an "I like you" but less meaningful than an "I love you." May be used as "I love you" in non-romantic relationships.
Te quiero. Rough translation: I really care for you but don't quite love you.
To have a snack or to go out for an afternoon snack.
Invita a merendar a tus amigas la casa esta tarde. Rough translation: Invite your friends over to the house for an afternoon snack.
To treat someone informally by addressing them as "tú" instead of the more formal "usted."
No vayas a tutear a tu suegra cuando la conozcas. Rough translation: Don't treat your mother-in-law informally when you meet her.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story had the word "tocayo" which was too similar in meaning to namesake so it was taken out, as well as "empalagoso" which was too similar to cloy.
This article is part of the series Top 5 Spanish Slang Words Searched on Google where we feature a full list examples for:
1. Spanish slang for friend
2. Spanish slang for weed
3. Spanish slang for white person
4. Spanish slang for cool
5. Spanish slang for girl
Spanish slang for friend is the first suggestion that Google gives you when you type in the phrase “Spanish slang for” in the search box. So, let me tell you that there are a lot of words. For example, the Diccionario de Americanismos lists 140 terms! I did my research using all the resources of my Spanish slang library and here is a list of a good amount of Spanish words used in Latin America to refer to a close friend or dude. All in one place!
Amigo is the common generic translation for friend in Spanish and from that word you can get some variations such as amigazo, amigocho (Mexico), amigui (Chile) and amigucho. But if you want to blend with locals, you should consider some words from this list:
53 Examples of Spanish Slang for Friend
1. acere: Cuba
2. alero: This is the Spanish word for “eaves,” but can mean friend in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
3. bonco: It is used in Cuba to refer to a close friend or also attractive men
4. bróder or brother: Venezuela, Peru, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Dominican Republic and Ecuador use the Spanish adaption bróder, but Puerto Rico and Bolivia use the English “brother” according to the Diccionario de Americanismos.
5. broster: from the word “brother” in Peru
6. buey: This is the Spanish for “ox,” but also means friend in Mexico and Nicaragua.
7. cabro: Costa Rica
8. cabrón: Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.
9. carnal: Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Argentina and Venezuela.
10. causa: Peru
11. chamo: Venezuela
12. chero: Honduras and El Salvador
13. choche or chochera: Peru
14. chómpiras: Mexico
15. cobio: Cuba
16. collera: a group of close friends in Peru
17. compa: It is a contraction from compañero and it is used in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Argentina and Costa Rica.
18. coño de madre: Venezuela
19. consorte: Cuba, Puerto Rico
20. cuaderno: Mexico
21. cuadro: Colombia
22. cuate: I though that this was a Mexican only word, but it surprised me that it is also used in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia and Paraguay according to the Diccionario de Americanismos.
23. cúmbila: Cuba
24. diablo: used in Venezuela (among gangs)
25. ecobio: Cuba
26. el mío: Venezuela
27. fren: Panama. From the English “friend.”
28. gallada: Peru, Colombia
29. gancho: This word means “hook” in Spanish, but it is used in Chile as “friend” or “buddy.”
30. gauche: Venezuela
31. gomía: This word is formed by changing the syllable order of “amigo” in Argentina.
32. güey: In Mexico used as a noun is “friend,” but it also can be used as an interjection to express surprise
33. hermano or hermana: This one is used almost in all Latin America: Guatemala, Panama, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, Honduras, Nicaragua, Chile and less used in Costa Rica.
34. llave, llavería or llavero: Colombia
35. llave: Dominican Republic, Venezuela and North of Colombia
36. mae: Costa Rica
37. manito: Nicaragua and Dominican Republic, Mexico
38. mano: Guatemala, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Panama.
39. ñaño or ñaña: Peru and Northwest of Argentina
40. ñero or ñera: It is short for compañero or compañera and is used in Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Venezuela and Colombia (North and Southwest)
41. pana fuerte: Puerto Rico
42. pana: Mexico, Panama, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia (West), Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
43. panadería: Venezuela
44. panaful: Dominican Republic
45. panita: Puerto Rico and Ecuador
46. parce: Colombia
47. parcero: Colombia and Ecuador
48. pasiero: Panama
49. pata: Cuba, Peru, Boliva (Souhwest) and Chile
50. primo: Honduras, Mexico, Costa Rica and Eastern Boliva
51. vale: North of Colombia and Venezuela
52. won: from the word “huevón” in Peru.
53. yunta: Nicaragua, Cuba, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela and Peru
There are plenty of more words, but I think this list will give you a good taste from all over Latin America. If you want to know more Spanish slang for friend check the Speaking Latino online dictionary here.
In the next posts of this series The Top 5 Spanish Slang Words Searched on Google I will give you the list for weed, white person, cool and girl.
Check out these other Spanish Slang Word articles.